Carbon fiber iPods! No iPad 3 this year! A cable killer! Yes, the smell of Apple rumors is in the air today. Let’s take a closer look at this lovely trio and guess at each rumor’s likelihood.
No iPad 3 in 2011
Part of the classic “new rumor negates old rumor” genre, DigiTimes reports that there will be no iPad 3 this year. The original story was first propagated by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, a well-connected blogger who admitted he was simply guessing. A later story in Cult of Mac said the iPad 2 wouldn’t be a huge improvement over its predecessor compared to the iPad 3, which would reportedly arrive during the 2011 holiday season. Half of that rumor was entirely subjective, but the only major missing feature from the iPad 2 was a higher-resolution screen than the original.
Now, DigiTimes says Apple is indeed planning an iPad with either an AMOLED screen or a full HD display, but the project is in its initial planning stages, making a 2011 launch unlikely. The iPad 3 rumor was shaky to begin with, so although DigiTimes doesn’t have a flawless track record with Apple reports, the publication is probably on point this time.
Carbon Fiber iPod With Wi-Fi Sync
Next up, another Cult of Mac rumor that says Apple is prototyping an iPod made of carbon fiber, and that it’ll allow users to sync their libraries over Wi-Fi. The strange thing about this rumor is that it only applies to non-connected iPods, such as the Shuffle and Classic. Cult of Mac had no details on Wi-Fi sync or building materials for iPod Touches or iPhones.
Still, Apple just hired a carbon fiber expert, which gives the report some merit, and Apple has already gone too long without letting users sync wirelessly with iTunes. Apparently, the carbon fiber is what makes the Wi-Fi sync possible, because it improves signal strength and reliability, so both rumors go hand-in-hand. They seem somewhat plausible to me.
Cable-Threatening TV Service
Finally, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says Apple is on the verge of launching “a new far reaching cloud-based service” for video. The subscription service would supposedly rival Netflix and threaten traditional TV. Misek also rehashes the rumor that Apple could eventually launch a TV of its own.
As Business Insider points out, Misek’s report seems more like informed speculation than sourced information. That’s generally a bad sign, as Apple can be unpredictable, especially when it comes to speculative analysis. We’ve heard rumors of subscription iTunes television before, but so far the best Apple can manage is cheap rentals from a couple of networks. Hollywood is fiercely protective of existing business models, so rumors about disruptive new businesses should be considered unreliable, especially if they involve Apple. The company already has an iron grip on the music business, and I don’t think TV networks are eager to see the same thing happen to them.