About that iPhone 5 delay

March 30, 2011, 3:58 PM UTC

An Apple leak, hedge fund FUD or a false rumor out of the wild west of the blogosphere?

Several Wall Street analysts finally caught on to the significance of Jim Dalrymple’s report in The Loop Monday that there would be no new hardware unveiled at Apple’s (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

What this may mean — as BMO Capital’s Keith Bachman and Jefferies & Co.’s Peter Misek explained to clients Wednesday —  is that for the first time since 2007, summer will come and go without a new iPhone.

All this triggered some predictable selling on Wall Street — by 10:30 the stock was down $3.05 (0.9%) — and a furious note on Seeking Alpha by Jason Schwarz that began with a bang:

“Today we have a perfect example of why Steve Jobs hates bloggers.”

He goes on to ridicule the “latest rumor” out of the “wild west of a blogosphere” and to characterize Dalrymple and MG Siegler, who posted a similar report on TechCrunch, as “no-name bloggers looking to make a name for themselves.”

Well now. Where to begin?

Let’s stipulate at the outset that we don’t have any inside information about when or even if Apple intends to release the much-rumored iPhone 5.

But we’ve been following Siegler and Dalrymple long enough to recognize that Schwarz doesn’t know a good blogger from a bad one.

Siegler has proved over the years to have excellent Apple sources and Dalrymple, who was the news director at Macworld for nearly a decade, may have even better.

But before we went too far out on a limb, we thought we’d ask Jim how much of his “No iPhone, iPad or Mac hardware coming at WWDC” post was, as Schwarz suggests, speculation based on the wording of the WWDC invitation, and how much came from his Apple sources. His reply:

“This isn’t speculation on my part at all. I have very good sources that have confirmed my Monday post to be true.”

Schwarz, who has written some sensible things in the past about how hedge funds can manipulate Apple’s share price by spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (see Riding the AAPL slingshot), does make a useful contribution to the discussion in his Seeking Alpha piece.

“Apple’s calm price action over the last few days,” he writes, “would indicate that these iPhone 5 rumors did not originate among the hedge funds. If the hedge funds wanted to blast Apple, the stock would be down $20. Although Apple has underperformed the broad market, it was able to withstand the pressure of the iPhone 5 rumor to finish Tuesday in positive territory. $3 to $5 selloffs are typical during this March/April run; anything more than that would have us concerned. Every hedge fund on earth knows that you want to own Apple off the March low; if those guys wanted to spread a false rumor, they would most likely do it when Apple is at a high and ready for a technical correction.”

Good to know.

Also on Fortune.com:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]