Fake Steve "Outed" As iMac Makes Real News


First things first: I'm disappointed. Fake Steve Jobs has been outed and I'm bummed about it. Some mysteries ought to just stay that way. Over the weekend, the New York Times' tech reporter Brad Stone outed Fake Steve as Forbes' Senior Editor Daniel Lyons.So now, as I read the blog, instead of hearing Steve Jobs' voice tell me the words, I hear someone else. Noise. A distraction. Something NOT Steve, but just another writer trying to be Steve. And that's a bummer.

I mean, there's a quirky inner desire to know. To be in the know. But then there's a bigger desire not to. It's why we wrap gifts. Why some people like giving surprise parties; why others like getting that surprise "refund" from the IRS. I didn't want to know. Big Foot. Crop Circles. Loch Ness. Aliens. Do we really want to know? Or is the mystery itself more intriguing, more compelling, than the cold hard truth?

Fake Steve even seems a little disappointed, writing today: "Well, it had to happen. Honestly, I can't believe it's taken this long." He goes on: "You put the pieces of the puzzle together. You went through my trash, hacked into my computer and put listening devices in my home. Now you've ruined the mystery of Fake Steve, robbing thousands of people around the world of their sense of childlike wonder. Hope you feel good about yourself, you mangina."

When I reached Stone this morning, his first reponse to me: "Adults aren't supposed to believe in Santa Claus." But then, our email conversation became more thoughtful. He writes to me, "I like others in the Valley am a big fan of Fake Steve Jobs. But he could only duck and weave behind his shield of anonymity for so long and even Dan Lyons knew that. A cottage industry of reporters and bloggers was trying to track him down for months and we got there first."

Indeed. Online gossip rag Valleywag.comwrote, "It was crushing" not to be the ones to out Fake Steve Jobs. Stone continues: "He said he was gonna come after me. He was very good-natured about it. Something he expected would happen for a long time." "That said, we have had the privilege of reading an early draft of Fake Steve's new book and it is great. Have faith that he will live on."

That draft was key. In the book's publisher-pitch, it was mentioned that the author had been published before. When Stone and I talked further, he told me he went through the stacks of major business publications to see who had published a novel. Lyons had written two books, lives in the Boston area, where some others had traced Fake Steve's IP computer address, he maintained another blog called "Floating Point"where so much of the Fake Steve lexicon is also employed, that everything added up and the curtain was pulled back.

But alas, there is still another connected mystery to all this, as yet unsolved. We still don't know who "Fake Gene"is, the blog purportedly written by well-known Apple bull and Piper Jaffray tech analyst Gene Munster. I did catch up with Gene this morning who hopes "Fake Gene" uses Fake Steve's outing as an opportunity to step forward himself.

"My message to Fake Gene is, 'It's OK to come out....", said Munster laughing. And then he rephrased: "It's OK to let yourself be known because Fake Steve is out there, so now's a great time to come out." He still has no idea who it is; he's asked around. No one's copping to Fake Gene's identity. Yet. Oh, and Brad Stone himself now has his own Fake Brad blog. Ugh.

Meantime, all this "fake" stuff aside, Apple will make real news Tuesday when the company unveils the first iMac redesign in almost a year.I've already written about expectations and now you can find rumor-images all over the net about what the new iMac might look like: the white case will likely be replaced by brushed aluminum instead; the border around the screen will be more unified, instead of a big block of space on the bottom to house all the components. A slightly faster microprocessor; maybe Apple TV already built-in. Something at home as much in a home-office as it would be in a home-theater.

Apple's taken "computer" out of its name, preferring Apple Inc. over Apple Computer. But make no mistake: the Mac is still very important to this company, accounting for 60% of profits. And until iPhone starts generating meaningful revenue, Apple is still a two-trick pony of iPods and Macs. With back-to-school practically upon us, an iMac redesign is critical. But expect something cool; not necessarily something earth-shattering.

Still, real news is better than fake news. And may the mystery of Fake Steve rest in peace.

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