The Rumour Mill

Macworld Australia Staff
22 November, 2013
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The Rumour Mill Meister is feeling a little curmudgeonly this week. Blame it on the full moon. Blame it on the geopolitical landscape. Blame it on the boogie. We really don’t care. But the best thing to do when the world gives you the hump is defer to someone who turned being curmudgeonly into an art. So today the Rumour Mill is brought to you by the one and only William Claude Dukenfield… that’s WC Fields to the uninitiated.

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit”

We’ve been banging on and on over the last few weeks over the ever-strengthening rumour that the next iteration of the iPhone may have a curved screen. Well, it’s a lay-down misère if you’re Bloomberg, of course. But let’s throw another couple of sweeteners into the pot (or ‘eye of newt and toe of frog’ into the ‘hell-broth’, depending on your point of view). What do you say to a passel of pressure sensors? Or NFC (you can make up your own scurrilous definition for that acronym… or you can banish WC Fields and his pernicious influence and stick with ‘near field communication’). Yes, it was only a matter of time before NFC landed back on the iPhone rumour radar (see what we did there?).

After all, there were plenty of people expecting the feature to be part of the iPhone 5, back in 2012. Such as these folksand these. Oh, and these

Of course, when it didn’t appear, the webitron was immediately flooded with articles like this one and this one, as befuddled pundits tried to retrospectively claim that, no, of course the iPhone 5 didn’t have NFC. It was never going to have it. It didn’t need it. Apple had Passbook etc etc, repeat and rinse.

No Foreseeable Chance...

But that didn’t stop the cycle from starting all over again in the middle of this year, when some pundits started claiming that this time, definitely, for sure, the iPhone 6 (as they were dubbing the iPhone 5s and 5c before they actually debuted) would boast the feature. In July, there was this…

“One of our loyal readers has brought us some information. Remaining anonymous for reasons that instantly will become clear, our source tells us that the next Apple iPhone will offer support for NFC. An entry in the Verizon database allegedly shows “4g lte nano nfc sim cards”. NFC SIM cards, according to our source, are used only for NFC compatible phones, while the nano part of the listing would seem to indicate that they will be used for the Apple iPhone,” reported PhoneArena.com’s Alan F (who clearly wanted to stay at least partly anonymous too).

Of course, all the shyness that floated around Mr F and his sources could simply have been because they suspected their claims were absolute bunkum.

But now we’re up to the next iteration and, as sure as the sun rises in the east, the NFC rumours have kicked in again. Take it away Techradar.com. No, seriously take it away. Right away. We’ve heard it all before. We’re now saying NFC stands for No F***ing Chance… oops, sorry, the ghost of William Claude just slipped out again for a moment there.

“I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally”

MacRumors likes to be ahead of the pack when it comes to Apple rumours – it didn’t get its name from a lucky dip, for heaven’s sake – so where others are still musing on the possibility that a new bigger iPad may be in the works, the venerable website gives us some cold hard… speculation. A 12.9in Retina display iPad will begin production in early 2014, says the site.

“Apple’s local first-tier display supplier is now producing a 12.9in Retina Display to be used in the new iPad, which will be coming out sometime early next year,” an official at a local Apple supplier in Korea told The Korea Times by telephone Tuesday. “The 12.9in iPad will have improved picture quality. As the Apple partner intends to boost its lineup for displays that have almost ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, the upcoming iPad will provide very clear quality similar to that of UHD,” said the official.”

Did you note that? Will. Begin. Production. Them’s fighting words Ole MacR. Oh, you’re quoting The Korea Times, are you? And via Unwired View?

Well, then, them’s fighting words Unwired View, er, Korea Times. Let’s just see, shall we? In the meantime, we wonder if that ‘official’ is a friend of Alan F’s…

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to”

To be fair, MacRumors may have stuck its head over the parapet, but it’s not alone. Not by a long chalk.

Technology Tell is on pretty much the same bandwagon, while AppleInsider is marching to the beat of exactly the same drum. While Macworld UK is coming up in the inside lane singing a slight variation of the same tune (and if that isn’t the most mangled metaphor of the month, we give up).

How's about a hybrid, Mr Cook?

Macworld‘s tea-sipping sister site spins the 12.9in Retina display material a little differently – asking if the rumour perhaps signals not a bigger iPad, but an iPad/Macbook hybrid. Ah, now there’s an idea. Pity it’s one that Tim Cook pretty much squished to bits back in April 2012.

“A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money”

We have to find a Carl Icahn story/rumour – just so we can justify using that most pithy of quotes from Mr Fields. Hold on, we’re just scanning the net. The canny corporate raider/bombastic bully must have planted some seeds of dissent this week… we’ll be right back.

Cat begging

Oh sorry, you’re still hanging on, are you?* Well, how about this then? “Carl Icahn says he’d ‘never’ push Apple to buy Nuance, only wants increased share buyback” is the notion AppleInsider has just shared with the world.

“Icahn spoke this week at the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit, where he was asked about the prospect of spurring a deal between the two parties. Such speculation has existed among investors for months, given Icahn’s reputation as an activist investor and his 16.4 percent stake in Nuance — a company whose technology is a key component behind Apple’s voice-driven personal assistant, Siri… ”That is something I would never micromanage and never even think of telling (Apple chief executive) Tim Cook,” Icahn said, according to Reuters. “It has zero to do with the fact that I’m involved in Apple.”

He then went on to say that he feels he has neither “the expertise or the presumption to say I have the expertise to tell him to do that,” giving a rather definitive stance on the issue.”

Hmm, feels to us as if AppleInsider trusts the caped corporate crusader/dastardly despoiler about as much as everyone else.

“Children should neither be seen nor heard from – ever again”

Enough of this somewhat frivolous stuff. Let’s get down to the utter banalities brass tacks – what we really want to know is what Apple is doing with its retail stores this holiday season. There are children out there right now, writing their lists, checking them twice, (deep breath) hoping to see a Retina iPad mini in their stocking come Christmas morning and keeping themselves nice. Dear Apple, what have you got in the physical realm to entice the little tackers into your world?

Elves? How about some reindeers? Or a real live Mariah Carey, singing just for them? What’s that, 9to5Mac? Curtains? You’re telling us Apple stores are going to be celebrating the holidays with “magical front window displays” of LED curtains? Oh, OK then. Guess that’ll be cool. If Apple employees have described the idea as spectacular, they should know. Right?

Brian Stucki tweeted that his son was mesmerised by the display, but neglected to mention whether said son was three or 32 and living in the basement with a mountain of discarded pizza boxes and every Xbox console ever produced…

And that’s the Rumour Mill for the week ending 22 November 2013. Remember, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” 

* yes, we finally gave in to the Lord of the Internet’s Terms and Conditions article 14, paragraph vii/b and used a droll cat gif #lazyjournalism.

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