It's different, and the same, every year.
This year, UK evidently is bucking the system and doing whatever they want, and Japan will have to deal with them. The release to musicradar, and then a couple dealers with model pages already online. In no way is this factory authorized. If it was factory authorized it would come through a factory owned distributor.
This year you had the idiots in sweetwater IT dept link several new models, reported and immediately pulled down. Mistakes will always happen when there are humans involved, there was no "intent" with those IMO, just a screwup.
There will always be some that get to see the catalog the reps will give to their top dealers to start the orders flowing [and their commission checks] but of course those come with the caveat that the information is not for public release, but some of the individuals that get a peak at these catalogs are of questionable ethics and could care less what they spill as long as they get their 15 seconds of fame.
Then there's always the hackers that have found access to evidently more than one data source, one prominently coming from a chain in Germany a couple years ago, no doubt still being accessed. This is why I keep all the advance pictures I get on my PC only until it's allowed to be published, 1/24, or, first day of NAMM every year.
I didn't know that something like a 2013 guitar from Ibanez was so secret. If anything, wouldn't it make us (or at least big time Ibanez fans like us) get more interested and more likely to buy one of their guitars? Gibson has their 2013 models out, Les Pauls and SGs put apparently not others, in MF/GC and have bragged about this or that guitar being a "2013" since November of last year, if not sooner. Maybe that's how it should be done.
Some companies, like Apple, brag about their secrecy and form a huge myth only to make TIME magazine covers before their release which is totally what Steve Jobs and Apple had in mind in the first place. Whether a product is good, bad, or just mediocre, having a shroud of secrecy around it does help sales, even if the company "releases" information sooner making the buyer feel like they "discovered" it first. The so-called leaks that first made news concerning Apple are later found out to be marketing but I just pat them on the back for being so clever.
I know "you" probably know all the 2013 models and assume are probably banned from print ads and internet pages on that information until NAMM in a couple of weeks. The UK sites who put up the stuff are pretty well known and must have possibly had to pay a fee to publish the 25 or so models from 2013 we have seen here on Jemsite.
I am not really shocked in what they have in 2013 with different colors and a few changed parts. I do love the use of ebony fretboards on an Artcore and the reintroduction in some markets of now higher end Artstars with ebony. That was fun to see here.