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Rumor Roundup: Still doomed after all these years

The days following Apple's earnings announcements are always chockablock with the very worst "analysis" that money can buy. I chose to steer clear of most of it, because there's only so many times I can bang my head against the desk before I start to worry about the desk.

Rumor: Apple lining up suppliers for next-gen 'A8' processor (AppleInsider)

I don't know what's more amazing:

  • That AppleInsider published this Digitimes-sourced rumor without even a passing mention of their terrible accuracy record, or
  • That AppleInsider was the only one who did so. Not even a shout-out from BGR? Amazing.

Apple execs say iOS and OS X won't merge, and 10.10 will prove that (9to5 Mac; reblogged by MacRumors, BGR)

I don't take issue with 9to5 Mac's speculation that OS X 10.10 (TEN... ten... ten...) will take baby steps toward looking slightly more like iOS 7, because it makes perfect sense for a variety of reasons. But MacRumors and BGR both passed on that speculation as though it were established fact, and that's the real issue here. It's a classic example of how the rumor blog echo chamber works: one guy with a decent accuracy record says something or other, and everybody leaps on it as though it came straight from Cupertino.

The iPhone 6 may have a different kind of wireless charging (BGR; also reblogged by 9to5 Mac)

Some analyst thinks the next iPhone will have embedded solar panels that will let people charge their phones by leaving them out in the sun. I have a crazy idea: let's do the math.

I have an iPhone-compatible solar charger that I bought several years ago. Its surface area is roughly three times the available surface area of an iPhone. It has a built-in battery that takes between 8–12 hours to charge on a decently sunny day. Once full, that solar charger's battery was able to charge a fifth-gen iPod's battery (850 mAh) from zero to just about full.

The iPhone 5s has a 1558 mAh battery - nearly double the capacity of my long-gone iPod. Assuming the solar panels in a hypothetical iPhone 6 were about the same efficiency as my solar charger, and assuming further that they have about 1/3 its available surface area, you would have to leave the iPhone in direct sunlight for anywhere between 44 and 66 hours to fully charge the battery.

And where do iPhones spend most of their lives? In people's pockets.

Something tells me this rumor is bogus.

Tim Cook as good as confirms mobile payment via Touch ID on the way (9to5 Mac)

From the department of, "Let's take one sentence Tim Cook said and write a few hundred words of speculative dosh about it." Tim Cook simply said this:

"The mobile payments area in general is one we've been intrigued with. It was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID."

Somehow that "as good as confirms" that Touch ID will enable mobile payments in the future.

There are several hurdles to overcome before this becomes a reality, and the technological issues are the easiest. Getting businesses to partner with Apple to roll out a mobile payment technology is going to make Apple's negotiations with wireless carriers and media conglomerates look like child's play. While mobile payment technology has the potential to be very beneficial to users, more than a few businesses are going to balk at having Apple/iTunes act as an intermediary for their purchases.

Probably just as many businesses will tell Apple, "Sure. We'll go ahead with this. That'll be $100 million, please." To which Apple will almost certainly say, "Yeah, nah."

I'm optimistic that the technology is feasible. I'm far less optimistic that retailers will play along.

The iPhone 5c flop hurt Apple more than you might realize (BGR)

This piece is so vacuous it literally gave me a headache.

"Apple's fiscal first-quarter earnings report was actually pretty good despite the 8% ding to Apple's share price," BGR says.

"Pretty good," eh? What did Apple have to say about its earnings?

"The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $57.6 billion and quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion."

Ouch. The iPhone 5c is absolutely killing Apple.

"The pricing structure between the 5c and 5s was, and now clearly is, a mistake, as more people want the latest and greatest from Apple, not a second-tier phone," BGR says.

So their logic is that since more people bought the more expensive version of the iPhone, this is somehow bad for Apple? They're saying Apple should have sold a heap of cheap iPhones rather than a heap of expensive iPhones?

Is this seriously the idea you're floating, BGR? Is this the first time you've ever heard of Apple? Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me?

"Supply chain management is supposed to be Tim Cook's area of expertise. This large gaffe, of betting on the 5c this much, seems to speak to Cook's failing in this area, at least in the short term," BGR further bloviates. "He did note that the 5s eventually came into proper supply, but that it took Apple much of the quarter to get it right."

Translation: Apple couldn't make enough of the (supply-constrained) iPhone 5s to satisfy demand, because more people wanted the more expensive version with the new features. The "obvious" solution to this problem was to make the iPhone 5c way cheaper and take a huge hit on its margins to make up for this shortfall in production of the version of the iPhone that people actually wanted to buy.

Wait, what?

"Apple looks like it will overcome this mistake, and learn that pricing an inferior product so close to a superior one doesn't make much sense, even if you put an Apple logo on the back of it."

[citation needed]

Apple aggressively pushing to take Arizona sapphire plant live in February for 'critical' product component (9to5 Mac)

Here's my hope for this plant: Apple uses it to build and produce all design/production prototypes in a highly secure facility that's under its direct control, rather than some far-flung factory in China, and thereby puts an end to years of product leaks. It would be nice to be genuinely surprised by what's unveiled at an Apple keynote for a change.

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