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Rumor Roundup: Analyst overload


There's a marked split in rumors related to Apple. There's "almost kind of real news" that's sourced from "people familiar with the matter" or "sources who have been reliable in the past" or perhaps even spyshots of parts, products, or entire production lines. This type of article probably (*) turns out to be right about as often as random chance.

Then there's "news" from "analysts," which almost always consists of 100 percent pure, grade-D B.S. Articles with an analyst as a source usually turn out to be as accurate as a blind tennis player (with apologies to any blind tennis players who may be reading this).

These guys (they're almost all men) are so laughably wrong so often that I often wonder:

  • How they still have jobs
  • Why anyone pays attention to them
  • No, seriously, why does anything they say qualify as newsworthy, ever?

This past week was a classic example of rumor blogs paying way more attention to analysts than is warranted (i.e., any attention at all). This post would have been way shorter if these blogs had learned their lesson and stopped paying attention to this second-worst of sources on all things Apple -- don't worry Digitimes, you're still bottom of the barrel in our hearts -- but this week was a veritable analyst overload.

Almost kind of real news

Alleged iPhone 5S assembly line shots show new internal layout, linear motor (9to5 Mac)

"Update: These are likely an iPhone 5 clone (with better vibrating motor). Note the smaller 1150 mAh battery and the (d'oh) SD card slot."

D'oh indeed.

Apple secretly developing entire platform for wearable, attachable computing (AppleInsider)

Although the potential applications of this patent filing are intriguing to consider, the standard caveat applies: Apple often patents ideas it never brings to store shelves. And there's a pretty wide gulf between "Wouldn't it be cool if?" and "Thing that makes us money when we try to sell it."

Apple Said to Have Team Developing Wristwatch Computer - Bloomberg

Apple purportedly has a team of 100 "product designers" working on an iWatch. Small problem: haven't we heard over and over again that Apple has an extremely small product design team? There's Jonathan Ive, a handful of lieutenants, and... well, that's about it, isn't it? If Apple has 100 "product designers" working throughout the entire company, that's news to me. Maybe if you start lumping in the software teams the number starts getting higher, but in terms of hardware design we're generally given the impression that Apple has a tiny cadre of people in this area.

Shares of Television Set Maker Loewe Jump as Apple Acquisition Rumors Resurface (MacRumors)

Almost exactly the same thing happened last May. Apple didn't buy Loewe then, and it's probably not buying Loewe now, either. Check back in another nine months to see if this happens again.

Regarding iWatch, iTV, iPhone 5S, bigger and less expensive iPhones, iPad 5, and iPad mini 2 |

Less of a rumor on its own and more of his own roundup, Rene Ritchie does a good, level-headed analysis of what we're likely to see from Apple this year -- and what's less likely.

The Fall TV Lineup May Include Apple Dominating Gaming | TechCrunch

MG Siegler speculates that Apple TV could be updated to run apps, especially games, and thereby steal Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft's lunch money.

"We all know the current Apple TV is already running iOS (even if Apple dances around directly stating it)," Siegler says. "And we know that the Apple TV is running on the same type of hardware stack that iPhones/iPads/iPod touches run on. The thing is ready to go. All Apple has to do is flip a switch."

Personally, I would love for this to be true. I do almost all of my gaming on iOS these days; I only turn on my Wii when I weigh in on Wii Fit, and my PS3 has been doing nothing but gathering dust for nearly three months. iOS doesn't (yet) replicate the super hi-def, immersive, US$60 for a 30-hour game you can still get on a traditional console, but in my case I'm not even looking for that. Let me play The Blockheads or Canabalt on my HDTV, and I'm all set.

"News" from "analysts"

Analyst says $300 price point is sweet spot for unsubsidized iPhone mini (9to5 Mac)

Based on no evidence whatsoever.

Cheaper iPhone estimated to shrivel Apple's margins, would risk 'damaging its brand equity' (BGR)

Based on no evidence whatsoever.

Apple's iWatch and Apple TV initiatives could drive an additional $80 billion in yearly revenue (AppleInsider)

Based on no evidence whatsoever.

Full-size iPad's glory days may be over (BGR)

Based on no evidence whatsoever. Are you getting it?

Apple iWatch: People are getting excited for all the wrong reasons (BGR)

"Wristwatches are in cultural decline, victims to the very smartphones that smartwatches aim to augment." Hey, who let this guy in? The things he says make sense. Turn in your analyst badge and gun, Detective Sagawa.

Apple Planning March Special Event to Introduce Developer Tools for TV? (MacRumors)

It took just a couple hours for Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, renowned for his accuracy in such matters, to pronounce "Nope" to this rumor. Cult of Mac helpfully provides a smackdown of the woefully inaccurate history of the analyst in question.

Apple's 4.8-Inch iPhone 6 Reportedly Not Launching Until Mid-2014 (MacRumors)

The same analyst tosses some more words against a wall. Some of them stuck, apparently.

"How does this man still have a job?" Jim Dalrymple wondered last week. That's a fair question. Here's a variant: How do I get a gig like that? I assume these analysts are paid in the high five figures, minimum. That's more than I'm earning in my current job, and way more than I'd earn as a novelist.

If these guys are all getting paid to just make crap up out of thin air, then as someone with tons of experience at fiction writing, I'm officially offering my services. For the right salary, I too will join the dark side and perform my "supply chain checks" (i.e., three lunchtime vodka martinis) and issue a "note to investors" (i.e., whatever nonsense enters my head after the third martini) once or twice a week. Page views guaranteed or your money back! Everyone wins, except for Apple's shareholders!

Piper Jaffray says media event still likely by April, sees 'new iPad body styles' (AppleInsider)

""We believe that looking at the history of time between Apple product launch events suggests that the company will introduce something new in March or April," says Gene "Dude, Where's My Apple HDTV?" Munster.

Too bad you can't really count on Apple to be perennially predictable anymore. If you could, iPhone launches would still happen in summer, the iPad would only get one major update per year, and Mac updates would happen whenever the company felt like it. Wait, that last part is still true.

(*) There are four kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, statistics, and analyst projections.

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