The iPhone 5: Magical. Life changing. Totally fictional

In a triumph of speculation over actual news, Apple hype reached new heights with the alleged debut of the iPhone 5

Wow, that iPhone 5 announcement yesterday sure was impressive, wasn't it?The space-age design, the blazing speed, the AI interface. And that price? Unbelievable.

Sorry, did I write iPhone 5? I meant iPhone 4S. Slip of the keyboard. My bad.

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Keyboards have been slipping around the blogosphere a lot these past few weeks. Reading the thousands of confident headlines posted in advance of yesterday's announcement, the iPhone 5 looked like a lock.

"What should we expect when Apple launches the iPhone 5 in Two Weeks?" asked ReadWriteWeb on Sept. 21. Umm, how about an iPhone 4S? (One day later, that same blogger blamed "the rumor mill" for betraying him. Oh, the horror.)

"Have we found the iPhone 5?" asked 9to5Mac on July 28. Uh no, brainiac, we haven't. You might try looking for your a**, though. Better use both hands.

"Apple's iPhone 5 to support speedy 4G HSPA+ networks like AT&T," VentureBeat claimed confidently on Sept. 29. And the iPhone may well support speedy 4G, one day, if it ever appears. But not today.

"Source: The iPhone 5 Will Indeed Be a Dual-Mode CDMA/GSM 'World Phone,'" stated TechCrunch on Aug. 22. This post even goes on to say "nothing like some good old evidence from the field to turn a rumor into a near-certainty." Emphasis on the word "near."

That's just one of the hundreds -- if not thousands -- of stories that TechCrunch posted about the as-yet-vaporous iPhone 5. Naturally, today TechCrunch has a story about "what the Interwebs got right and wrong."

Those darned Interwebs -- lying to us yet again. They promised us a pony last Christmas, too. I'm only giving them another 3,426 chances before I stop believing them.

I could go on like this all day. It was the worst collective faceplant on a single story I can recall in my 387 years of journalism -- it was the "Dewey Defeats Truman" of the blog era.

Even InfoWorld got sucked in, just a tiny bit, to the iPhone 5 hype. (I should also note that way back in February, InfoWorld's Mobile Edge blogger Galen Gruman predicted there would be only a modest hardware upgrade to the iPhone this year -- a 4x, not a 5. Good on ya, GG.)

Mostly, though, traditional (one might even say "actual") news sites steered clear of the endless iPhone 5 rumormongering and speculation-pumping that is the lifeblood of most of these blogs. At the very least they certainly dialed it way back.

My question: Where are all the retractions and apologies in the blogosphere today? Where are the mea culpas? Oh right, that's one of those quaint mainstream media practices we've grown out of. Just blame everyone else for the misinformation you helped to spread and move on to the next hot rumor.

Meanwhile, all the hype surrounding a nonexistent product pretty much melted the InterWeb yesterday. Many "live blogs" of the Apple event weren't either, thanks to traffic overload. Twitter went insane. And when the blessed event did not actually transpire as predicted, Apple looked like it had failed.

Apple didn't fail. The blogosphere failed.

As my slightly over-the-top post on Monday may have indicated, I am over this whole "iPhone is bigger than Jesus" thing. I suspect after yesterday many other folks are too. I don't see the hype ever reaching this level again. And that, at least, is the best thing to come out of this.

Did you expect an iPhone 5 yesterday? Are you disappointed it didn't materialize? Post your tales of sadness and devastation below, or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "The iPhone 5: Magical. Life changing. Totally fictional," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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