Think, Period.

Rick Aristotle Munarriz at The Motley Fool:

It was difficult to see Apple moving so many tablets when’s Kindle Fire was doing what no other competitor had done in this niche by actually selling “millions” of its entry-level $199 devices. Adding to the bargain-basement pricing, Research In Motion was dumping PlayBook tablets for as little as $199. Even its high-end 64-gigabyte model is selling at a $400 discount to its original price tag these days. It was also during this time that Hewlett-Packard cleared out its inventory of webOS-fueled TouchPads for as little as $99 apiece.

Given all of this markdown madness, you have to wonder what the 15.4 million buyers of iPads at $499 or higher were thinking. It was a buyer’s market for tablets, yet they went ahead and paid retail. […]

I’m not asking iPad buyers to “think different” as much as “think,” period.

15.4 million idiots…what were they thinking?

(Apple noted on the conference call that sell-through exceeded sell-in by 200,000 units, so it was more like 15.6 million idiots.)

On Attribution

Attribution is a controversial topic in blogging and reporting, with the tensions between mainstream news sources and independent “news blogs” having been well-documented. But even within those groups there are clearly rivalries, oversights, and intentional editorial and design decisions that lead to a lack of credit where credit is due.

I’m repeatedly surprised (although I probably shouldn’t be at this point) by the spiteful attitudes some outlets take toward their competitors, attitudes that most obviously manifest themselves in going out of the way to avoid crediting another site.

Some slights are specific and very intentional, often driven by either professional or personal rivalries. Other issues of attribution are less personal but can carry broader impacts.

Our policy at MacRumors is to try to be as upfront as possible about attribution, almost always mentioning the original source of a unique article by name and linking directly to it at the first opportunity. Some sites work very hard to bury that information for some reason, preferring to hide the original source with a generic single-word link buried somewhere in the final paragraph of the post (and in some cases much less obvious than the site’s in-text advertising) or in a tiny, often overlooked “source” link at the end of the article. Many times these mentions won’t even include the name of the original source.

It’s one thing to have your work picked up by another site and published with only a tiny attribution link; at least the link is there. But those obscured links then lead to other sites picking up the story and citing the re-report instead of the original one…which is exactly what the source obscurers want.

Yes, it’s all part of the game sites engage in in trying to drive traffic to their own sites, a game that can also apparently be “won” by keeping traffic from going to other sites even when the reader would be best served with a clear link to the original source.

MacRumors certainly isn’t perfect, but we try hard to acknowledge when another outlet digs up a unique story. Sometimes it takes a little bit of work to get through the chain of re-reports to find the original, and in some cases it results in dual attribution: one for an original source that may have gone undiscovered by us and a second for the re-report that brought it to our attention.

The politics and competitiveness of the Apple news and rumor world and broader tech universe certainly aren’t unique, but any failure to attribute to the best of our abilities is a disservice to our readers. Nobody gets all the scoops, and sometimes most of the time it’s fine to give a tip of the hat to the “other guy”.

Show some respect, and you just might get some in return. And even if you don’t, perhaps you’ll sleep better at night (or during the day or in small catnaps scattered around the clock). Given our line of work, good sleep is frequently a precious commodity.

Early February Seems Too Early

Macotakara says that Apple is preparing for an iPad 3 introduction in early February. As I noted over at MacRumors, this would make for a roughly one-month wait from introduction to launch if rumors of early March availability are correct, and that’s where they seem to be coalescing right now.

One month is too long of a wait for an established Apple product unless they’re specifically trying to preempt something else with an announcement, and I don’t see signs of that yet. Early February is too early in my opinion, so my gut feeling is that this Macotakara report is off.

For the record, last year Macotakara claimed on February 5 that Apple was likely to hold a late February media event ahead of a March launch for the iPad 2. The media event actually took place on March 2.

An iPad 3 with LTE

Today’s big news is a Bloomberg report claiming that the iPad 3 has entered production and is set to launch in March. While that piece of information and claims of a high-resolution “Retina” display are consistent with circulating rumors, the report’s assertion that the iPad 3 will both carry a quad-core processor (presumably Apple’s A6 system-on-a-chip) and support LTE cellular connectivity are very welcome confirmations.

When it comes to the processor, Apple has been widely reported to be developing its next-generation A6 system-on-a-chip with a quad-core processor. But one analyst suggested last August that an A6-powered iPad would be unlikely before June 2012 based on the suggested development timeline for the platform. That claim naturally led to speculation about whether the analyst was simply wrong (a common assumption), or if Apple would be forced to decide between releasing an A5-powered iPad 3 in the expected March timeframe or “pushing back” the iPad 3 launch to the June timeframe.

On the LTE front, Apple executives stated several times last year that the company was unwilling to adopt LTE in that year’s mobile products due to “design compromises” that would have had to have been made in order to accommodate the necessary chips. In brief, LTE devices have so far required two-chip solutions to provide the LTE baseband on top of the basic system components. That arrangement requires additional space and power that Apple was unwilling to dedicate to the technology last year.

Qualcomm is in the process of delivering single-chip LTE solutions to manufacturers for sampling, and that has been expected to be the necessary step for Apple to adopt the technology. But reports had indicated that single-chip solutions such as the MDM9615 would not be ready for mass production until early this year, with some sources reporting a Q2 introduction. Consequently, there has been some debate as to whether they would arrive in time for Apple to squeeze them into the iPad 3 for a spring launch.

Assuming Bloomberg‘s report is correct, both of the potential issues regarding A6 and LTE availability are no longer a concern, and even the most demanding Apple fans can look forward to another enticing product launch in the not-too-distant future.

The China Telecom iPhone

From an IDG News report on Sunday:

IPhone Built for China Telecom Gains Regulator Approval

A version of the Apple’s iPhone built for China Telecom’s networks has received approval from a Chinese regulator, putting the iconic smartphone closer in the hands of customers of the mobile operator.

It’s not clear if the device is the iPhone 4S, the latest version of the iPhone. The China Radio Management office said on its website that it gave approval to an Apple smartphone built for China Telecom’s CDMA2000 network.

While the report states that it is “not clear if the device is the iPhone 4S”, it most certainly is. A quick search on the database of approvals reveals the device to be model A1387, which is in fact the same iPhone 4S released in the rest of the world and the one that GSM provider China Unicom will begin offering on Friday.

Oddly enough, the report has been picked up without question by a number of different outlets, including mainstream publications such as The Wall Street Journal, CNET, and Bloomberg.

All of the reports seem to leave the incorrect impression that this mysterious A1387 iPhone (if they even identify the model) has been developed by Apple specifically to run on China Telecom’s network. What none of them consider is the fact that the device was approved so that China Unicom can offer it beginning on Friday.

The iPhone 4S approval really says little about China Telecom’s prospects for offering the device. It’s been clear since the iPhone 4S launch last year that it would run on China Telecom’s network, just as the now year-old CDMA iPhone 4 would. Yes, technically the iPhone 4S approval is one less hurdle for a China Telecom iPhone, but that approval was essentially a given and was driven by China Unicom’s needs, not China Telecom’s. The absence of a China Telecom iPhone has been and continues to simply be due to a lack of an agreement between Apple and the carrier.

Welcome to Slivka’s Sidebar!

So, where to begin…

What is this?

To state the obvious, it’s my personal blog. But given the fact that so much of my life is focused on Apple and technology in general, I imagine it will become a repository of thoughts and perspectives on those topics, offering me an outlet apart from the news and rumors that are the hallmark of MacRumors.

Why now?

It’s CES week, and I hear that’s a big time for product announcements.

On a more serious note, now that I think about it, I’ve come to the realization that MacRumors has been a part of my life for over a decade. I first stumbled onto the site in mid-2001 when I was looking to pick up a new iBook and wanted to make sure a new release wasn’t right around the corner. I became a regular reader of the site, but it took until January 2005 and the release of the first iPod shuffle before I was spurred to register for the forums and begin posting.

15,000 posts later and after having been asked to be a moderator and later administrator for the forums, the stars began to align as Arn was looking to hire the site’s first employee at the same time I was looking for my next adventure. It was late 2008, and I’d been informally writing a few articles for MacRumors for six months or so in my spare time, and so it was a natural transition for me to step into a full-time role as 2009 came around.

It’s now three years that I’ve been at MacRumors full-time, and I’ve finally decided that it’s time for a personal outlet. I’ve historically been a quiet contributor, writing articles for one of the most prominent Apple-focused sites on the web but not really putting myself out there. Sure, I’ve made plenty of friends and contacts and built up a network of people who share information and with whom I engage in discussions, but my public contributions beyond MacRumors have been relatively few and far between.

MacRumors has a distinctive style and perspective on how we report information, one that has served us well with our readership but which does not leave room for a lot of editorial and speculative commentary from our staff. From time to time I’ve had thoughts and opinions that I would have liked to have shared with others, but I didn’t really have a good place to put them out there.

Hence this blog. I’ve noted that I expect it to be primarily focused on Apple and broader tech topics, but it remains to be seen how it will evolve over time. Here’s hoping that people who stop by find something of value once in a while, something a little different from what you find in my main outlet at MacRumors.