Apple’s Magic EarPods and the Dangers of Rumor Frenzy

Last week, an anonymous note on the Secret app—which is rapidly becoming the medium for Silicon Valley denizens with something juicy to spill to the world—suggested that Apple’s upcoming EarPods would feature sensors capable of detecting heart rate and blood pressure, as well as iBeacons “so they don’t get lost.”

EarPod Rumor on SecretThe idea of a new-and-improved Apple product equipped with biometric sensors, arguably the hot technology of the moment, sent the tech-news world into a brief tizzy. But now a Tumblr apology by that Secret poster (who verified his or her identity by linking to the Tumblr missive within the original Secret message—wow, this gets convoluted) suggests that the EarPod “scoop” was little more than a prank.

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“I’m sorry this joke got out of hand,” read the Tumblr post. “I’m extra sorry to those people I didn’t correct in the comments and left messages of support for me. They thought I was someone who lost a job and sent me their best wishes. I’m sorry to Apple for making them look like jerks.”

Even as this comedian posted about fake Apple products in development, however, it seemed as if the real world was busy making that vaporware a reality, with MacRumors and other blogs suggesting earlier this month that Apple is busy hiring medical-device researchers, including one who wrote papers about the best way to detect vital signs via a wearable device that inserts into the ear. Yes, this is getting weirder by the week.

The weirdness is understandable, considering that Apple hasn’t launched a new product category since 2010, when the iPad made its debut. Apple fans, Wall Street investors, and developers who profit from the iOS and Mac ecosystems all want the company to release something new—and the longer they’re forced to wait, the more intense the pent-up demand. With Apple CEO Tim Cook promising that new products are coming sometime this year, every halfway-believable rumor (and even the more outlandish conjecture) about products or features is seized upon like a scrap of meat in the jaws of several hungry jackals. The EarBud incident is only the latest example of this phenomenon—and regardless of what Apple finally rolls out, it certainly won’t be the last.

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Image: Secret

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