On Tuesday, the world’s attention will turn to California, where Apple is set to make a product announcement that will undoubtedly flood Facebook and Twitter with countless posts lusting after what’s expected to be a smaller, more mobile 20-centimetre iPad.
Apple’s product launches are closely guarded secrets — but leaks are inevitable.
In the high-stakes world of Apple rumour-mongering, two Canadian bloggers have built sterling reputations for accurately revealing details about new iPhones and iPads well before the company does.
It was five months ago that Montreal-based Rene Ritchie forecasted that Apple would be releasing its new "iPad mini" sometime this month for between $200 to $250. Whether he was right will soon be revealed, but past posts on his iMore.com site accurately reported details about the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 and the "new iPad" before Apple made its official announcements.
So what’s his secret? Ritchie says he has various sources within Apple and at other manufacturing, retail and mobile carrier companies that feed him information from time to time.
"I’m just lucky enough that I get enough pieces that I can start to put things together," says Ritchie, 40, who notes that he sweats every prediction he makes.
"I’m really, really careful, I consider our readers’ attention really valuable and I don’t want to just throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks.
"I’m very patient, I try to wait until I’m really sure of something until it seems — I don’t want to say confirmed, because nothing is ever confirmed until Apple puts it up on stage — but I just take my time."
Nailed last 2 or 3
Other elite tech bloggers have come to trust Ritchie given his spot-on coverage over the past year or so, says Jim Dalrymple, another Canadian who’s looked to for Apple scoops.
"Rene in the last year has nailed the last two or three events that Apple has had, so it’s been interesting to watch him," says Dalrymple, who co-runs the website The Loop out of his home office in Bedford, N.S., just outside Halifax.
Dalrymple, a tech industry veteran who wrote for Macworld and MacCentral before starting Loopinsight.com, has his own style when it comes to breaking Apple news, mostly choosing to confirm the reports of other bloggers — as he did with Ritchie’s early reporting on the iPhone 5 in July.
He’ll often post a short excerpt of another outlet’s report and add a simple "yep."
Tech observers have come to consider a Dalrymple "yep" as reliable as official confirmation from Apple itself.
"I have been around for so long doing this, I really don’t need to be the first to report something," says Dalrymple, 45, who notes he hasn’t been wrong with a "yep" yet.
Room for surprises
"I get as much satisfaction out of saying ‘yep’ as I used to writing the big, long stories. I know that I’m right and people — I guess maybe it’s the years I’ve been doing it or the fact I’ve been right so often — trust me.
"As soon as a rumour goes up on the web, my Twitter feed is full of people asking for a ‘yep.’ It’s kind of grown into its own thing now."
Although it’s widely thought a smaller iPad will highlight Tuesday’s event, Dalrymple says there’s always room for surprises.
"There’s some things only Apple knows, there’s no doubt about that," he says.
"Tim Cook, the engineers at Apple and the executives there, they’re the only ones that know for absolute certain what’s coming."
Ritchie has been wrong with some details in the past — he originally posted that the iPhone 5 and forthcoming iPad would be revealed at the same event — but says it’s sometimes difficult to know whether his reporting really was incorrect or whether Apple just made last-minute changes.
"With Apple, (making predictions) is particularly difficult because they’re an incredibly agile and nimble company and they can make decisions very late in a device cycle," he says.
"So if I report something in July that’s going to happen in September, it’s quite possible that it will actually change. The physical aspects of the device have to be locked down early enough for them to manufacture it but anything else — like the name, the price, all those things — can be decided literally at the last minute.
"So I’m confident that’s what the details were when I heard it but I’m not confident that they won’t change it."
Apple’s event is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET.