Rumour Mill

Macworld Australia Staff
14 February, 2014
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Good mornin’ y’all. It’s the end of the week and that, of course, means it’s time to round up the best or most outlandish rumours of the week.

And with the legendary, lovely* Dolly Parton gracing our shores this week, with her good ol’ girl charm, sincerity and darn tootin’ professionalism – not to say sweet, sweet voice – this week’s rumours are being brought to you courtesy of the “most honoured female country performer of all time” (thank you, Wikipedia..)

Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That?

And let’s start with our favourite source of red hot rumours – the iPhone 6. What is the world saying about the little phone that might this week? Bezel-free. That’s what they reckon. Yep, frameless phones, which to be fair has been the look on many of the mock-ups seen so far. MacRumors refers to a report from The Korea Herald, which mainly discusses Samsung’s next phone (expected to be dubbed the Galaxy S5), but did touch on Apple too, which it claimed was “working on a similar prototype with bezel-free display and fingerprint sensor”.


iPhone 6 concept from The Korea Herald.


AppleInsider picked up on the Korea Herald report too, and added its own mock-up, placing a current and possible future iPhone alongside a couple of Galaxy phones for ease of comparison. Clearly AppleInsider and Marco Arment were less convinced/interested in the bezel-free report and more interested in size rumours and…


iPhone Plus

iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, iPhone Plus mockup, Galaxy Note II (image by Marco Arment).

More Where that Came From

… this. The other circulating rumour about the 8th generation iPhone concerns Sony, with reports that the Japanese tech giant is in talks with Apple about supplying front-facing FaceTime camera modules, as well as rear iSight camera components.

MacRumors is running with this one too. Referencing Japanese business site, Nikkei, MacRumors says, “Apple and Sony are in negotiations that would double Sony’s shipments to the Cupertino company in 2015.”

CMOS sensor sales are a key part of Sony's strategy (courtesy of Nikkei Asian Review).

“The Japanese firm already supplies nearly all of the CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors for the current iPhone models’ rear-mounted main cameras. Apple is likely looking to switch to Sony sensors for the secondary camera on the screen side, used for taking self-portraits,” reports Nikkei.

“The American smartphone maker apparently uses parts from suppliers in the US and elsewhere for the front camera. With more customers expected to use smartphones for video calls, it sounded out Sony, which is known for its high-definition technology, about a larger sensor supply.”

Starting Over Again

Are you ready for a shocker? Well, OK, a mildly interesting titbit… reports are suggesting that the sapphire glass everyone has been getting so excited about will be used in the iWatch, rather than the iPhone – at least to begin with. And it’s our two favourite fonts of all utterly unsubstantiated blather wisdom of the week – MacRumors and AppleInsider – who we have to thank for this suggestion. MacRumors says, “Earlier reports suggested the sapphire is likely for the next-generation iPhone, but G 4 Games points to new reports from Asian supply chain sources speaking to MyDrivers [Google Translate] and PCPOP [Google Translate] claiming the iWatch will be the first Apple device to be equipped with the scratch-resistant material.”

So let’s just reiterate… a totally unconfirmed product will feature in a completely unannounced product instead of another entirely hypothetical piece of tech. Is that about the measure of it?

OK, just wanted to be sure.


It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right

File under ‘whoa, hold up a moment there…’

This very morning, MacRumors is still harping on about the sapphire screen, but now it’s all about the iPhone 6 again. Oh stop, stop, our heads are getting dizzy. It’s back to the idea that Apple will be releasing two versions of the iPhone “featuring 4.7 and 5.5in sapphire screens in September, reports the South China Morning Post“.

Goodness, we can’t keep up, this is seriously giving us palpitations and sweaty palms. If only there was an app we could consult…


Slow Jolene Surfaces Dolly Parton’s Sultry Side

Here You Come Again

That smouldering fire of rumours regarding health applications for Apple’s possible smartwatch had a few logs tossed gaily onto it this week. And for this we can doff our caps to MacRumors yet again. Goodness – you’re really on fire this week, aren’t you boys? (See what we did there… no, no, don’t look too hard, it’s really not worth it honestly.)

Back on track… The website’s forums had some concept images posted to them that “vaguely” resembles the Healthbook app that “may be” included with iOS 8. ‘Vaguely’, ‘may be’… you’re really not selling on this one, fellas.

What does 9to5Mac say? After all, it was the site that originally shared the Healthbook rumours. Way back in January, in fact. Well, it’s republishing the mock-ups from Behance and accepting (perhaps a little grudgingly?)  that the pics “follow some of the details presented in our original article”.

