The iPhone 5 News Blog fact-checks paid Network World troll John Cox and his cynical weekly mischaracterizations of the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 rumor mills.
Network World blogger John Cox appears to make some portion of his living these days trolling the various tech-related websites included in the Google News aggregate who speculate on the iPhone 5 and iPad 3. Espousing journalistic integrity, Cox regularly seeks to expose the blog posts from these tech websites — including the iPhone 5 News Blog — as shoddy, irresponsible journalism. It remains to be seen why it hasn’t dawned on Mr. Cox that blogs such as this one are not by any means staffed by bona fide news journalists (we’re pretty clear about that on our About Us page, which states “We do not ‘break news’ here.”)
At the same time, John Cox essentially does exactly what we do here — just one abstraction level farther away from the original story. His hook in every article is, “You read it here second.” That’s actually not true: you, dear reader, read it here second — you read it third in Cox’s article, along with his flippant tone, misquotes, and mischaracterizations.
Mr. Cox apparently fails to understand or enjoy the fun of speculating, opining, and discussing rumored Apple gadgets. And nor do his readers, as most of his roll-up articles fail to garner more than a couple supportive comments. However, since no one is holding Cox’s accounts to account, we thought we’d start a little column, entitled the Troll-Up.
You read it here fourth:
One of Cox’s riffs is to deride bloggers for referring to “many people.” “many analysts,” or “many stories,” as opposed to listing all of them in our blog posts. He takes aim at InRumor first:
“Nicole” at InRumor starts her post, headlined “Will the iPhone 5 be released as ‘The New iPhone’?” with a quote from Apple CEO Tim Cook, concluding this week’s new iPad announcement: “Across the year, you’re going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation.”
Apparently, calling the Next iPhone the new iPhone is the height of this kind of innovation, in Nicole’s eyes.
Not just some people, but “many people” are confused by Apple’s name game with the new iPad, Nicole declares.
Wait — so, many people weren’t confused by Apple’s name game with the new iPad? Like you, I follow Google News all day, every day, and there were articles up and down the news wire reporting on the confusion and discussion that came out of the New iPad launch event. It had been widely reported that the New iPad would be either “iPad 3″ or “iPad HD” — no one saw “the New iPad” coming. Even Phil Schiller admitted that they chose not to give the New iPad a conventional name in order to defy expectations. When expectations are defied, people get confused. And when Apple does it to the iPad, many people get confused.
Cox takes aim at me on this as well:
If Nicole is confused, Michael Nace at iPhone5NewsBlog seems to be enduring an existential crisis brought on by the name of the new iPad and its implications for the name of the new iPhone.
“Apple Enthusiasts Confused Over ‘New iPad’ Name,” his headline declares.
Really? I’m having an existential crisis brought on by the name of the new iPad? According to Cox:
Nace is disconcerted. “[I]t is Apple’s marketing department that has ginned up its own customers by establishing reasonable naming conventions for its devices — and then wantonly breaking them in disconcerting fashion,” he complains. We’ve always wondered where Apple’s wanton naming-convention breakers were lurking.
“With the ‘New iPad,’we don’t really know what we have here,” Nace continues, the angst clearly deepening. “Is this a refresh of the iPad 2, or an overhauled design? According to the preponderance of evidence from the mainstream tech media, the New iPad has not impressed enough to warrant calling it an overhaul. Thus, even though the New iPad is the third-generation iPad, will there be an ‘iPad 3′ next year?”
Disconcerted? Angst-ridden? Apparently so, according to Cox. Cue the flippancy: “Our head is going to explode. Why, oh why is Apple causing us now to wonder if the fourth-generation iPad will actually be called iPad 3?”
Believe it or not, however, Cox actually manages to levy an opinion, all while mocking everyone else for having one. He states it as thus:
Nace and Nicole are among those who truly believe the product name is either “The New iPad” or “New iPad.” Yet clearly it’s not. Apple’s Website product tab simply says “iPad.” The text refers variously to “third-generation” and “new” but both terms clearly are, to use Nace’s own term, “qualifiers,” not the proper name of the product.
But that’s not entirely right, is it? While tabs and URL subfolders at apple.com simply use “iPad,” “The New iPad” is used widespread all over the website, including the store page, to differentiate the new iPad iteration. Even top consumer electronics companies like Case-Mate are using the term “New iPad.” The point here, however, is not that Mr. Cox’s opinion is wrong, but rather that he has the audacity to levy one just after poking fun at other blogs who did the same.
What’s particularly galling about Mr. Cox’s sanctimonious coverage of the iPhone 5 and iPad rumor mills is that he manages to engage in it more decadently than most of the other blogs and writers he derides weekly. In an article entitled, “Apple iPad 3 may have new textured touch interface,” dated March 7th at 10:41 am ET, Cox seemed to have been going for a blockbuster pre-iPad launch bombshell article, hoping to take credit for preempting a revolutionary haptic feature for the iPad 3′s screen.
Mr. Cox wades stridently into the iPad 3 rumor mill: “The iPad 3 may feature what’s known as a haptics screen – one that gives your fingers the sensation of different physical textures, depending on the image they’re touching. The supplier named, in a news story by the British mobile website Pocket-Lint, is Finland-based Senseg, which acknowledged in a separate story last year that it’s “working with a certain tablet maker based in Cupertino,” Calif. Apple is headquartered there.”
Why is it that citing primary sources like Mac Rumors, 9to5Mac, IBT, and the Wall Street Journal — news outlets citied on this blog regularly — never seem to be good enough to pass muster in Mr. Cox’s column, but Pocket-Lint is a super-credible source? Even Cox himself admits that the basis of the rumor is a result of suggestions: “Pocket-Lint’s Stuart Miles stitches together some suggestive “no comment” comments from Senseg executives, with a hands-on experience of the technology at Mobile World Congress in Spain earlier this month.”
Are you kidding me? This is as speculative and rumorish as anything else Cox mocks in his articles. Besides which, the haptic feedback patent is as old as the hills — it dates back to the summer of 2010 — and it is total rumor mill fodder.
Mind you: at face value, I have no problem whatsoever with Mr. Cox’s article — that’s the kind of thing I and many other bloggers do on a daily basis on our respective blogs. I just think we’d all like to see John Cox play by the same rules he criticizes other blogs for breaking. Until then, his weekly rumor roll-ups will continue to smack of hypocrisy.
People like John Cox have long complained about rumor mills, and the fact that there is seldom “hard news” to report on. To not enjoy or appreciate the fun of speculation is fine — but to both mock and engage in it simultaneously in the guise of a “roll-up” article would seem to be worthy of a response. Hence, the “troll-up.”
By Michael Nace