Rumor Roundup: A drop of logic in an ocean of nonsense
This week's rumors brought us more of the usual: iPhone component leaks, predictions of a supposedly forthcoming iPad mini without a shred of reputable evidence to support them, and more analyst fever dreams of an Apple HDTV.
Yet another parts reseller got its hands on the next-gen iPhone's front faceplate and rushed to post pics. So many outlets have done this already that it barely qualifies as news anymore. At this point, I'm pretty sure that if I asked them, my next-door neighbors would probably have one of these parts in their shed.
Loose-lipped executives at two Korean mobile carriers say they've been negotiating with Apple over LTE support in the next-gen iPhone. If it's true that these execs have blabbed about unreleased Apple products, something tells me there'll be some very uncomfortable tension the next time they all sit at the negotiation table.
From Germany we discover that Shell says it can't deliver iPod nanos to its rewards club customers "due to an upcoming re-introduction of this device from Apple." Well stop the presses. Despite no evidence of nano shortages anywhere else on the planet, this sales letter from a rewards club in Germany is obvious proof the iPod nano is getting refreshed in September.
In possibly related news, my local library's last copy of Canterbury Tales was checked out, so I expect Chaucer to complete it any day now. FINALLY.
TNW does a lengthy analysis of Apple's recent negotiations with AuthenTec, a company that develops fingerprint scanners and other technologies. Apparently Apple was so intent on getting this company's technology that it just outright bought AuthenTec for over $350 million.
"Will we see fingerprint technology in the new iPhone (or iPad)?" TNW asks. "It seems almost certain." No, not certain at all. Apple pivots quickly, but not that quickly. If Apple's really supposed to push out the next iPhone in September, it's not going to incorporate a fingerprint scanner that AuthenTec only introduced this May. None of the parts leaks so far support the idea that the next iPhone will have a fingerprint scanner on it, unless it's somehow built into one of the cameras.
"Reports from the Far East" indicate forthcoming Apple devices' displays may be coated with indium tin oxide (ITO). That "reports from the Far East" bit sounded rather suspiciously familiar to me, so I decided to do a Google search for "ITO iPad."
Sure enough, 30 seconds later I found the actual source of these "reports from the Far East" -- "sometimes reliable" DigiTimes.
Nice try, AppleInsider.
iPad mini will look like a large iPod touch with smaller side bezels [Gallery] (9to5 Mac, many others)
This week's recipe for iPad mini rumors:
- 1 cup easily faked and uncorroborated parts leak
- 2 cups "tips from sources we have reason to believe have knowledge of Apple's plans"
- 5 gallons speculation sauce
Mix until your arm falls asleep. Bake at 7" for two years. Baste once every three months with "reports from the Far East."
Schematics released in July supposedly showed what the iPad mini might look like. I remember saying they looked like anyone with basic competency in Adobe Illustrator could have thrown them together in 15 minutes, but because these drawings matched up with this week's speculation thunderstorm, 9to5 Mac hauled them back out for an encore.
"These iPad mini drawings, originally posted at ThinkiOS, were initially sketchy looking to us," 9to5 Mac says. They had reason to be skeptical, because the schematics claimed the screen had a 7-inch diagonal measurement despite every other "source" on this entirely mythical device claiming it's 7.85 inches instead.
So if these schematics now appear to be real, does this mean the iPad mini will have a 7-inch screen after all? Do we have to throw the past six months of rumors and that extra 0.85 inches out the window now?
Two sets of dock connector/headphone jack assemblies leaked this week, and since one of them isn't for the iPhone or the iPad, it must be for the iPad mini.
Um, guys? You do realize Apple makes an iOS device that's neither an iPhone nor an iPad, right? One that's a very similar size to the iPhone, uses mostly the same internal parts, and has its headphone jack on the bottom? An iPhone without the phone? It's like an iPod, except with a touchscreen? Remember?
Apple's New Front in the Battle for TV (Wall Street Journal)
Oh great, here we go again with another Apple HDTV rumor sourced from "people familiar with the matter" -- wait. What's this?
"Apple Inc. is in talks with some of the biggest U.S. cable operators about letting consumers use an Apple device as a set-top box for live television and other content." (emphasis added)
Do a search for "set-top box" in that article. You'll find seven instances. The only reference to an Apple television was made in passing: "Two people briefed on the matter said the technology involved could ultimately be embedded in a television." Sure it could be, but according to former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, "As for a full-fledged 50" TV set...I don't think so. The computer inside would be obsolete well before the display goes dim. This seems to favor a separate Apple TV box."
At long last, we're getting some logical-sounding analysis on this matter. An Apple HDTV has never made sense to me for a multitude of reasons, but an enhanced version of the existing little box makes perfect sense. The WSJ followed up with a second report that said that's exactly what's in the cards: an Apple TV with a built-in DVR and full on-demand video.
Even the currently shipping Apple TV could act as a "set-top box" of sorts -- but only if Apple and the cable companies could agree to a setup where these companies offered their content over IP via channels/apps that users could subscribe to individually. Since that would be the first step in exposing the cable companies for the "dumb pipes" they really are, that kind of thing won't happen any time soon.
Still, how refreshing it is to see a publication as mainstream as the Wall Street Journal crush the hopes and dreams of Apple HDTV stalwarts once and for all. Surely this is the last time we'll have to hear of this perpetually nonsensical device...
Immediately after the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple's ambitions for the living room have aligned around a set-top box and not an HDTV, analyst Peter Misek claimed that the "iTV" is in "full production" already, and will launch either later this year or early next.
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