In February Patently Apple reported on a newly granted patent of Apple's that covered a health monitoring system for headsets which would cover biometric data such as temperature, perspiration and heart rate. The patent's main focus was on head gesturing controls. A month earlier Intel attempted to claim that they had invented earbuds with a built-in heart monitor that would also include the use of digital assistant called Jarvis. That wasn't a new idea being that Apple already has a patent-pending invention on the books covering that very same feature. Yesterday the rumor mill exploded with the notion that Apple's next-gen EarPods will offer heart rate and blood pressure sensors. While Apple has the technology that could make this EarPod rumor become a reality, the fact is that for now we're just hearing it in the form of a rumor from a questionable source. Yet the bigger story perhaps is in how this rumor spun out of control and how it could mark the beginning of a new hyper-rumor era. REPORT UPDATED MAY 5, 2014
One of Secrets first big-hit rumors was whispering about the Nike FuelBand Team being dismantled. The rumor was a stretch as it was later reported by re-code that Nike laid off employees but didn't dismantle the team. Yes, disgruntled employees trying to strike back at their former employer will say a lot of off-the-cuff remarks in anger. Now apps like Secret will give them an open forum.
The grand idea behind the Secret app is this: "Once partially divorced from identity, we're able to be more open with sharing whatever things we want to share. Though since you're still connected to your network of contacts, ideally you're less inhibited to tell your friends and acquaintances what you really think."
The New York Times wrote about this in March: "a five-week old social app, Secret, is testing the limits of just how much sharing Silicon Valley thinks is a good thing. That's because the sharing is done anonymously. And, as it turns out, much of the chatter is about Silicon Valley itself — offering a rare, unvarnished look at the ambitions, disappointments, rivalries, jealousies and obsessions of the engineers and entrepreneurs who live and work there."
It was reported yesterday by TechCrunch that a new competitor called "Cloaq" debuted and it seems that crazy gossip and rumor-mill postings are about to explode onto the new in a series of these new apps. Forget facts, you're just going to hear about fantasies, wishful thinking and creative-writings. Yet to build credibility, they'll snag some real rumors that will pan out and this is what's going to blur the lines in the blogosphere going forward.
Yesterday's rumor about Apple's next generation EarPods having a heart rate monitor has roots in patent-pending facts. However, the rumor got off-track quickly by a Reddit poster who independently claimed that the "secret" came from a disgruntled ex-Apple employee. Yet you have to remember that Secret (the app) is all about being anonymous. In truth, the person revealing the so-called secret never revealed himself.
Below is screen-shot of a segment of the Reddit post that was originally posted by "plush_bunny." In this segment you see someone challenging the source and the poster admitting the following: "It was just the first guess I had due to the nature of the Secret. Apple internals = Apple employees. But your analysis (the challenge from "Wherewuz") definitely sounds very plausible and might be right."
It's even questionable why a Nike ex-employee would know details of a future Apple product not related to the Nike + iPod product. But the point here is that the rumor mill exploded on this "Secret" that spun into a faulty rumor about an ex-Apple employee which ended up on MacRumors and the ball rolled out of control from there.
With a number of these new "secret" rumor mill apps coming to market, the craziest and most creative rumors will begin to rage through the blogosphere based on what people want to here, what people want to be true. Then companies with creative marketing teams will learn how to use these new apps as weapons to invent damaging rumors against their rivals that will spread like wild fire on sites like Reddit and other rumor mill sites.
The ultimate "soap opera" era is about to descend upon the blogosphere much like how reality TV invaded the networks. And there's always been an audience for gossip galore like those who love the National Enquirer. Yes, aliens have landed and represent themselves as the Tea Party – as discovered by former President Bill Clinton at area 51. Although many may believe that, it's just wishful thinking (… well maybe, ha!).
The rumor mill in the Apple community is already commonplace with rumors with iPhone 6 mania firmly in place on a daily or bi-weekly basis. Supposedly bloggers in Ukraine and Taiwan have real iPhone 6 prototypes and real Apple schematics shown in distant fussy photos. What's the difference in that and aliens have landed stories?
Yes, bloggers have all the secrets, didn't you know that? While most of us laugh at this circus, there's an equal number of Apple fans who eat this stuff it up – and sometimes it's just good old fun even though it's primarily entertainment.
Yet in the end, "Secret" apps mania is about to burst wide-open and flood the blogosphere with more insanity. If these apps are to survive, the rumors will have to be crazier, riskier and over-the-top to create the mania that they need to survive and prosper. All I can say at this point is: Where's Noah when you really need him?
UPDATE May 05, 2014: Three days later, 9to5MacPacked EarPod rumor was all a Ruse. Oh big surprise (stated sarcastically). Patently Apple was the only Apple blog to question the validity of this rumor, loudly, prior to this revelation.