Last night before she went to bed journalist and tech writer Sylvie Barak had tweeted that Steve Jobs had actually died before the iPhone 4S announcement. She tweeted a picture of a Google cache of the group Anonymous’ twitter feed cash making sure she included a question mark in the tweet because, like us, we weren’t 100% sure. The Google cache was available until about 2am pacific time but has since been removed. The Google cache is above.
In case you aren’t familiar, Barak is a true journalist and very respected in the tech community. There is no reason to doubt that at least the hacktivist group Anonymous posted this news. As we said above Twitter removed the tweet from Anonymous and the Twitter account that posted it @weRallanonymous.
More after the break
Late last night we received a call from another journalist who felt that Robert Scoble was conveniently at Apple right around announcement time.
According to his Google+ timeline he found out the news at 4:41pm and posted a tweet and a Google+ entry that said he had heard the news via ABC Radio. He didn’t post anything about going to the Apple campus. 20 minutes later Scoble began running photos from the Apple campus.
That journalist asked me if it seemed a little too convenient. Did Scoble know ahead of time. We did some research and found out that Scoble was at an event earlier in the day at Samsung Venture’s in San Jose CA prior to the announcement. Of course we don’t know what the rest of his plans for the day were (we asked him on Twitter) however we do know that, at least in normal conditions after 4:30pm in Silicon Valley,taking the 280 freeway that passes Cupertino and goes straight to San Francisco would be starting to get jammed up. The direct path from Half Moon Bay to Samsung Ventures is on the Bayshore Freeway and not the 280.
Scoble also said he was driving through Cupertino on the Freeway when he found out.
It is a possibility that Scoble was in route to San Francisco from Samsung Ventures and not going straight home. If that was the case he would pass Cupertino on the 280 on the way to San Francsico. We do know that Scoble is like a boy scout when it comes to journalism in other words YES all his tools are typically with him because he can get a story anywhere.
However, that part at least begs the answer, when did he really find out.
We would never fault Apple for holding the news of Steve Jobs death from say anytime on Wednesday morning until after the stock market closed. That is a typical move by a major, publicly traded company. However if it in fact happened even before the iPhone 4S launch the millions of people who poured out yesterday would have loved to know. The iPhone 4S would have still had it’s day.
Robert Scoble has posted this on his Google+ explaining that Apple went dark over the weekend. Based on the information in Scoble’s Google+ post its very possible he was respectfully chasing down a hunch and without fully knowing anything planted himself at Apple just in case the inevitable was to be announced. Its also possible that at some point in the day on Wednesday he received the information and was fleshing it out.
This story does not change what a great man Jobs was for the world and for the tech community. It also doesn’t change the fact that Scoble did an amazing job getting reaction from the Apple campus before the mainstream media arrived.
UPDATE 11:09AM ET: Scoble has commented that he was in fact in route to San Francisco from San Jose and relatively close to Apple’s campus when he first heard the story on ABC Radio.