The Rumour Mill

Macworld Australia Staff
28 March, 2014
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And good day to you again Rumour Revellers. It’s Friday and that, as always, means it’s time to see what extravagant claims are currently being made about the Apple-sphere.

Of course, the image to the right, which was widely disseminated around the net this week, meant it was a no-brainer that this week’s Rumour Mill should be brought to you by the wise, the venerable, the one and only Gandalf the Grey. Or, as we like to say in our house, Sir Ian, Sir Ian, Sir Ian. Action. ‘Wizard, you shall not pass!’ Cut. Sir Ian, Sir Ian, Sir Ian… (wipes tear, really, never gets old Ricky Gervais…)

Now where were we? Ah yes, let’s start with iOS 8, shall we?

 

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us

Tech2 (another new source to the Rumour Mill, welcome aboard folks) tells us this week that the next version of the iGadget operating system will be jettisoning Game Center, tweak noses, sorry Messages and fiddling with Notifications Center. iOS 8 is rumoured to be revealed at WWDC, Apple’s annual developers’ conference in June and looks very likely to included the HealthBook app, which we’ve talked about previously.

Now whispers are proliferating that this won’t be the only major change. Actually Tech2 is deferring to its better known peer, 9to5Mac, which quotes those in the know as saying, “Apple is considering removing the Game Center application from iOS and OS X.”

iOS 8 App Tweaks

9to5Mac goes on to list all the other apps that may be tweaked or deleted altogether. Messages may gain the ability for Message threads to be automatically deleted. Voice memos may have more visible controls. There could be better communication between apps from the App Store. And as for CarPlay, Apple is said to be testing versions that can be conducted over Wi-Fi (in certain vehicles).

And the Notification Center will be simplified, 9to5Mac believes, with Apple considering reducing the Panel that currently offers Today, All and Missed views, to just Today and Notifications. As 9to5Mac sensibly notes though, June is some way away, and anything could happen between now and then.

 

Fly you fools!

International Business Times ran with what is, to be honest, one of the most pitiful underwhelming rumours we’ve ever come across. It published a piece about a possible upcoming Mac mini update that promised to reveal everything you wanted to know about the next (overdue, apparently) iteration of the Marilyn Monroe of Apple devices (well, they share initials, that’s enough, isn’t it?).

“Herewith are the best guess [sic] of the new Mac mini’s release date, specs and UK price – courtesy of Karen Haslam from Macworld,” wrote IBT, before adding helpfully, “Recent rumours suggest the Mac mini will be updated and pointing to launch in January or February. However, we still see no sign of the new Mac mini. A poster in the MacRumors forum claimed he contacted a Belgium computer store and was advised the new Mac mini will launch end of February. That did not happen, obviously.”

This article was dated 24 March. So yes, obviously. Er… thud.

We do get some actual solid suggestions as to what we can expect from an updated Mac mini, “As per the computer store in Belgium source said, the new Mac Mini will have variants of Core i5 and i7 and 802.11ac”, but mostly the article is along the lines of: “It should be certain to be smaller, thinner or something akin to the dimensions of Apple TV; much better a Mac Mini and an Apple TV all in one!” and “It’s nicer if the 4GB RAM will be 8GB on the next model”.

Nicer? We feel a bit mean, pointing this out, but really, as slices of scuttlebutt go…

It's a Mac mini, it's an Apple TV, it's a Mac mini!

Absurdly simple, like most riddles when you see the answer

Let’s get down to some nitty-gritty. What’s the latest on the iPhone 6? That’s what we all want to know really, isn’t it?

MacRumors seems to be hedging its bets, telling us on Monday that only one of two larger iPhone 6 models are likely (taking its cue from UBS analyst Steve Milunovich), while today’s offering reckons we’ll be offered a 4.7in and a 5.5in and they are expected to launch “as early as September” (we’re guessing those quotation marks refer to the fact that September is pretty much the expected launch date for new iPhones these days, so no big surprises there). The source of this conjecture was the Japanese business paper Nikkei.

So, take your pick. Ah, but wait a minute, there’s this…

Meanwhile MacDailyNews is also deferring to 9to5Mac. And we’re going to quote this one verbatim, because it’s pretty specific. “Just found these iPhone 6 dummy prototypes on a Japanese case-maker website. They obviously look bigger than the current line and would be used by the case community to have units ready when the iPhone 6 launches. Some of the rumoured specs:

  • two sizes – 4.7in and 5.5in
  • screens made entirely out of sapphire crystal
  • pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, from the current 326 ppi display
  • there will be optical image stabilisation for the 8 megapixel camera
  • f/1.8 aperture lens – an improvement over the iPhone 5s’ current f/2.2 lens
  • new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard
  • pressure, temperature and humidity sensors
  • possibly a solar power charger built into the screen

Hello! What is this? Identical conclusions over screen sizes? 4.7in and 5.5in? That’s getting convincing. We may be almost ready to lock them in, everyone.

iPhone 6 Rumors iP6-01

For even the very wise cannot see all ends

How about something completely different? Like buildings and factories.

AppleInsider posted a series of pictures this week of the work underway on the much heralded sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona in the US. It noted, “Fresh photos… show construction of external fixtures is progressing as planned, while a new rumour claims the site may be expanded to a neighbouring building.”

Not even completed yet and already the powers that be have decided it won’t be big enough (bit like the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, then?) “Rumours floating around the local electrical industry in Arizona claim Apple may be mulling a project expansion into a building on the site that was previously owned by photovoltaic panel maker First Solar. The purpose of the support structure is unknown,” reports AppleInsider.

Ooh, what are Tim and co planning? Something world dominating and all-consuming, we’re sure. And they need a very big shed to do it in. With a few palm trees to mask their nefarious intent.

Arizona

Please note, only full deliveries will be accepted at Apple's new sapphire plant. No half-hearted loads here...

I suppose you think that was terribly clever

And finally a cheering note for any or all of you who have put your money where your mouth is regarding your favourite tech brand. MacDailyNews tells us a dividend increase may be on the way for investors.

“Apple (AAPL) has now paid the same quarterly dividend of US$3.05 per share for four consecutive quarters,” Tradevestor writes for Seeking Alpha. “That brings up only one question in the minds of dividend growth investors. Is a dividend increase on its way? “The answer is an emphatic ‘yes’.”

So, there you go. Thrilled? Mean anything to you at all? No, us neither. As you were then.

Here endeth the Rumour Mill for the week ending 28 March 2014. And never forget, “He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom”.

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