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Rumor Roundup: 'Nobody wants a stylus'

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Google Is In Talks With Mobile Payments Company Softcard (TechCrunch)

Source: "People familiar with the matter"

Chance it's true: 90 percent

This article seems less about how Google is reportedly trying to procure Softcard (likely for its patents related to mobile payments) and more about the utter implosion of Softcard itself. Check this out: "A source tells us that at one point the company's burn rate was around half a million dollars per day, or around $15 million per month." I mean, wow. Of course Google wants to buy such a high-performing company. Maybe they can integrate it with Google Glass and create the ultimate singularity of tech collapsing under the weight of its own hubris.

And now for three different takes on the same rumor sourced from the rumormongers' favorite "accurate" analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo.

KGI: Apple likely to launch simple stylus to enhance upcoming 12.9-inch iPad user experience; advanced model with 3D handwriting due later (AppleInsider)

According to AppleInsider, this rumor comes from "well-regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo." Well-regarded by whom, exactly? The 2014 accuracy record of all analysts combined, except for Kuo, works out to around 30 percent. Kuo's standalone accuracy record stands at roughly 40 percent. Apparently being 10 percent less full of crap than the rest of the analysts futilely chasing Apple's coattails (and relevance) qualifies you as being considered "well-regarded."

From the article: "Kuo, who has a fairly reliable track record in predicting Apple's future product directions, did not cite any particular source for the rumor outside of Apple's own patent filings. This marks an unusual turn for the analyst known to have close ties to Apple's supply chain partners."

Point one: a 40 percent accuracy record is "fairly reliable" according to the rumor blogs. Take note, these are the same people who spent years calling Digitimes "sometimes reliable", and Digitimes has an accuracy record of less than one percent.

Point two: the fact that Kuo hasn't cited his usual sources (which, it must be mentioned again, aren't all that reliable to begin with) strongly points to this being a typical bit of analyst dunderheaded daydreaming dung.

Aside from some patents (which are meaningless, since Apple patents tons of stuff that never hits shelves), Apple has shown zero interest in producing or even promoting stylus use for the iPad. Steve Jobs was famously dismissive of styluses during the iPhone's introductory keynote, and while that was eight years ago (side note: whoa), it remains true today: a stylus is going to be, at best, a niche product for a very small subset of iPad users. The rest of us will happily go on tapping away with the ten styluses we have at the end of our hands.

Apple Predicted to Launch Optional Stylus Accessory Alongside 12.9-Inch 'iPad Pro' (MacRumors)

Surprisingly, MacRumors does not fall all over itself to fawn over Kuo's vaunted accuracy record. It sticks to straight reporting of his claims and the possible consequences should they turn out to be true. This is as close to skeptical as I've seen MacRumors in recent months, and it honestly kind of worries me... because as I look around my lounge, I already see evidence of dogs and cats living together. Can mass hysteria be far behind?

KGI: Apple likely to sell stylus accessory alongside 12-inch 'iPad Pro' (9to5 Mac)

According to 9to5 Mac, "KGI reports tend to be based off of supply-chain sources, which have proven very reliable in the past." Again, getting your rumors correct less than half of the time qualifies as "very accurate" in the disturbing alternate universe the rumor blogs live in.

At time of writing, BGR had not yet chimed in with its own take on this rumor. Knowing their typical modus operandi, here's my prediction of their headline:

GOOD NEWS, APPLE FANS: iPad Pro will come with a stylus

This will be followed by some wide-eyed worship of Kuo's accuracy record, snarky digs at Steve Jobs's hatred of styluses, and likely some BS or other about how Apple is "playing catchup" to Samsung, because they've had styluses for years. The actual "content" bit of the article (in other words, the condensed reblogging of the original source's main points) will fit within a paragraph.

No matter how bad BGR gets with its take on it, at least it will be better than Cult of Mac's barrel-scrapingly tasteless headline (no link, because Cult of Mac): "Steve Jobs rolls over in his grave: the iPad Pro could have a stylus."

Just a reminder that no matter how bad the usual suspects get, there's far worse out there.

In this article: rumor, Rumor Roundup
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