Apple CEO Tim Cook said he would "double down on secrecy on products" earlier this year, but the current pre-iPhone rumor cycle has been at least as leaky as usual, arguably leakier. Today, for example, screen supplier Sharp, during its earnings call, said it would ship screens for the new iPhone within the next month, reports Reuters. Not only is that a remarkable public confirmation from one of Apple's suppliers, until this year, Apple wouldn't even reveal who its suppliers were. (And it only changed its approach because the bad press it was receiving about Foxconn forced the company toward more transparency.) Even now, Sharp can't comment on its relationship with Apple, notes Reuters. Yet, the Sharp president talked up the new iPhone screen shipments, giving more than just a rumor, but a certain detail about the upcoming phone. Though we're used to lots of unconfirmed, unsubstantiated whisperings about Apple products all year long, confirmed details like that aren't something we remember happening before Cook's "double-down."

Overall, this rumor cycle hasn't felt any more secretive than before Cook pledged to be more secretive. There have been a lot of rumors floating around from pretty believable sources. Many major tech news sources, including The New York Times, AllThingsD, and The Loop all had their Apple sources citing a September 12 launch date. The iPad mini rumors have made their way to the more discerning news outlets, like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. And then there's the rumors of a 4-inch screen and a slimmer size, too. The Apple rumor mill has been just as active as usual.

All of this is about Apple strategy, of course. Aside from the Sharp statement, none of these specs should be taken as real pieces of information. Yet, Apple knows they are. When every major news outlet has a source telling them the same thing about an upcoming Apple release, it begins to look like, as some have speculated, that these are intentional leaks by Apple to increase interest in their next generation of devices. If so, this year Apple has made a lot of things certain via their anonymous whisperers. That isn't the greater secrecy Cook promised, but it doesn't mean it's not strategic. Perhaps Cook has loosened up on purpose, as one MacRumor commenter surmises. "New controlled leaks allowed by Tim?" writes Yvan 256. "What better way to prevent sales of your competitors devices than to say 'just wait a bit longer, our new devices are almost ready.' Free marketing." Apple does have more competition than ever before, especially in the tablet department, and can't expect everyone to wait until an undisclosed mystery release date. Maybe after Cook saw the Google Nexus 7 and Surface announcements he decided to make moves. Or, maybe this is all a bunch of made-up stuff so that when Apple reveals its magic gadgets we'll be pee-in-our-pants surprised.