How Rumors Hurt Sales

Since JavaOne, I’ve been thinking its time to upgrade my roughly 5-year old TiBook. The wireless is having trouble connecting, and it’s really a little slow for some of the things I’m doing now. It can’t even play my Doctor Who AVIs without skipping a lot of frames. Apple had just released some new MacBooks, and I’ll need a laptop at Architecture and Design at the end of the month, so I was thinking this was a good time to buy.

Then I read this:

Back on June 20, I reported that there’d be new, slimmer MacBooks coming in October that along with being made from new materials would also feature some “speeds and feeds” updates to the internal components. Today, another “trusted source” told us this was correct and added that the iPhone’s multi-touch technology is theoretically supposed to roll out with all the new laptops, including those coming out in October. The feature will be built into the touchpads, allowing you to navigate through your notebook’s files, applications, etc. the same way you can on the iPhone. (Yes, I know you can already scroll with them, that’s nothing new. I’m talking about all the other finger gestures that can be done on the iPhone’s screen.)

Since size is really everything to me in a notebook, I think it makes sense to wait until October before upgrading. I’d hate to buy a MacBook now, and miss out on a smaller, sexier model just a few months later.

By that point, even if October comes and goes with no new announcements, I’d feel silly not waiting to see what shows up at MacWorld in January. Of course anything that is announced then, probably won’t ship till March. And if nothing is announced at MacWorld, it will by that point have been about 10 months since the last update anyway, which by itself is reason enough to wait for the next refresh.

Of course, if my TiBook flat-out dies on me, then I’ll have to buy something quickly. Barring that I suspect I can eke another year of work out of it. It’s only a secondary machine, and my desktop is quite a bit more up-to-date. (It too is starting to feel pokey, and not quite current, but it’s not nearly as far behind the times as my TiBook.) Still, I mostly use the laptop for traveling and presentations, not heavy-duty work. Occasionally I use it as a testbed for beta software I don’t trust on my primary desktop. For those purposes, I can limp along with my 1GHz single core PPC chip for another year if necessary.

Since I’d like the next laptop I buy to last the next 5 years, I’d rather make sure it’s going to be the right one. Possibly I could use this year’s computer budget to buy a new desktop instead–it would be nice to have an Intel Mac–but more likely I’ll just blow it on a nice scope or a camera or some such. :-)

4 Responses to “How Rumors Hurt Sales”

  1. Aaron Says:

    Have you considered buying a used MacBook? Yes, it’s an additional transaction, but you could sell it back when the model you want new comes out. It’d be sorta like renting what you need.

  2. bob Says:

    Before deciding to wait, I’d assess the reliability of the rumor’s source. How good or bad has crunchgear been in the past? How often have they been right with only one features, 4 months in advance?

    Another possibility is that current trackpads are already multi-touch capable, but the OS isn’t, and the October timeframe is simply because Leopard has multitouch drivers. For the existing MacBook trackpads. Because sometimes rumors aren’t 100% accurate.

  3. Clarence Odbody Says:

    I’m thinking that trackpad rumor makes little sense. With the phone you’re touching the thing you want to manipulate. With the trackpad you’d be looking at the screen and touching the pad, and almost certainly not hitting the target.

  4. Elliotte Rusty Harold Says:

    For what it’s worth, the trackpad matters little to me. However a thinner, smaller, lighter machine? That’s worth waiting for. :-)

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