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Rumor Roundup: Death by 1000 cuts

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Aside from the usual terrible supply chain sources and analyst BS, which is almost always wrong, is another type of Apple rumor that's almost always right: leaks from within the company. And it looks like the ratbag employee(s) within Apple leaking company secrets to rumor blogs (for some reason never adequately explained) have returned from Christmas vacation, because an explosion of new rumors obviously sourced from within Apple itself came out within the past few days.

Before we get to those, let's see the stupid rumors from stupid sources.

Apple Watch predicted to account for 36% of company's revenue growth in 2015 (AppleInsider)

Source: Some analyst

Chance it's true: 30 percent at best

Yet another know-nothing analyst has come out with worthless predictions to add to the "How Many Apple Watches Will Be Sold" bingo game. The device hasn't even shipped yet, and Apple has been evasive about the pricing above the base model, and it's still not clear just how much demand there is for the device... but sure, we'll all choose to believe your very specific predictions about a device a vanishingly small number of people have even seen in person thus far.

Supply chain rumor contradicts claims of new 4-inch iPhone in 2015 (AppleInsider)

Source: Asian website

Chance it's true: Who knows

An Asian website, citing "supply chain sources," has now directly contradicted earlier rumors from analysts. All this means now is the rumor blogs have all their bases covered; whether a new 4-inch iPhone comes out this year or not, they'll be clamoring to claim they broke the story either way.

From the article: "At this point, with so far to go before Apple is expected to debut its 2015 iPhone lineup in its usual September timeframe, it's difficult to place stock in any such rumors."

Gee, you think?

The iPhone 6 is succeeding wildly where the iPhone 5c failed (BGR)

Source: Market research

Chance it's true: Who knows

I add this less for the claims made by the original source (which are probably accurate) and more for the idiotic spin BGR puts on them. For one thing, it just can't resist putting the words "iPhone 5c" and "fail" together yet again, because in whatever galaxy they live in a device that's sold in the millions and has stuck around for well over a year in Apple's lineup somehow counts as a failure.

According to BGR, "Sales of the 5c were disappointing for Apple and the device did nothing to slow Android's march toward dominance." As for the first bit, [citation needed]. In regard to Android's supposed "dominance," the one company that was actually earning an appreciable amount of money off its Android-based devices has seen its profits plummet. "Dominance" indeed.

The rest of the article pounds away at this marketshare hype, because to a BGR writer with a hammer, everything looks like a self-administered concussion.

Apple may have sold 69M iPhones during Christmas quarter, shattering records and estimates (BGR)

Source: Some analyst

Chance it's true: 30 percent at best

Analyst projections of Apple's quarterly sales are almost always off by several million units. Sometimes embarrassingly so. Why anyone still pays attention to this piffle is honestly beyond me.

Apple's future iPhones might have one surprising display feature (BGR)

Source: Japanese website

Chance it's true: None

Saved you a BGR: Some website claims the next-gen iPhone will have an OLED screen. If you're keeping score at home, the same rumors were attached to the iPhone 6, the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5c, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4s, several Macs, and the Apple HDTV.

Number of products Apple currently sells with OLED screens: Zero.

Now for the not-so-stupid rumors.

Apple to start selling SIM-free iPhone 6 & 6 Plus in the U.S. tomorrow (9to5 Mac)

Source: Internal leak from Apple

Chance it's true: 100 percent

This actually happened, so no need to dwell on it. This leak probably came from an Apple retail employee (or more than one) with advance notice of the sales.

Apple's next major Mac revealed: the radically new 12-inch MacBook Air (9to5 Mac)

Source: Internal leak from Apple

Chance it's true: We'll see

There's no doubt that this rumor was sourced from within Apple itself, and as John Gruber notes, it almost certainly was not an intentional leak on Apple's part.

Gruber and several others whose opinions I respect have expressed doubt on portions of this report. The biggest sticking point is the purported "one port" design of this MacBook Air. Apple abandoning MagSafe, a connector designed to save your laptop from certain(ish) death if someone trips over the power cord, would definitely feel like a regressive move. Others have predicted that having only a single port wouldn't sit well with consumers; however, the iPad and iPhone have always only had a single port doing double duty for power and data transfer, so Apple may think it can get away with doing the same thing on an ultraportable notebook.

An additional point worth noting, which John Gruber noticed: "Conspicuously absent from Gurman's report: the word 'retina'." Numerous analysts, including darling of the rumor blogs Ming-Chi Kuo, have been making noises about a 12-inch MacBook Air with a Retina display for some time. Although I would love to see a Retina display in a device like this, I would also love to watch these analyst yahoos eat massive piles of crow. I guess I win either way!

From the article: "We must note that Apple tests several designs of upcoming products, so Apple may choose to ultimately release a new Air that does include the legacy components, though there is very little space on the edges for them."

Someone has learned to hedge his bets after getting a few rumors wrong in 2014. "I am convinced" that if the new MacBook Air has a different design, it will be because of this leak.

Apple Watch launch expected in March, retail training set for mid-February (9to5 Mac)

Source: Internal leak from Apple

Chance it's true: 90 percent

Yet another in a series of leaks apparently coming from within Apple, this time seemingly someone (or several someones) from within the retail division.

From the article: "Of course, unexpected delays in software development and manufacturing could push the Watch back further in the year, but March is the current plan." Bet successfully hedged yet again.

Apple to widen pre-release iOS testing by roping in retail employees (9to5 Mac)

Source: Internal leak from Apple

Chance it's true: 90 percent

Once again, apparently someone within Apple's retail division is leaking company secrets. I would pay good money to see the video footage of Apple finding out who these disloyal employees are and promptly marching them out of the building under guard. These continued leaks are pretty much death by 1000 cuts for the mystique surrounding Apple's products and plans.

iPod shuffle supplies mysteriously dwindle in stores and online (9to5 Mac)

Source: Original research

Chance it's true: 100 percent

9to5 Mac presents two alternate theories for the low supply of the iPod shuffle:

"The most likely possibility is that this shortage represents a temporary lack of components and that Shuffle production will pick up full speed in the near future. It is also plausible that Apple could be preparing to discontinue the iPod shuffle given that it axed the iPod Classic just last year."

In this article: rumor, Rumor Roundup
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