What is it about Apple that inspires irrational speculation?

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If its one thing that is constant in the “cult of mac” its irrational speculation. I have been guilty of it myself a time or two, and its a phenomenon that I have yet to fully understand. The simplest things can lead to unbelievably wild speculation about what Apple is (or probably isn’t) doing next.

The latest example of this is the recent Apple trademark filing to protect there name in the realm of gaming. This simple action by the company has caused rampant speculation that Apple is getting into the gaming industry – even when it is perfectly clear that they already ARE in the gaming industry, with no less than 4 current portable devices capable of playing video games.

The fact that it is crystal clear that Apple is already in this market enough to justify a trademark means absolutely nothing to those that wish to believe Apple is going to release a console or some kind of DS-like handheld device. These individuals have decided Apple is going to make another ‘Pippin’ and we’ll be hearing unsubstantiated rumors about it for the next two years.


What motivates this kind of thinking? Its the same thing with the iTablet, or MacTablet, or whatever you’d like to call it. Logic suggests that if Apple was actively working on a tablet of their own, that they wouldn’t have authorized another company to create a third party tablet solution. Will we eventually see some kind of larger iPhone-like tablet device? Maybe in a few years, much like the widescreen video iPod that was speculated about for years before becoming reality.

Sometimes its the next logical step in the products life that is speculated about until it happens, other times its wild, illogical, even ridiculous product speculation. I can’t begin to pin down exactly why this happens. You don’t see this kind of speculation with any other company, and I find it completely fascinating that it consumes so much time in the online Apple community.

So I ask you, what motivates this kind of thinking? What sparks this need to speculate about products in the Apple community?

Because frankly, I don’t have a clue.

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  1. People fantasize about future Apple products because they want them. They hope for them. No, they lust for them! No one considers the business aspects of such a device. No one considers the market or the finances involved, the costs of good, markups. The iTablet is the perfect example of Apple fans wanting a device without considering what it would take to actually bring it to market. Sure, we’d all love one because it would be sooo cool! But really, could Apple make money on such a device? And is the market even ready for it?

    Everyone wants Cinema Displays with built in iSight cameras. Everyone justifies their inevitable existence based on nothing other than the fact that it would be awesome to have one, along with 32G 3g iPhones and Multitouch MacBook Pros!!!

    The funny thing is, as with a lot of these rumors, eventually, maybe 3 years, 5 years, someone is going to be right. Right?

  2. @Rick

    Good point.

    I hate when Apple releases something extraordinary, something way ahead of the competition, something game changing, and it’s met with utter disappoint and criticism by the fanboys because it didn’t live up to the hype, speculation and rumor mongering.

  3. I think it’s because Apple set such a high bar… and because they keep things as secret as possible until Steve is ready to tell everyone himself. Because of that people expect everything Apple touches will turn to gold and they want to speculate on what the next “thing” will be so they can say “they were right”. The unfortunate side is that while Apple has been vastly more successful than most companies, and created some revolutionary products, it’s impossible for them to always live up to the expectations that everyone has for them.

  4. Apple is a forward thinking company whose products may not be first to the party, but are often game-changers when they do appear (as in iPod and iPhone). If Apple enters a market where the current product mix is not very good (as in cell phones), their reputation for getting the details right where others have failed creates buzz.

  5. Thats why I like Michael’s “take it for what it is” approach to rumors. He doest fuel the fire of rumors and speculation, he sets off the smoke detectors.

  6. It’s because some Apple customers are irrational people. We’re not satisfied with things as they are, we hope for things as we’d like them to be. We’re dreamers, creatives, and we’re not afraid to make our speculations heard.

    Similarly to how science fiction greatly influences real science, we expect our imagination to have some effect on Apple’s innovation.

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