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Rumor Roundup: Opinions are like *censored*

There was a grand total of one rumor this week. And here it is, in all its "glory":

Apple reportedly testing 12.9-inch iPad with 2K and 4K resolution (BGR)

"This is an unconfirmed rumor so far," BGR helpfully points out. Hey, guys? There's no other kind of rumor. Once a rumor is confirmed, it stops being a rumor. And by the way, I'm talking about actual confirmation from reputable sources, not some analyst saying the same thing as some other analyst. Lower-case "confirmed" and not upper-case, BGR-style "CONFIRMED," in other words.

As for the claim itself? It's from some Chinese publication I've never heard of before today. Always a sign of reputable news.

Now, just because there was only one rumor this week doesn't mean people didn't have plenty of dumb things to say about Apple. It's just that this week they were clearly marked as "opinion" rather than marketed as fact. I suppose that's a step in the right direction... only about 999,998 more steps to go.

Opinion: Will Apple return to a single MacBook range next year? (9to5 Mac)

In a word: No. But here are some more words.

"The split between the Air and Pro ranges made sense for a whole bunch of reasons up to now," writes 9to5 Mac. Well, yes. And it still does. The MacBook Air is ultraportable at the expense of pure processing grunt. The MacBook Pro is still pretty damned portable, but it gives up a little of that portability in exchange for a desktop-class computing experience. But please, do go on and explain why that dichotomy no longer makes sense.

"I am arguing that the difference between them today is quantitative rather than qualitative. For the vast majority of customers, even professional users, there's little you can do on a MBP that you can't do on a MBA."

Here's the same argument applied to the iPad line: The iPad mini and iPad Air are absolutely identical in every way except for screen size. So that must mean there will only be one iPad in 2014, right...? Do you see how dumb this argument sounds now?

"Put a Retina display into a MacBook Air, and use the wedge approach to slim down that MacBook Pro, and do you really have two distinct ranges?"

Yes. Despite superficial, familial similarities on the exterior, a 13-inch MacBook Air is a distinctly different machine from a 13-inch MacBook Pro. To say nothing of the 15-inch model. More ports, more room for thermal dissipation (and therefore more powerful processors), better graphics cards, bigger batteries to power all this stuff. If anything, the differences are even more marked than the difference between an iPad mini and an iPad Air.

"I'm confident there will be a single MacBook range by 2015." I'm confident you don't know what you're talking about.

iPhone 5c is a flop? According to one report, it's just what Apple needed (BGR)

Some analyst says 50 percent of iPhone 5c sales were generated from people defecting from Android smartphones. This is an intriguing claim to make, considering that Apple doesn't break out its iPhone sales by model. I'm totally guessing, but I'll bet a shiny dollar that this analysis firm got its data by polling customers rather than from any actual sales data.

Of course, BGR couldn't resist putting "iPhone 5c" and "flop" in the same sentence, because that's the drum it's been beating all along: Apple's not-so-cheap "cheap" iPhone is a market failure, somehow, even though we don't know how many have been sold, because reasons.

Opinion: Is Apple headed toward eventual convergence of OS X and iOS? (9to5 Mac)

Here's another opinion piece from 9to5 Mac that can easily be answered with a single word: no.

"Think back to 2006," the author suggests. Mmkay. I was living in Cleveland (*shudder*), in my final year at Kent State University. I'd been married for a year to a woman I eventually came to hate more than anyone I've ever known, and -- oh, wait. We're taking a trip down tech memory lane.

"Will it continue to make sense for Apple to have two different platforms for Macs and iDevices, or will they eventually merge into a single operating system for all device types?"

It seems like at least once every six months someone drags this dead horse out of the abattoir and gives it another whack. Here's the simple breakdown: Macs running OS X can do things that iPhones and iPads running iOS can't. That fact matters to an increasingly smaller segment of the market, but it remains a fact nonetheless. And as long as Apple needs people to develop apps for iOS, there will always be a market for Macs running an operating system that offers more functionality than iOS ever will.

"The company formerly known as Apple Computer, Inc, is no longer a computer company: it's a phone and tablet company that also makes computers. It's no coincidence that it changed its name to Apple, Inc, in the year that the iPhone was launched." This observation didn't qualify as pithy in 2007, and it seems downright obtuse in 2013. By the way - (lowers voice to a hushed whisper) - iPhones and iPads are computers.

"Of course, the post-PC era doesn't mean that Macs are doomed." Inexplicably, this sentence comes in the middle of this piece. It goes on (and on) for another 14 paragraphs.

"We have to accept that there will be at least some iOS-ification of OS X." Someone has apparently been in a coma for the past few years, because there's already been enough "iOS-ification" of OS X that variations on this exact article have been published thousands of times already.

"The worry, of course, is that OS X gets dumber with every release, that Macs become less and less capable as they are pitched more and more towards consumption rather than creation." Mavericks sure seems a lot "smarter" than Mountain Lion did, and Mountain Lion was a hell of a lot better than Lion. As for Macs being "more towards consumption rather than creation," let's not forget that iWork and iLife apps are free with any new Mac purchase. That seems like a pretty clear message from Apple: "Macs are made for making great stuff. Go do it."

"How far do I think it will go? I certainly don't think we'll end up with a single platform anytime soon. I hesitate to say 'if ever,' as ever is a pretty long time. I also don't think those of us who love our Macs need panic." Bozhe moi, what was the point of this article then? I don't think I've ever seen someone so efficiently torpedo their own argument before. *slow clap*

Forbes says Apple is fading fast and Microsoft will overtake it in 3 years -- here's our take (BGR)

"At some point, be it sometime in the next few years or sometime in the next few decades, Apple will no longer be on top. It is inevitable. The question countless industry watchers try to answer, of course, is when." On a long enough timeline, Apple is DOOMED.

"If you look at the numbers, the Windows Phone is the fastest growing smartphone platform," claims some guy from Forbes. That's true, but meaningless with sales numbers as low as Microsoft's. They could sell a million phones one quarter and two million the next, then claim their sales doubled. Meanwhile, Apple chuckles and sells 35 million iPhones in three months.

"The numbers don't lie, but they also don't tell the whole story," BGR says. They certainly don't. For one thing, Microsoft doesn't have even a whiff of a clue what it's doing in the smartphone market. "The issue has always been a lack of execution and compelling differentiation," according to BGR, and that's been true of Microsoft pretty much ever since Ballmer took over as CEO. Since then, Microsoft has been the anti-Apple, squeaking out the occasional hit here and there (Windows XP, Windows 7, Xbox 360) while churning out stinker after stinker the rest of the time (read: pretty much everything else Microsoft ever released under Ballmer).

Microsoft's straits aren't as dire as Apple's were in the mid-90s, but it's still going to take a Jobs-calibre CEO to turn the company into anything better than the monolithic dinosaur it's become over the past decade. As for "overtaking" Apple in three years? I think Microsoft should be overjoyed if, by this time in 2016, it's just managed to hold on to what it has today.



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Rumors Apple

There was a grand total of one rumor this week. And here it is, in all its "glory": Apple reportedly testing 12.9-inch iPad with 2K and 4K...