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Rumor Roundup: Non-zero chance

The Wall Street Journal awoke from its long slumber and squeezed out not just one, but two Apple rumors this week. Oblivious to the fact that the Journal hasn't gotten a months-in-advance rumor correct in a very long time, the various rumor blogs were all too willing to re-post the Journal's flimsily-sourced speculation. And thus, the seeds for another "disappointing" year for Apple have been planted.

Apple iPhones to Come Out With Bigger Screens (Wall Street Journal)

Stop me when this starts to sound familiar: Apple will launch two iPhone models later this year, and one of them will have a display bigger than five inches (measured diagonally) in order to stave off competition from the giant "phablet" devices sold by Samsung et al. And at the same time, Apple will ditch the plastic casing of the iPhone 5c in favor of returning to an all-metal lineup (kind of like a late-80s concert).

If this is all invoking a bit of deja vu, it's because this isn't the first time we've heard this particular rumor. John Gruber of Daring Fireball didn't find this rumor particularly credible, and I don't blame him. The Wall Street Journal hasn't been a reputable source of Apple rumors for a long time - unless it's within 48 hours of an Apple event. Apple hasn't announced an event for late January, so I feel pretty safe dismissing their rumormongering this round.

Sources say new Apple TV box likely coming soon, App/Game Store possible (9to5 Mac)

It's unclear from the way this story is written whether 9to5 Mac's sourcing is original or if it's merely re-reporting what iLounge has said. If it's the former, and their own original sources are responsible for bringing this information to light, then this rumor has a very good chance of being true. If it's the latter, and this is all just reblogged from iLounge, that's a different story; iLounge's prediction record is pretty typical in that it had quite a few 100% hits several years ago but has been averaging 50% or less ever since.

Video: iPhone 6 parts purportedly shown in new leak (BGR)

"The larger iPhone is all but confirmed," BGR claims, which by itself is enough to cause cranial explosions in anyone with a shred of logic left inside their skull. But they do go on: "As with any early leaks, there is no telling whether or not this video is legit [...] without any other objects in the video with which to compare the parts, we can't determine whether or not the chassis is larger than that of the current generation of iPhones."

In other words, they have no idea if this is actually a next-gen part or not. JOURNALISM!

Foxconn completes assembly testing for sapphire-covered iPhone - report (AppleInsider; also reblogged by MacRumors)

As reported by an Asian tech publication, corroborated by no other sources whatsoever. I was honestly surprised when the source of this report turned out to be someone other than Digitimes.

Apple Pushes Deeper Into Mobile Payments (Wall Street Journal)

The Journal's second Apple rumor this week revolves around the possibility of Apple introducing a mobile payment system that would let iPhone/iPad users purchase products and services using Apple's solution. Sort of an iTunes Store for physical goods, if this rumor is to be believed. Unfortunately, the Journal's track record with regard to Apple rumors has been terrible over the past few years, with the sole exception of leaks in the hours leading up to Apple events.

The Argument for an 11.88-Inch Retina MacBook Air (MacRumors)

I was all set to dismiss this out of hand, since the source is an analyst, but there's actual math supporting this claim, which makes it moderately more plausible. Note that in this case, "moderately more plausible" means "non-zero chance" rather than "definitely going to happen."

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