Too much suspense can make a person give up hope

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| January 22, 2014

I'm sure at this point we're all familiar with "The Rumor Mill", which of course isn't actually a mill, but rather an invisible cloud of hopeful and sometimes trustworthy information regarding a future feature, device or technology that we hope to see. When you read about something regarding the Apple iPhone 6, the Galaxy S5, the HTC Two or the Nexus 6, you're likely getting the information from said "rumor mill" at this point because none of it is official. It is not fact.

But even then, companies know about this cloud of information and hopeful suggestions; they don't turn a blind eye to its potential, specifically the potential for marketing. The more that people talk about a certain company or their respective devices, the more people start to notice; they become intrigued, interested, and will likely search for more information on the subject if they're only given a little snippet of some big secret that nobody knows about in hopes of discovering the truth. Yes, companies know about the rumor mill, and I am certain they oftentimes use it to their advantage by releasing their own leaks and snippets of information.

The issue I want to bring up in this article sort of starts with leaks and rumors, and companies taking advantage of their usefulness - perhaps a little too much advantage. Honestly, I don't see anything wrong with it - it's kind of like putting together a really big puzzle. It gives us something to talk about, something to be interested in. It's particularly nice to have whenever news and releases are slow, which happens from time to time. It's a way to spark a discussion and feel like we actually have an input on something instead of throwing around specs and features that we already know are facts. But sometimes it feels like the rumors and discussions go on for far too long, and the spark that once fueled our hopes and dreams have fizzled by the time the device actually comes out.

Perhaps it's a product of starting the rumors too early. I don't think we ever get a break from iPhone rumors, starting from the day the whateverth generation of iPhone comes out. What does Apple have planned for next year? What features do you think they'll include? What could they have done better with this generation that they can fix in the next one? That kind of stuff is interesting to talk about for a minute, sure, but that's just stuff that people come up with to start a discussion. I'm talking about real leaks, the ones that have photographic evidence of an alleged device (or parts of it), or a slip-up or hint in interviews with executives of major companies. Those are the kinds of rumors that we often take seriously, and that's what gets the snowball rolling. 

A specific example I have in my mind right now is the Moto X. How long had that phone been rumored? It seemed like forever. Yet, despite all of the information we were getting about that mysterious "X" phone, the device never seemed to come to fruition. The Moto X, although not a bad phone by any means, probably could have had a lot more sales if it hadn't been released so late after people started picking up information on it. Motorola's Moto X had a lot more issues in the end than just being a late device, but I have no doubt in my mind that a lot of people were just plain tired of waiting for it and opted to go with something else instead. 

Another example that sticks out in my head is the new Nokia Lumia Icon, or the Lumia 929 that has been rumored for months to hit Verizon Wireless. It was a phone I had considered waiting for instead of going with the Lumia 928, but by looking at the history of the rumored release dates for the device I decided that I wasn't in the mood to wait. I had been hearing about the device and reading about it for quite some time, and even getting excited once I read that the device even briefly showed up on Verizon's online store (to no avail). So without a clear road map ahead of when this device will even come to be, it's taking a serious gamble - and the longer you wait for a device, the longer it's likely going to be before you're able to upgrade again.

For a lot of people, snagging their upgrade the day it's available is the way to go. It's already hard enough waiting so long for a new smartphone to begin with given how fast technology progresses. If you go back two years ago from today, these would be some of the devices you would likely see people carrying:

It's a good looking bunch of phones! A little old, and a little slow, but still looking good. Seems like a long time ago, and in the technology field it is, so when it's time to upgrade it's time to make haste! 

Like I said, the rumor mill in general is usually a good thing - I like it for the most part. There are just certain uses of it that aren't good - like waiting too long to release a device once the rumors have started rolling. People don't like it. Businesses don't like it. It's just best overall if rumors don't circulate too long. And if a rumor is started that isn't true? Squash it like a bug! Make an official statement saying it's never coming. Then nobody hopes for anything. Bottom line is that too much suspense kills - sales, that is.

Readers, have you ever given up on a device because you were tired of hearing rumors and seeing no results? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via Engadget, Verizon Wireless, Neatloaf