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Rumor Roundup: You don't know jack

Apple now has two sapphire plants for the upcoming iPhone 6 (BGR)

The source for this is, of course, some analyst. And the original article -- or at least as much of it as I was able to read before an irritating paywall nag window got in my way -- didn't mention the iPhone 6 at all.

WSJ: Apple planning multiple iWatch models with as many as 10 health-related sensors (9to5 Mac)

Sounds juicy as hell! Except the WSJ hasn't published an accurate Apple rumor in longer than I can remember. I'm particularly partial to John Gruber of Daring Fireball's take on this non-news:

"It sounds to me like all of this information comes from the supply chain and manufacturing sources. None of these sources told the Journal anything that these devices actually, you know, do, other than 'track health and fitness'. This is all really vague, other than the 'multiple sizes' thing. Then the whole thing devolves into made-up speculation from 'analysts'."

A story sourced from supply chain rumors, with vague claims, that degenerates into a chorus of analyst wanking? So in other words, it's a prototypical Apple rumor.

Also, you've got to love how absolutely every new Apple product rumored to come out this year is supposedly coming out in multiple sizes. The media's continued porn fantasy that Apple will someday magically start acting like Samsung is as amusing as it is mystifying.

Hit the road, jack: Why Apple may say goodbye to the headphone plug (Macworld)

Macworld is usually way smarter than this. Not this time. Apparently, we're meant to think Apple may be on the verge of ditching the standard, ubiquitous headphone jack in favor of a Lighting-driven replacement.

While this article does a decent job of enumerating the advantages Lighting connections have over the standard headphone jack, it does an equally poor job of addressing the fact that, warts and all, the current headphone jack form factor is an industry standard that we're pretty much stuck with for the time being. Apple could easily get away with opening up the Lightning jack to headphone makers for all the reasons outlined in this article, but it could only do so as an alternative to the standard headphone jack at first, not as an outright replacement. Apple could even use the headphone company it just bought as a proof of concept platform for the new connector -- "See, look how much better this is" -- and maybe convince other manufacturers to get on board.

But even if Apple did position the Lightning connector this way, there's still a small problem: all the millions upon millions of devices that aren't made by Apple. Headphone manufacturers aren't going to make two versions of their product: one for Apple devices, and one for everyone else. And consumers aren't going to accept an Apple device that only works with a tiny percentage of all the headphones out there.

"But iPhones and iPads don't work with most USB accessories," you say, "and people don't seem to care." Yeah, but iPhones and iPads haven't worked with most USB accessories from day one. They work with standard headphone jacks now, today. There's a difference between not having the capability to use an accessory at all, ever, versus having the capability but taking that away.

Apple said to team up with pro athletes to test iWatch fitness capabilities (9to5 Mac)

I am convinced that if the iWatch doesn't launch in the fall, it will be because of this leak.

iOS 7.1.2 to Address Mail, Lock Screen, iBeacon Issues in Coming Weeks (MacRumors)

Nothing in this report comes across as very outlandish, and the word "analyst" doesn't appear anywhere, so this one is plausible.

Here are the first photos of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6′s alleged display part (9to5 Mac)

That could just as easily be a piece of colored cardboard with a ribbon cable glued to it. What's wrong, has the mockup well finally run dry?

Foxconn Hiring Record 100,000 New Employees for iPhone 6 Production as Pegatron Also Staffs Up (MacRumors)

Taiwan's Economic Daily News is showing up more and more often on rumor blogs. I'm starting to wonder if Digitimes has rebranded itself...

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