If today's Apple Event, like last time, left a little taste of letdown in the mouths of the fervent, the reason why is now clear: we knew every detail of every announcement before Jobs could even prime the cylinders of the Apple Event Reality Distortion Field generator, yet alone fire it up. Some surfaced in the last 24 hours, and some we reported on months ago. Being the source of skeptical yet enthusiastic Mac rumoring that we are, we obviously help contribute to this effect. So let's have a look at the last few months buildup to today-and how much it all makes sense now. In his thorough analysis of a leaked manufacturing pic a few weeks back (that turned out to be legit), Jesús spelled out our hard and fast policy for dealing with Apple rumoring: "Whatever the case is, always remember our first rule of rumors: Never believe them. Especially the ones about Apple." In that sense it is a credit to the good work being done here and elsewhere that most of this list of rumors and leaks did in fact turn out to be true. Last Minute Photos Show MacBook Pro 2008 Curviness (Machome-China Forums): TRUE. Yep, that's the MacBook Pro. Information about the hard drive being accessible behind the rear panel was also confirmed to be true. Last Minute MacBook Rumors: Entire Glass Trackpad Is a Button, Pro Has TWO Graphics Cards, and More (Daring Fireball): TRUE. Jon Gruber took last night's leaked (and real) pic as an opportunity to spill the beans entirely, and he nailed just about everything-dual GPUs on the MacBook Pro, MacBook as a MacBook Pro Mini, and on down the line. Spyshot Shows What Looks to Be The New MacBook Pro (Tipster JR): TRUE The aforementioned pic that hit Monday night-this most certainly is a legit shot of the new MBP... New MacBook Pro 2008 Mock-Up Lights My Credit Card On Fire (Jesús): TRUE ...which then led Jesús to create this note-perfect mockup that may as well have come directly from Apple. Apple's $899 Product Might Be LED Display Rather Than Ultra-Cheap MacBook (Macrumors): TRUE. Hopes of a brand-new low-cost notebook looked grim after this one hit and was verified today, but the 24" LED Cinema Display dashed 'em right quick. Supposed Best Buy Listings for New MacBooks Show No Price Drop (Tipsters): FALSE This looked like the current Apple notebook pricing lineup for a reason-it was. Missing is the $1599 top-end MacBook and the $999 reduced original MacBook-and the original $1099 low-end MacBook price point is still there. False false false. New MacBook 2008 Alleged Aluminum Case Photos Hit the Web (MacX): TRUE Another Chinese site produced photos of the top portion of the aluminum MacBook's case on Monday, which are now confirmed to be real. Mysterious MacBook Event Teaser Image is 13.3-inch Model, Says Deduction (Apple): TRUE Look at this-Apple's brazen enough to picture an actual new product-here the new aluminum 13" MacBooks-in the event announcement itself. Times surely have changed. New Pics Surface of Anonymous Apple Laptop (Apple Pro - Taiwan): TRUE More legit manufacturing-stage pics of the MacBook's case, with the correct port configuration, keyboard layout and side-loading optical drive. New MacBook Pro Rumor Control (Chinese Manufacturing Sites/Engadget): TRUE Jesús put this shot through the Photoshop ringer and found a few suspect details, which in the end were not enough to debunk this thing completely. Turns out his instincts were correct-it's an actual shot of the new MacBook Pro's port panel. Apple's 'Brick' is a Revolutionary Aluminum Manufacturing Process? (9to5Mac): TRUE As we pointed out, this one was not a huge stretch, considering the MacBook Air and iMac have used aspects of this manufacturing process already. Rumored MacBook Pro Spy Shot Has Touchpad Display, Yet Terrible Photochop Flaws (Nowhereelse/Engadget): FALSE Another one put through the wily Photoshop ringer, this 'chop had the basic idea of the design down, but turned out to be a fake-note the front-loading optical drive, the resemblance to the MacBook Air in the edges and the keyboard, and the numerous horrific perspective botches. Skepticism does pay. Nvidia Launch Points to Possible October 14 MacBook Intro (Homemedia): TRUE Got the date nailed, as well as the full transition to Nvidia chips for the whole line. Rumor: New MacBook and MacBook Pro Will Look Like Air + iMac (Appleinsider): TRUE. With a little bit of iPhone thrown in for good measure, we would add, but that's definitely the gist. New MacBook Pro Revealed? (T-Systems): FALSE. General design scheme is right on, but the front optical drive again reveals this early rendering to be false false false. Glass Multi-touch Trackpads Only Make Sense With Displays Under 'Em (Computerworld): TRUE/KINDOF The glass multi-touch trackpad was nailed 100% here, but our wish for a touchscreen instead of a touchpad went sadly unrequited. Could This Be a New MacBook Pro? (Apple Pro): TRUE The oldest of the bunch from July 7-this is definitely the new form factor's top clamshell lid, along with the main portion of the bottom. As you can see, the latch hole to release the not-pictured battery and HDD panel is the same as the real thing, as is the roundness of the edges of the case. Phew. So yes, this has been the story with Apple events for a while-back in September of last year when the last batch of iPods came around, Brian pined for the days when we didn't get shoved so forcefully into the Xmas present hiding place with our eyes wide open. But the sheer volume of information and photos out there this time is almost enough to make us think twice about or Apple rumor policy. Abandoning prevalent skepticism and rigorous analysis is the last thing we would ever do when it comes to Apple rumoring, but at this point, the volume of good leaks seems close to overtaking (if it hasn't already) the volume of good fakes. I guess we can't believe in Santa Clause our whole lives though, right? See all of our MacBook Event 2008 coverage right here.
I don't remember any Apple announcement being "predicted" this accurately before (read leaked). This is what happens when tech blogs get bought up by the media conglomerates and traffic becomes the bottom line...bigger budgets for insider info. A week's pay (chump change for the big blogs) goes to the first Chinese factory worker who can snap a cell phone photo (it's no wonder all these leak photos are so crappy) of an upcoming product and send in first. The photo is snapped, emailed, blogged, and deleted from the worker's phone in under a minute.
And it's what happens when Apple starts to think there's value in the free press the leaks bring and start looking the other way as they surface.
But the value of the free press surrounding these leaks is short term. Letting their suppliers and/or employees run wild with preproduction factory snapshots could slowly unravel the shroud of mystery they've worked so hard to weave. The shroud of mystery is an intergral part the RDF. And as much as people say they don't like it, the RDF is intrinsic to the cult status that Apple has been enjoying on a steadily increasing basis.
If the leaks continue unabated, Apple's press events going forward could become less and less event-like, and get less and less press.