Rumour Mill

Macworld Australia Staff
28 February, 2014
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Good day to you, Rumour Mongers. It’s Friday and that means it’s another chance to get an overview of what crazy, outlandish or downright plausible Apple rumours have been circulating the interwebs this week.

And as this weekend sees a fairly well-established little prize-giving and back-slapping party over in Apple’s home state of California, today’s Rumour Mill is brought to you by that most venerable of institutions, the Academy Awards. But, as we don’t intend to take up THREE DAYS OF YOUR LIVES, we’ve truncated the number of awards and amalgamated a few… We didn’t think you’d mind. Take it away Ellen…

 

Best performance? The Apple goes to…

Step up to the podium, Mr Cook.

Could it be Business Insider for its article that has already been shot down in flames by both US Macworld‘s the Macalope and Yoni Heisler at TUAW.com? Business Insider‘s premise? That Tim Cook is ‘blowing it’ by not acquiring more companies (like the horned one, we will also decline to give a link to Jay Arrow’s piece). As rumours go though, it’s got to be said, it’s one that simply doesn’t hold water. Apple is buying companies continually.

As Heisler points out succinctly, Apple in 2013… “snatched up more companies last year than any other year in company history”. Just because it doesn’t jump up and down and wave its cheque book in the air, it can hardly be said to be blowing it. So, sorry Mr Yarrow. Sorry Business Insider. No soup for you. The Apple for best performance goes to Mr Cook instead. Say what you like about him not being Steve Jobs (no s**t, Sherlock), but he’s still at the helm of a company that today was announced as the ‘world’s most admired’ for the seventh consecutive year.

Congratulations Tim, sorry no time for speeches….

 

Best visual effects? The Apple goes to…

It has to be said, we’ve all been hanging out for this one since well before even Tom Cruise looked cool using it in Minority Report (and we know we’ve referenced this before, but it keeps striking a chord, what can we say?).

Yes, it’s the return of the in-air hand gesturing control concept.  And so when MacDailyNews relays this from Patently Apple’s Jack Purcher, “Apple notes that the MacBook Pro display lid may include a hidden display that may be connected to a proximity sensor, which could be automatically activated in response to sensing of the presence of an object such as a human hand,”  (our italics naturally) we just can’t help the corners of our mouths curling a little bit in the upwards direction. Oh, come on, it’s cool! Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Who didn’t feel their jaw drop at least a couple of centimetres the first time they were confronted by an Xbox Kinect?

No one? Just us then.

2. Apple patent figure 3

Well, we’re happy to go it alone. We love a patent rumour and the application lodged at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) sounds alluring. Purcher goes on to say, “The application from Apple reveals a number of interesting possible future features for Macs, televisions or even a car dashboard. With the addition of new sensors hidden in Macs, users will be able to control some device functionality with in-air hand gesturing. Apple’s new invention could also provide users with superior lighting for FaceTime videoconferencing and more.”

And so the Apple for best visual effects goes to David Amm, James Dudley and Peter Mahowald, inventors of the snappily titled Patent Application 20140055856. Congratulations fellas. Love your work. 

 

Best Costume? The Apple goes to…

The above mentioned Yoni Heisler has been busy this week. MacDailyNews links to an article he wrote for Network World that has a few thoughts about the much rumoured iWatch. And as with the idea that Tim Cook is blowing it, Heisler is taking a step backwards, using a spot of common sense and suggesting what the forthcoming smartwatch WON’T be able to do.

Despite multiple reports of breakthroughs in glucose monitoring, Heisler reckons those writers are getting a bit ahead of themselves.

Do you think my bottom looks big in this?

“Many news outlets, as a result, have reported that Apple’s rumoured iWatch may be able to non-invasively measure a user’s glucose levels. Such a device would be a godsend for diabetics who often have to monitor their blood glucose levels multiple times a day, either by drawing blood from their finger or through an implanted sensor paired with an external monitoring device.”

“A deeper examination of the issue, however, strongly suggests otherwise,” Heisler writes. “Non-invasive CGM is an incredibly complex problem that presents a number of challenging medical and technological hurdles. Indeed, medical device companies have been trying to solve this problem for decades, with no real success to speak of.”

History tells us that Apple is not the company that goes first to market; it waits until its products are the best they can possibly be and then launches and dwarfs its opposition who may have hurried out their innovations and not really covered all bases.

At the Rumour Mill, we’re pretty sure that if and when Apple does release a smartwatch, it’ll be a pretty impressive device. But at this stage in the game, it’s unlikely to bring about world peace, or even harsher punishments for parole violators (Stan)…

So, for common sense alone, which is always in style, the Apple for best costume design is shared between the fabled iWatch and Mr Yoni Heisler. Well done, both. Don’t leave it in the toilets at the after party…

 

 

Best production design? The Apple goes to…

Anything Tim can do, I could do better...

