In at least one way, 2014 is no different from 2013. Rumor blogs are prattling on about the same thing they were last year: the iWatch, the giant-screen iPhone, and the 12-inch 'iPad Pro'. These items made it onto virtually every outlet's "What to expect from Apple in 2014" list, but Ars Technica's take on the subject was refreshingly logical. If I had to put money on anyone's predictions, I'd put it on theirs.
Early 'iWatch' Production Seeing Poor Yields Due to Issues with Body Finish Treatments? (MacRumors; also covered by BGR and AppleInsider)
An unannounced product that hasn't even been confirmed to exist is apparently "delayed." I hope there's a rock-solid source for this claim; otherwise, the publications who passed it on are going to end up looking rather silly indeed.
"A new report from DigiTimes" - really? That's your source? The publication that got exactly one thing right about Apple in 2013 out of the many, many times it threw bogus rumors against the wall?
Of the three publications who passed this story along, only AppleInsider bothered to point out that DigiTimes has an absolutely abysmal track record when it comes to Apple rumors. MacRumors and BGR made no such allusions, so anyone who didn't know better might read this story thinking that DigiTimes is a legitimate source on Apple matters. Spoiler: it's not.
As for the so-called iWatch itself, here's a prediction for you: 2014 will be the Year of iWatch... rumors, and that's it.
This story falls afoul of two snags. First, Asian publications are notoriously unreliable when it comes to Apple rumors, with an accuracy record no better than this crazy guy I met at the beach a couple weeks ago who, within seconds of introducing himself, went on a completely random tirade about things that were so very out there I can't even reprint them here.
Second, the farther away we are from an actual Apple event, the less likely any given rumor about any given Apple product is to be true. I wouldn't expect to see new iPhones until September at the earliest, so anyone claiming to have inside knowledge of them more than nine months in advance is selling week-old fish and daring to call it sushi.
Here's another prediction: this year will also be the Year of the Bigger iPhone... rumors. I won't be the least bit surprised (or disappointed) if Apple sticks with a 4-inch screen in spite of the trickle of dumb rumors that have come out so far and the torrential downpour sure to follow over the coming months.
Analyst predicts Apple will transform notebook market with 12-inch hybrid 'iPad Pro' this fall (AppleInsider; also covered by BGR and MacRumors)
Wow, sounds juicy. Who's the source?
"Evercore Partners analyst Patrick Wang..."
Patrick Wang? The Patrick Wang?! From Evercore Partners? Well then, obviously this is... wait. Who is Patrick Wang?
Here's the money quote from his "note to investors":
"Expect a 2-1 hybrid – think iPad + MBA – similar to how most iPads are used in the workplace and in the same spirit of MSFT's Surface."
Let me get this straight: this is the first we've heard from this guy, and literally the first thing he says not only goes against what Tim Cook himself has said about hybrid devices (comparing their utility to a toaster/fridge combo), he also says that Apple is looking to release a device "in the same spirit of Microsoft's Surface"? You mean the same device that's sitting piled up on store shelves and is pretty much universally considered a titanic failure? That Surface? That's what you see as Apple's future direction?
Here's my third prediction for 2014: Absolutely nothing "analyst" Patrick Wang says about Apple will actually come to pass.
A certain website -- which shall remain nameless -- was conspicuously absent from the rumor scene this week. Not because I decided to take it easy on them, but because they chose not to cover any of these flimsily-sourced stories in spite of the usual suspects eagerly doing so. Has someone made a resolution for 2014? If so, it's a step in the right direction.