Rumour Mill

Macworld Australia Staff
15 November, 2013
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Boy, I got a vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals

Howdy Rumour Wranglers! Ready for some rich, ripe scuttlebutt? Well, saddle up and let’s get right down to it, with a will-o-the-wisp idea that swept through the cyberprairies this week.

Do you remember how a fortnight or so ago, the Rumour Mill talked about an iPhone concept that references Marilyn Monroe?

And you thought we were just splashing* didn’t you? Ridiculed the idea. Oh, we know you did. But now, as we noted earlier in the week, that rumour has legs. Or spurs… Or something else that makes it gather momentum. Here’s what Bloomberg threw up into the air this week. Or just threw up. Your call.


A curvaceous phone? Let’s hope it heralds a return to more shapely role models of all varieties too. Surely the lollipop ladies must have had their day by now?

Takes more than big shoulders to make a man

One thing we really love here on the threshing floor of the Rumour Mill is a rumour that runs and diversifies. Such as the idea that the forthcoming iWatch (never officially announced in the first place, of course) is now being discussed in its variations. Apparently when the unicorn of computer-on-your-wrist-timepieces finally makes its debut, it will come in two different sizes: 1.7in and 1.3in – for men and women respectively. Men and women? Really? Can’t we retire these dated gender binaries and just try out ‘big’ and ‘small’? Or ‘junior (still has 20/20 vision) and senior (bring your own magnifying glass)? No? As you please then…

Anyway, MacRumors thinks it’s all true. As does Ashleigh Allsopp on our British sister site, Macworld UK. Both sites reference a report in The Korea Herald, which covered a recent Taiwanese conference in which DisplaySearch David Hsieh analyst made the claims about the possible iWatch sizes. And that’s not all. Both MacRumours and Macworld UK propose that Apple’s focus on the iWatch is so all-encompassing, it has put “its plans for a fully fledge television set ‘on hold again’.”

When the Apple TV set finally graces our world, what need we of furniture... friends... anything else at all?

Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much

But it’s not all upside down horseshoes in the wild, wild world of Apple TVs. If the Apple television set is now not expected (hoped for/whimsically envisaged) until 2015 or even 2016, MacRumors does hint at the possibility of our new favourite pebble-sized pardner, the A7 chip, heading across the horizon and appearing in the Apple TV by next year. And, who do we have to thank for this and all other Apple TV-related suggestions? Why it’s our old bronco buddy, Ming-Chi Kuo. Who has probably been taking an extended break in the bunkhouse after his last flurry of predictions in October.

Welcome back Ming-Chi! What’s the lowdown, old buddy? “We expect Apple to launch a new version of the Apple TV with an A7 processor in 2014, and we forecast 2014 shipments to total 8.2mn units. Shipment growth will be limited unless Apple is able to integrate more TV content, services and its App Store, in our view.”

Alrighty then… so assured. So definite. He really is the tall hog at the trough*, ain’t he? Ming-Chi, we tip our ten-gallon to you.

Get along there, little doggie

This was the week when the new Retina iPad mini finally blinked its baby blues and gurgled its way into our hot and hungry hands. and naturally there was a whole stampede’s worth o’yammering about it.

We’re still hearing about availability issues, with more details revealed this week on the Sharp problem. MacRumors has noted this report from Korea IT News, including the explanation, “The burn-in problem was caused by the drastic reduction of the pixel size. The resolution of the 7.9in iPad mini with Retina display is 2048 × 1536, about four times clearer than the existing 1024 × 768 products. LG Display used the amorphous silicon (a-Si) for the substrate, whereas Sharp used IGZO. The pixel of the smartphone display is smaller than that of the iPad mini Retina panel, but as the Low Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon (LTPS) technology is used, it can be …”

Whoa! Whoa, for the love of Kansas Sheep Dip*, whoa!!

Sorry all, just had to stave a cask* there. You can read the rest via the link. But not here, we’ve got mustangs to muster, critters to corral, varmints to vanquish… you know the deal.

The gurgling Retina iPad mini (left) pictured with big sibling, the iPad Air.

The other whispering grass related to the release of the greenhorn iPad concerns its modest curtain-raiser. Instead of kicking up its heels with a hoot ‘n’ holler, the papoose-packed pad slipped out from behind a cactus and waved shyly in our direction.

And some folk out there thinks this may be the way of the future. Mike Wehner over at TUAW certainly reckons as much. “In short, while today’s quiet launch may be due in part to low stock of the new slates, we could also be moving toward a future where Apple’s tablets are upgraded incrementally on a schedule similar to how MacBooks, the Mac mini and other Apple stalwarts receive their seasonal refreshes.”

You can read his reasoning here.

I don’t favour talkin’ to vermin, but I’ll talk to you just this once

And, finally, let’s move from the hardware to the soft props**. We know you probably think any mutterings regarding the Microsoft camp are usually just a wagon’s worth of fiddle faddle, but we’re sharing this one for its worth.

Bloomberg has mused on the possibility that Stephen Elop (a prime candidate to replace outgoing prairie prince, Steve Ballmer) would “consider breaking with decades of tradition by focusing the company’s strategy around making the popular Office software programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint available on a broad variety of smartphones and tablets, including those made by Apple Inc…”

And that’s it for the Rumour Mill for the week ending 15 November; time to roll out your hen skin*, don your dowd* and catch a weasel*… goodnight

* take a trail ride through this website or this one - you can thank us later.

** or people, as non-showbiz folk like to call them

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