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Rumor Roundup, Episode 11: Biggest hyperbole in consumer electronics history


This past week seemed like a rerun of the week before in many ways. An Apple competitor released a tablet, and every corner of the Internet cried out, "What does it meaaaan?!" To Google's credit, the company's tablet announcement included actual demonstrations of its features, a shipping date, and a price. Even people otherwise disinterested in Android looked at the Nexus 7 and said, "Hmm. If I didn't already have an iPad, I would totally buy one of those."

It's a bit strange that in a week dominated with news of Google's 7-inch tablet, we didn't hear a single word about Apple's perpetually "coming next quarter" iPad mini. In fact, the rumor mill was very quiet this week overall. Almost... too quiet.

Apple Said To Prepare iTunes Changes To Improve Sharing (Bloomberg)

"People familiar with the matter" claim iTunes will get a big overhaul later this year. There'll be deeper iCloud integration and more sharing features.

Chalk this one into the "I want to believe" column. iTunes is a bloated juggernaut and has been for years. Apple keeps tacking on new features, consolidating more and more of the iOS experience into this one program that, alone among OS X software, has me wanting to stab my screen virtually every time I use it.

Nearly two years ago, I hoped iTunes 10 would get the kind of under-the-hood tuneup that OS X Snow Leopard got. The psychological factor of iTunes flipping to "X" territory with its tenth major version made it seem like for the first time in years, iTunes would finally stop sucking. Two years later, I'm still waiting. We all are.

What Developers Thought About WWDC (Buzzfeed)

In iOS 6's Music app on the iPhone, lighting on the volume slider's knob changes angle depending on input from the device's accelerometer. It's a subtle but neat little trick that goes a long way toward showing Apple's attention to detail.

According to Buzzfeed, an unnamed Apple employee claimed this was only the beginning. Soon, input from the phone's ambient light sensor will enable drop shadows based on the angle of ambient light, and UI elements will be rendered in 3D.

This seems a bit far-fetched, at least on the current hardware. The iPhone's existing ambient light sensor does an okay job of detecting how much light there is, but sensing the direction of light would probably require a much more sophisticated sensor. None of that means this rumor is impossible on future hardware, but it seems like a feature that would be exclusive to newer devices.

Apple Wins Patents for Inductive Charging & iOS Scrolling, Rotating & Resizing on Displays (Patently Apple)

Apple received a patent for an inductive charging dock. That part's not a rumor; it's a fact on file at the US Patent Office. The patent does invite speculation about the next iPhone's charging methodology considering recent rumors surrounding the dock connector and older rumors about Apple investigating inductive charging.

Inductive charging, which would allow an iPhone to charge wirelessly when placed near a plugged-in dock, isn't a new technology. The Palm Pre had it, as do many third-party chargers for wireless controllers for the Wii and PlayStation 3.

Apple focused heavily on "cutting the cord" in iOS 5 last year, with features like iCloud and Wi-Fi synching making it largely unnecessary to plug an iOS device into a computer. I won't go so far as to say inductive charging is a matter of "when, not if," but it does seem like a natural feature for Apple to pursue.

New iPhone prototypes have NFC chips and antenna (9to5 Mac)

9to5 Mac claims to have pulled data from next-gen iPhone prototypes. According to its (alleged) data, the next iPhone will have an embedded Near Field Communication (NFC) chip. This technology, in concert with a third-party payment processor, could allow your iPhone to act like an electronic wallet. Rather than hauling out a credit/debit card, then putting in a PIN or signing a receipt, all you'd have to do is finalize the transaction right from your phone.

Apple's announcement of the new Passbook feature in iOS 6 raised eyebrows all over the blogosphere given what we already know about NFC. The technology has been a rumored iPhone feature for a long time and is on many iPhone owners' "sure would be nice to have" lists, including mine. I'm almost never without my iPhone, but I forget my wallet all the time.

While I'm dubious of 9to5 Mac's claim it's got access to data from iPhone prototypes, this is one rumor I definitely hope comes true sooner rather than later.

Apple experiencing battery issues in development of next iPhone - rumor (AppleInsider)

Once again, an Asian news site and some analyst combine their powers for a completely unsubstantiated and unprovable fluff piece. This time, supposed manufacturing issues are causing nearly 70 percent of batteries produced for the next-gen iPhone to fall below Apple's standards.

None of these "sources" have the least bit of proof for any of their claims -- the battery vendor itself isn't even named -- and the only way we'll ever know if they were right or not is if the next-gen iPhone is substantially delayed.

Let me see if I can come up with something more substantial. Hang on a second. *holds finger up to the wind* The next iPhone will launch in October... and it heralds the End of Man. Codenamed Cthulhu, it currently waits dreaming in R'lyeh.

Hey, speaking of mythical monsters...

Foxconn moves to secure Apple HDTV orders, industry exec says (BGR)

There's nothing in this story worth mentioning except for one word: DigiTimes. BGR rather inconsiderately buries the source for its story halfway through the article, when etiquette demands that DigiTimes be mentioned within the first ten words so we all know to stop reading immediately and close the tab.

Maybe there are two things worth mentioning, because the last line is kind of cute: "Launch speculation ranges from the fourth quarter this year to some time in 2014."

BREAKING: Apple expected to produce HDTV sometime between now and the Andromeda Galaxy's collision with the Milky Way.

Next iPhone will be 'biggest product launch in consumer electronics history' (BGR)

Wait a second. That headline sounds awfully familiar. April 2012 familiar...

Apple's next iPhone launch could be most important in smartphone history (BGR)

Yup, there it is. I'm starting to think there's a sign in the front office window at BGR that says, "World's Best Hyperbole."

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