I like to follow news about Apple and its products as much as anyone. It's interesting and fun and watching the speculation is a kind of voyeurism, a way to get inside a company that keeps a tight lid on information, but much like baseball trade rumors, which I also love to follow, most of them turn out to be dead wrong. Yet we continue to insist on speculating and this week was no different as rumors flew about the health of the company and new lower-end devices.

What Ever Happened to the $800 Mac Book?

Regular readers of this space may recall my post just prior to Apple's big Mac Book announcement in October called: If True, Apple's $800 Mac Book Couldn't Come at a Better Time. As it turned it wasn't true, even though it was widely reported and speculated upon by pundits and analysts alike. Everyone thought they knew, but nobody really did.

This week we have the news that Apple could be releasing a 4GB iPhone to be sold at Walmart. As with the $800 Mac Book, given the current economic conditions, such a move makes sense on some level, but do you really believe Steve Jobs wants to race to the bottom? It's not Apple's style. We've also heard persistent rumors about a low-cost Apple Netbook to compete with the rash of such devices that have hit the market in the last year.

It's the Economy, Stupid (or is it)?

While Jobs has consistently stated Apple is not going to produce a netbook-style computer, the rumors still hang on and we listen to them and blog about them and discuss them to no end. Analysts insist Apple needs to adapt to current economic conditions to survive, but so far, in spite of a shrinking stock price, Apple is doing fine (as I wrote in The Economy May Stink, But Apple Comes Out Smelling Like a Rose).

Just this week, BusinessWeek had a feature purporting that Apple's growth engine, fueled by runaway sales of iPods is about to sputter caught in the wake of the economic downturn where consumers are content to hold onto their old iPods. Yet cnet has an article that there are shortages of iPods due to overwhelming demand for the product.

And The Rumors Keeping Coming

Contradictions on top of contradictions and who's right? If history proves correct, Jobs has the information in his back pocket and he's not saying. Much like the aforementioned MLB trade rumors leaks happen for a variety of reasons and often the leaker has an agenda of his/her own.

I have no doubt that the speculation will persist and the rumors will fly and we will continue to discuss them ad nauseum, but I can't help wonder if it's time to just let it rest and wait for the announcement when we can get the real scoop. You would think we would learn that by now, but I have a feeling that's not going to happen.

About the Author
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I am a Freelance Technology Journalist, blogger, FierceContentManagement editor and Contributing Editor at EContent Magazine. I have been writing about technology since 1988 and publishing credits include InsideCRM, CIO.com, Streaming Media Magazine, eWeek, BusinessWeek SmallBiz and Network World. I have also written White Papers, documentation and training for a variety of corporate clients, big and small. I co-founded [url]www.socmedia101.com[/url] in 2009 and contributes regularly to its content. You can learn more by visiting my blog, by Ron Miller at [URL]http://byronmiller.typepad.com[/url].

I won an Apex Award for Publications Excellence in Feature Writing in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

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The Macs are high-priced UNIX systems, which are marketed towards "cool" people and people who don't want to do boring shit like pie-charts. But, as much as I enjoy their commercials, I have to admit that Apple is pretty annoying. Reading in my OS textbook, I read how Apple designed Mac OS-X's kernel (a mix between BSD kernel and the Mach microkernel) using free open-source to build their system. It's kind of lame that a company would use open-source to build their closed-source software, but that's Macintosh for you - I guess.