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Rumor Roundup: Taking analysts way too seriously


In the absence of much real news to report on this week, the rumor blogs did what they do best in times of drought: they took so-called "analysts" way too seriously. I've always thought of "analysts" as the tech world's equivalent of astrologers -- they generally keep things vague enough to make it difficult to call them out for being wrong right away, and when they are wrong (which they nearly always are), almost no one calls them on it. Yet just like astrologers, for some reason these people continue to get space right next to actual news items. It's baffling.

Analyst thinks 'iPhone 5S' due in June with better camera, NFC, multiple color options (9to5 Mac)

This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Some guy said the next iPhone will come out in June, with multiple colors and other features. His proof? Trick question, because he doesn't have any. So why was it worth reporting on what this guy said at all? Is he an expert on Apple's supply chain? A former Apple executive with decent insight into the company's inner workings? Nope, he's just some guy. He knows as much about the next iPhone as you do: virtually nothing.

Analyst: Apple could purchase partner TomTom to accelerate improvements to Maps app (9to5 Mac)

Apple might buy navigation company TomTom... according to some analyst who offers no concrete proof of this claim whatsoever. Yet again we have some guy sitting around daydreaming about what Apple might do without offering a bit of evidence, and because he works for some kind of financial firm, that somehow algebraically renders his musings as newsworthy.

47% of consumers interested in Apple television, willing to pay 20% premium (AppleInsider)

This is one step farther removed from anything resembling real news because it's a consumer survey that a bunch of analysts ran. Absolutely the only tale the survey's numbers tell is consumers supposedly have pent-up interest in an Apple-branded TV set. It says nothing at all about whether or not Apple will actually build such a device, rendering the whole exercise pretty much moot.

Where is Apple's 'next big thing'? (BGR)

Another analyst says that Apple needs to launch its next big thing in 2013 in order to turn its dwindling stock price around, and that "next big thing" must inevitably be an HDTV.

Keep in mind that in spite of its sliding stock price, Apple is still one of the most profitable companies on Earth right now. Also keep in mind that HDTVs have never been particularly profitable devices. Also keep in mind that intelligent people who still have a grip on their rationality, such as former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, think there's no chance Apple will make a traditional HDTV set.

Once you have all those things in mind, it starts to become really unclear why this analyst's ravings were worth taking seriously.

Hey, speaking of "sources" that aren't worth taking seriously...

Digitimes claims next iPad mini to have higher-res display, next 9.7-inch iPad to be lighter (9to5 Mac)

9to5 Mac does us all a huge favor here. By citing Digitimes as the source in the headline itself, it makes it completely unnecessary to read the story that follows.

Even if the stars somehow align and Digitimes manages to get this one right, they're not really saying anything original here; virtually everyone expects (demands?) the iPad mini's display will go Retina quality eventually, and the same goes for the iPad grande's supposed weight loss regimen.

The biggest Apple-related rumor this week came from the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that those always-reliable "sources in the Asian supply chain" told it Apple has been testing designs for an HDTV. The story itself isn't quite as interesting as the way various blogs reacted to it.

WSJ: Apple testing 'several' HDTV designs with Asian manufacturers (AppleInsider)

Straightforward re-write of the WSJ story.

WSJ: Apple testing several TV set designs with component suppliers, not considered a 'formal project yet' (9to5 Mac)

Pretty much the same, just a shorter summary.

WSJ reports Apple has tested TV designs -- don't get too excited (Engadget)

Brief report with a bit of analysis on why TV continues to be a tough nut for Apple (or anyone) to crack.

Designs reportedly in the works for Apple-created TV, but in "early stages" (Ars Technica)

Short synopsis of the WSJ story, followed by a big, welcome bucket of cold water thrown on the idea that any of this means Apple-branded HDTVs showing up on store shelves any time soon.

Apple Testing Television Set Prototypes, 'Isn't a Formal Project Yet' (Mac Rumors)

Another short summary, with more cold water on the idea that an Apple HDTV launch is imminent.

WSJ: Apple is developing a TV (BGR)

Breathless shouting from the rooftops: APPLE IS BUILDING AN HDTV!!!*

(*where "building" means "engineering prototypes, and maybe not even that")

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