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Rumor Roundup: Pre-WWDC jitters

The Rumor Roundup comes early this week in anticipation of Apple's forthcoming WWDC keynote, AKA Christmas in June for Apple geeks, AKA the cue for thousands of idiot pundits to hit "publish" on their pre-drafted "Apple is DOOMED" drivel.

Before I tear into this week's typically dumb rumors, let's do a brief mini-roundup of what's expected at WWDC.

What we will see

iOS 7

A preview of the next version of Apple's mobile device OS is a guarantee. It's widely expected that the user interface and design elements will have received an overhaul after designer Jonathan Ive took over responsibility for them. What exactly that overhaul entails has been the subject of months worth of breathless (and pointless) speculation, including hundreds of mockups from bored graphic designers who probably would have been better off updating their portfolios and résumés instead.

Aside from a new coat of paint, what else can we expect to see in iOS 7? Well... no one outside of Apple really knows. There are lots of guesses, but that's all they really are.

OS X 10.9

The next version of OS X will likely debut at WWDC as well. Even less concrete information is available about the OS update for Macs. A few rumors have suggested the Finder will get an overhaul, but that's been rumored before every major OS X update. About the only thing I can state with confidence is the five-year-old MacBook Pro I'm typing this post on is most likely not going to be able to run 10.9.

New Macs

This is the only hardware bone Apple is likely to toss us at WWDC. Few reliable details are available regarding what's supposedly on offer, but minor updates to the MacBook Pro with Retina Display seem likely, as do faster MacBook Airs. It's anyone's guess whether any of Apple's desktop Macs will get updated or not.

What we may see

iRadio

For years, rumors have persisted that Apple will introduce a streaming music service. Something always seems to happen at the last minute to stop it from launching -- usually the post mortem rests the blame on music labels making crazy demands, which isn't terribly difficult to believe.

iRadio may or may not make an appearance at WWDC. I won't be surprised in either case.

What we won't see

New iPads or iPhones

No credible rumors suggest any possibility that new iOS hardware will debut alongside the software preview. You can expect many, many writers to claim their "disappointment" in WWDC anyway for this very reason. Collate a list of any writers who do so, because they are hacks and not worthy of your further attention.

iWatch

Not a chance.

Apple HDTV

No. Sorry, Mr. Munster.

Now, on with the show.

Back panel claimed to be for Apple's low-cost iPhone shows curved design, Lightning port (AppleInsider)

This was hilarious. "Leaked" shots from China supposedly depicted the long-rumored low-cost iPhone. Small problem: extremely basic photographic analysis later showed it was an iPhone 5 in a case. Thanks for playing, rumor blogs. We have some nice parting gifts for you (not really).

Cheaper iPhone could, paradoxically, increase Apple's margins (9to5 Mac)

Some analyst plays fast and loose with mathematics (or with economics, which is almost the same thing except somebody eventually ends up losing their house). This analyst decided that a cheap iPhone would make Apple tons of money, because lots of people would buy it. Which is somehow different from the current situation, where tons of people are buying significantly more expensive iPhones that already exist rather than some mythical lower-cost model.

Someone actually pays analysts to write this stuff. If you were dropped on your head as a child -- repeatedly -- then maybe you should send your résumé in to Topeka Capital Markets or Morgan Stanley or any of these other firms hiring people to say whatever comes off the top of their head when it comes to Apple.

Supposed Apple 'iPhone 5S' components again hint at new gold color option (AppleInsider)

More photos of a SIM tray "leaked," which means it's time to overanalyze them to death yet again. AppleInsider takes the lead this time, suggesting that the iPhone 5S will have gold, silver, and bronze options. Someone's aiming for a platinum medal in "standup philosophy."

Leaked SKUs likely point to MacBook refresh at WWDC as inventory tightens (9to5 Mac)

9to5 Mac usually gets these leaked SKUs soon before an Apple event, and although there have been some misses in past years, more often than not they turn out to be correct.

Image of 'Flat' Redesign From Early iOS 7 Build Reportedly Leaks (MacRumors)

This supposed "spy shot" of iOS 7 is one of the worst blurrycam fakes I've ever seen. Seriously, the icons don't even line up properly with the edge of the phone's screen. Worst Photoshop ever.

Apple reportedly shifting iAd focus away from apps to rumored 'iRadio' (AppleInsider)

If this is true, and iRadio is infested with advertising, it's one more reason I'll never use it. (Other reasons include limited bandwidth capacity in my home country and stubbornly clinging to the delusion that I "own" the music I pay for.)

iPad Mini Update to Trail Next Full-Size iPad Launch by Several Months? (MacRumors)

"A new report from Digitimes claims" -- BZZT. Note that this new report more than likely contradicts seven previous Digitimes reports claiming that the Retina Display iPad mini would launch in January, February, March, April, May, June, or July.

This is what iOS 7 looks like (BGR)

That's a bold headline, BGR. What's your proof? Oh, you're using the just-released WWDC app and claiming its UI is going to be the system-wide UI for iOS 7. That's... an interesting claim. Especialy since the side-by-side shots show last year's WWDC app, and iOS 6's UI wasn't overhauled to match that.

Homework assignment, BGR: Google the Latin term "non sequitur" and write its definition on a blackboard 1000 times.

Today's amusing analyst rumors ... the iRing is back, and Apple going patent-crazy over iOS 7 (9to5 Mac)

9to5 Mac takes a respite from straight reporting of analyst rumors and decides to go a different route: reporting two analyst rumors and promptly poking fun at them. I wonder where they got their inspiration for that tactic.

Apple's developer portal begins displaying square app icons days before iOS 7 unveiling (AppleInsider)

True story: the morning after this story hit, I woke up to a Twitter timeline chock full of people making fun of it, and these were people who actually know what they're talking about when it comes to iOS development. Long story short: no, iOS 7 app icons won't be squares.

WWDC 2013: Expectations said to be low, big Apple news coming this fall (BGR)

Some analyst read the same dumb rumors as the rest of us and decided to essentially reblog them. And BGR reblogged him. And now here we are... BREAKING EXCLUSIVE

Russian newspaper claims Apple has applied for 'iWatch' trademark in the country (9to5 Mac)

A Russian newspaper could report that the sun is hot, and I'd feel compelled to seek a second opinion on the matter.

Report claims Apple's iRadio will include both audio ads and traditional iAds (9to5 Mac)

Apparently iRadio will be ads piled on top of ads. It's ads all the way down. Gee, this service is sounding more and more attractive all the time, isn't it?

Apple Planning 'Something Really Different' for New Mac Pro (MacRumors)

You know what would be really different? Actually updating the damned thing. Seriously, Apple.

MacBook Air refresh looks set for WWDC, potentially with faster Wi-Fi (9to5 Mac)

More rumors from "a source" suggest the MacBook Air is due for an imminent update. Nothing was mentioned about Retina Displays; if the MacBook Air refresh doesn't have them, expect blogs to erupt with a crazy bout of nerd rage soon afterward.

Case Maker Bets on Unlikely iPad 5 Launch at WWDC (MacRumors)

"Hey, marketing intern! How can we get some free advertising? ...Great idea! And you say the only downside is we'll look like complete toolbags, eh? Get on it!"

OS X 10.9 Build Number Suggests Extensive Internal Development (MacRumors)

Apple apparently tests its OS releases internally before releasing beta builds to developers. More on this late-breaking story as it develops.

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