Rumor Roundup, Episode 13: Surfing the Web in the bathroom
This week was pretty typical for the world of Apple rumors. The various sources gave us plenty of sauce on the next iPhone, the iPad mini, and a bunch of other stuff that ranged from mildly plausible to laugh out loud ridiculous.
Geekbench benchmarks have shown up for an unreleased 13-inch MacBook Pro, fuelling speculation that an update is imminent. Given that the 13-incher already got a decidedly modest update at WWDC, that speculation naturally turns to this model having a Retina Display like its bigger brother.
Benchmarks on unreleased Apple products seem to regularly find their way onto Geekbench for some reason, and they almost always turn out to be proven correct; in fact, I can't think of a single time they weren't.
Sources allegedly from within Apple's retail outlets claim the stores will be doing an "overnight" on July 24, which could point to a July 25 launch for Mountain Lion, the next iteration of OS X. While these overnights can happen for just about any reason and aren't necessarily indicative of, well, anything, this also isn't the first time July 25 has been touted as the launch date for Mountain Lion.
Lion launched the day after Apple's Q3 2011 financial statements were released, and with the earnings announcement taking place July 24, many expect Apple to establish a pattern this year. The Mountain Lion gold master has already been released to developers, so the public release can't be terribly far off.
A Chinese site has posted photos of what's supposedly the next-gen iPhone's front glass. It looks pretty much identical to every other leak out there. Either that means it's genuine, or the design has reached meme status and all the fakers are copying one another. Speaking of which...
Alleged Photos Of The iPhone 5 Leak Out Of Asia (Cult of Mac)
Come for the sensational headline, stay for what are clearly not pictures of the iPhone 5. "Sources in the Far East" produced photos of what looks like an overenthusiastic sculptor's mockup of a next-gen iPhone rather than a finished product. Allegedly this is engineering mockup for the purposes of making cases or other accessories, but it could just as easily be some guy with too much time on his hands who decided to use modelling clay instead of Photoshop.
Hang on, it gets worse.
Exclusive: iPhone 5 Engineering Sample Photos Direct from China (GottaBe Mobile)
A site no one ever heard of before this week has EXCLUSIVE (!!!) photos straight from the factory floor in China... of a metal block. It's vaguely shaped like an iPhone with some incised metalwork adding to the illusion, but otherwise it's just a small metal block. It could have come from anywhere.
Exclusive: New iPad Mini Engineering Sample Photos (GottaBe Mobile)
But wait, there's more! The same site no one heard of before this week has another EXCLUSIVE (!!!!!!) about the iPad mini. This time it's a plastic resin mockup that follows the memetastic design that every rumor blog has been pushing since August of 2010. Just like the big metal block iPhone 5 before it, this mockup could have come from just about anywhere on Earth. It could have come from my recycling bin. You never know.
Think iOS, which you're 99.999 percent likely to have never heard of before just now, claims to have engineering blueprints of the iPad mini sourced from "anonymous sources in China." Said drawings don't reveal terribly much except for the fact that at least one person in China's billion-plus population knows how to use Adobe Illustrator.
As Tablet Race Heats Up, Apple May Try Smaller Device (New York Times)
Now the New York Times has thrown its hat into the iPad mini ring. To some people this might make the device somehow realer than hearing about it at, say, Cult of Mac, but the paper doesn't bring anything new to the table. "Several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans" didn't say anything we haven't heard from countless other "sources."
The story is at least good for an amusing anecdote about Steve Jobs saying smaller tablets weren't good for much "besides surfing the Web in the bathroom." That pretty much seals the iPad mini's fate for me; even if Apple ever releases one, I've already got an iPhone that's perfectly capable of keeping me entertained while I'm on the throne.
Macotakara's track record isn't quite as bad as DigiTimes, but it's bad enough that taking everything the site says seriously is a seriously bad idea. A story about the iPhone 5 starting production for a fall launch is innocuous enough simply because it'd be hard to be wrong, but the site's bold claim about a redesigned iPod nano is tougher to swallow simply because it's the sole source for the story. No one else has said a word about this supposed new design.
I hope Macotakara is right about the redesign, because I've never been a fan of the current iPod nano's form factor. However, this story has the whiff of something that's just not going to happen, another miss among many others that rumor sites will conveniently ignore in favor of the few things they got right.
DigiTimes Wall of Shame
For some reason, this past week was blessedly light on B.S. rumors from DigiTimes. Rather than the explosion of the week prior, only one DigiTimes rumor struggled from its leathery egg sac into the harsh light of breathless reposting.
The site claims a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display will debut before October. Unfortunately the site is probably correct, and its stalwart defenders will doubtless point out the one thing it got right while ignoring the 99 other things it got wrong. DigiTimes probably hit pay dirt this time -- not because it has any inside information (it doesn't), but because after throwing enough darts at the board even a blind person will eventually hit the bullseye.
Sites on the DigiTimes Wall of Shame this week: MacRumors, BGR, and AppleInsider, who all latched onto this "report" like it was sourced from 1 Infinite Loop itself.
The derp, it burns
The week just wouldn't be complete without outlandish, poorly-thought-out, and often mutually contradictory nonsense.
Apple Maps for Macs? iOS Code Hints at That (Technically Personal)
A New Zealand-based developer claimed to find evidence of Apple Maps running on OS X. He found out that graphical features of Apple's Maps apps were disabled for older integrated Intel GPUs -- the same weak-sauce GPUs preventing certain models of Macs from upgrading to Mountain Lion.
But the kicker here? He found this code snippet in the XML file for the iPhone simulator. That sound you just heard was 1000 iOS developers all going *facepalm* at the same time. All this code really does is ensure the iOS Maps app renders properly in the iPhone simulator on a Mac. It doesn't point to Apple Maps for OS X; I mean, other than creating a web app in iCloud, how would that even work? Nearly everyone else is on the Google Maps bandwagon.
Some analyst has left the sanity ballpark early to beat the traffic and is calling for Apple to post a big miss for its fourth fiscal quarter -- before results for the third quarter are even out. This analyst's only evidence (if you can even call it that) is the fact that everyone suspects the next iPhone won't be out until Apple's Q1 financial quarter, meaning lots of people will hold off on purchasing one.
The thing is, if everyone is already expecting this consumer behaviour -- Apple included -- then how on Earth can Apple post a "miss" for the fourth quarter before it's even released its next quarter guidance? That's like you telling me I'm going to be an hour late to your party before you even tell me what time the party is.
Apple seen selling up to 6 million 'iPad minis' this holiday (AppleInsider)
Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray is well-known for chasing the Apple HDTV dragon, but he's also well-known for a formula: take (x) number, multiply it by a million, then tack it onto Apple product (y) during financial quarter (z). It apparently doesn't matter if the product is even confirmed to exist or not; Munster will happily pull numbers out of thin air regardless.
It sure seems like anyone can be an analyst, doesn't it? Here, let me try: Apple will sell 174 octillion atoms before the end of this financial quarter. That was easy! Piper Jaffray, I assume my check is in the mail.
This has got to be my favorite rumor in months for no other reason than it's so rare to see them disproven so quickly. Some iOS hacker claimed the third beta of iOS 6 would be released on July 9, and BGR was quick on the trigger to tell the whole wide world.
It's July 16 as I write this, and iOS 6 beta 3 is nowhere to be found.
I'm sure BGR has learned a valuable lesson and will never again post a poorly sourced ru- HAHAHAHA... sorry, I couldn't finish that sentence without typing laughter.
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