Sorry, 9to5Mac, can you remind us? What did you say originally? “Delighted to oblige, Rumour Mill.”**

“The ‘Healthbook’ application is said to take multiple user interface cues from Apple’s own Passbook app, which is software for storing loyalty cards, coupons, and other materials normally stored in physical wallets. The new health and fitness application’s interface is a stack of cards that can be easily swiped between. Each card represents a different fitness or health data point. The prototype logo for ‘Healthbook’ is similar to Passbook’s icon, but it is adorned with graphics representing vital signs.”

Is a stack of cards’ ‘Is adorned with graphics’… hmmm, bit more definite than your ‘vaguely’ and ‘may be’, isn’t it?


Mock-ups from Carlos Quijano posted on Behance.

The Right Combination

And if it’s not iPhone 6 or iWatch getting the rumour wranglers all in a tizzy, it has to be something TV related. If not the long dreamed of Apple TV, then at the very least the set-top box.

Bloomberg reckons that a new Apple TV set-top box will debut in April, though it won’t be available to buy for months. Right, a bit like the Mac Pro then?  Bloomberg also reports that Apple is deep in powwow land with Time Warner Cable Inc and “other potential partners to add video content, according to people with knowledge of the matter”.

There is no word yet as to how negotiations would be affected by the news late on Thursday that Time Warner Cable may be just about to be swallowed whole by Comcast for over US$45 billion.

Apple TV

“The new device, which plugs into a television set, will have a faster processor than the previous version and an upgraded interface to make it easier for customers to navigate between TV shows, movies and other online content, one person said.”

We love that ‘one person’. Are they like the ‘close friends’ who tell the supermarket rack magazines exactly what Angelina Jolie thinks of Brad Pitt’s latest hairstyle? Bloomberg explains the release strategy thus: “Apple is aiming to unveil the device by April and have it available for sale by the Christmas holidays, though the release date could change because the company is still in the process of securing new agreements with programming and distribution partners, said two people.”

Two people this time! Must be true then. That’s like a ‘dear friend’ and a ‘source close to Julia Roberts’ in one hit.

Bloomberg did ask some real life actual named people for confirmation, but got zippo. “Tom Neumayr, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment, as did Maureen Huff, a spokeswoman for New York-based Time Warner Cable.” Bit of a damp squib you’ve got there then really Bloomberg…

AppleInsider was happy to take the report at face value though, saying, “Whispers of an Apple-Time Warner deal first surfaced last spring, with reports that Time Warner was looking to deliver live and on-demand programming through the box. Such an agreement would mark a departure from previous rumours that had Apple negotiating directly with networks like ESPN and HBO in a bid to bypass cable companies,” before adding, “a months-long wait between the unveiling of a new Apple TV in April and a launch in time for the 2014 holiday season may sound suspect, but Apple had a five-month lead time between the announcement of the first iPhone and its launch in June of 2007. The wait time between the unveiling and launch of the first iPad, which runs a scaled-up version of the iPhone operating system, was considerably shorter, at just over two months.”

The Last Thing on My Mind

You big tease, Jim.

Saving the best until last, our favourite rumour this week comes from Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money on the US TV channel, CNBC, and shared by MacDailyNews. Hold on, this is going to be a biggie. We can feel it in our waters.

“Apple’s move to buy US$14 billion worth of its own stock not only got activist investor Carl Icahn off the company’s back, the measure also signalled confidence in a big new product,” said Cramer on the Squawk Box.

Oooh, big new product! Tell us more, Jim!

“‘This is going to be [Apple CEO] Tim Cook’s chance to show, ‘Look people, you wrote us off as a growth stock. We have growth again.”

So true, Jim. But really, don’t leave us hanging. What is it??

“A company wouldn’t invest $14 billion into itself if it didn’t have a big product lined up.”

Oh, come on Jim! You’re killing us here. We know you’ve got something massive to impart. WHAT IS IT??

“And you wouldn’t do that. You wouldn’t spend $14 billion unless you’ve got something in the pipe that could dazzle.’”

Whaaaat? Is that it? Something that ‘could dazzle’? ‘Something’? ‘Could’?


Hear that whistling sound? That’s the Rumour Mill deflating into a sorry piece of flat rubber beneath the desk…

And that’s the Rumour Mill for the week ending 14 February 2014. And remember in the name of Her Dollyness and, considering the date, romantics everywhere, ‘I Will Always Love You’***


*Apologies to Noel Coward, who of course first used this phrase to describe Marlene Dietrich.

** 9to5Mac didn’t really say this, but we’re sure they would have… if we’d asked.

*** Well, obviously not really. We’ve never even met.


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