How many years was Avatar in the making? James Cameron began development in 1994 and the film was released in 2009. Fifteen years, people! When you’re making something that truly rewrites the rules, sometimes you have to take your time. Even wait until new technologies are invented so that you can then take advantage of them. Heck, you may even have to invent those new technologies yourself.

Say what you will about the plot (or lack of it) in Avatar. Say what you will about many of the film’s non-visual elements. But wow, you must admit it looked amazing. A game-changer. And to date it has taken more money at the box office than any other movie. By a long shot.

So validation for the long pre-production process indeed.

From this we slide neatly to the iPhone 6. Of course it’s the iPhone 6. Because it wouldn’t be the Rumour Mill without at least one snippet about the next iteration of the smartphone the others all wish they could be. And today we note a rumour from International Business Times, which reports that the iPhone 6′s release date has reportedly been delayed until the northern hemisphere autumn, because production of the sapphire screen display won’t start until the second half of the year. That’s a delay on a release date that hasn’t been announced of a product that at this point in time is totally imaginary and unofficial.

Whatever. It’s hardly 15 years, is it? We have every faith that that sapphire screen is well worth waiting for. So, without even seeing the blueprints, we announce that the Apple for best production goes to the iPhone 6 (if that’s what it’ll even be called…). Not sure how you’re going to carry it home though, bud.

Best cinematography/location? The Apple goes to…

Yes, we know there’s no ‘best location’ Oscar, but perhaps it’s about time there was. It would at least have given Ben Stiller’s recent Walter Mitty film in with a shot at an award (seriously, those volcanic Iceland scenes were the best thing about it, weren’t they?).

But we’ve merged this little prize purely to present this rumour from ifo Apple Store. And, to be honest, we only really wanted to pass this one on so that we could reproduce this curious graphic…

Yep, we have no idea what that creepy/chirpy giant baby is doing climbing onto the roof of Macy’s either. It certainly doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the rumour at hand.

Which was? Oh, yes, sorry, we were getting a bit distracted there. The story is that despite a promising glass cube appearing in a rendering of the future Bloc development in Los Angeles, that floaty white spherical thing shouldn’t make you think, ‘Ooh, the Bloc will have its own Apple retail store.’

As the website points out, “The cube in the rendering — which is oddly proportioned — is remarkable for its similarity to the iconic Fifth Avenue (NYC) Apple retail store, and seems to lead to an underground space. Inside, there is a suspended, glowing white circle — not an Apple logo.

Anonymous dude attempts to protect his identity by covering his face with Halle Berry...

“But lest hopes be raised, the Bloc’s official web page shows an entirely different architecture: a sunken plaza, walkways and pools. Instead of a glass cube, there’s a tall, very red tower emblazoned with ‘Macy’s’ in white letters.”

More importantly, the baby has vanished. Perhaps it fell? In its place is a much smaller phantom throwing its arms up in the air as if to call Satan’s curse down upon the whole development. OK, again maybe it’s just us who see it that way…

In the absence of further information, the Apple for best cinematography/location goes to the anonymous dude who created that first rendering. Even if that giant baby’s Godzilla act gives us bad dreams for months… Well done Anonymous Dude, just don’t blog about your win and ruin the mystery.

 

Best film? The Apple goes to…

Oh, did you really have any doubt? The best rumour of the week, nay the year, so far, has to be that director David Fincher may reteam with writer Aaron Sorkin for the next ‘Steve Jobs’ film. After the Ashton Kutcher attempt came and went (pretty quickly, it must be said), movie lovers have been intrigued as to what the writer of The Social Network could do with the life of Jobs as material for a movie.

As Macworld Australia said in our review of the earlier film, “To sum up? Jobs is very much like The Social Network. Without David Fincher… or Aaron Sorkin… or Jesse Eisenberg.”

Now it looks like two out of the three are in place. All that remains is to find someone to play Jobs. Is Jesse free? Hmmm, maybe not…

And so, if it goes ahead, and if Fincher does take the helm, and the final result does get overlooked for Best Film at the Academy Awards (as, of course, the much fancied Social Network did in 2010, losing out to The King’s Speech), we hereby present the Apple for Best Film to The Anti-Social Entrepreneur (and we’re not copywriting that title boys, you’re welcome to it…)

And that’s the Rumour Mill for the week ending 28 February 2014. It’s late, so please consider our neighbours as you vacate the auditorium. And no relieving yourselves in the doorways, thanks.

 

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