I used to pay very close attention to the Apple rumour mill. I’d listen to every podcast, watch every YouTube video and follow anyone who had ‘Apple Leaker’ in their Twitter profile.
Then, Jon Prosser got involved and it all became a bit tiresome.
I haven’t got anything against Prosser, he’s just doing his job and has discovered a great little niche. His tongue is always wedged firmly in his cheek, and he is at least prepared to eat his own words. Or shave his eyebrows off.
I will shave off my eyebrows if it doesn’t happen on the 23rd— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) March 9, 2021
It’s what has followed his stage entrance that’s bothered me.
These days, Apple rumours have become a competitive sport. Who do you believe the most? Who has the best track record?
There’s even a league table for it.
The beady-eyed among you will spot Mark Gurman in that list above – a guy who made the leap from Apple leaker on 9to5Mac to front-page headline maker for Bloomberg.
However, if we take a step back, it all looks a bit silly, doesn’t it? Sure, we get some genuine supply chain information from real analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo, and it’s interesting to consider what they might mean for future product iterations.
But betting your eyebrows on when an Apple event is going to take place?
I’m ready for a break.
Apple is always one step ahead
The days of iPhone prototypes being left behind in bars by intoxicated Apple employees are long gone (thankfully).
Apple knows how big the Apple rumour mill industry is. It fuels website visits, encourages clicks and builds personal brands. So, they have a laugh with it. And while I have no proof of this, it’s almost certain that Apple is more than happy to ‘accidentally’ drop the odd bombshell about a forthcoming product.
You can just picture their teams flicking through the latest round of rumours, half-truths and wild theories. Beers in hand, popcorn wedged between their knees; I bet it’s a right laugh.
However, it’s what they actually do with the real products that’s fascinating.
The 16” MacBook Pro… gotcha!
It was going to be thinner or thicker. There would be an SD card slot. The TouchBar wouldn’t be there any more. The bezels would vanish. It was going to be made available in black. It’d feature new display technology no one has ever seen before on a laptop.
Remember those 16” MacBook Pro rumours?
Remember what actually hit the shelves?
It was the same MacBook Pro design that dates back to 2016, albeit with brand-new internals, better thermal performance and a slightly bigger screen.
Fast-forward nearly two years and we’re still waiting for the long rumoured MacBook Pro redesign. Will we see it later this year? The rumours suggest so, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it doesn’t debut until early 2022. I can’t think of a single rumour surrounding this particular Apple device that I care to believe anymore.
Goodbye element of surprise
I think what bothers me the most about Apple rumours is that they so often spoil the element of surprise – and not necessarily in the way you might expect.
They usually paint pictures of devices that only exist deep down in the bunkers of Apple’s testing labs. So fanciful are some of the rumours that they effectively dampen the impact of the actual product when it’s unveiled.
The new iMac is a classic example of an Apple product that could never live up to the constant flow of renders and Reddit rumour threads. If you paid attention to any of them, you’ll have been expecting an iMac which was, to all intents and purposes, a Pro XDR monitor containing a computer running the latest and greatest M-series chip.
What arrived was an iMac which looks a bit like the old iMac, containing what is effectively an M1 Mac mini wedged inside that big chin.
Yeah, it’s an M1. Not an ‘M1X’, ‘M2’ or ‘MPROMAX’.
The biggest design change for the new iMac (beyond that undoubtedly impressive new logic board) was a strict diet. According to YouTube superstar reviewer MKBHD, the new iMac is so thin, they had to place the headphone input on the side – because the jack itself would pass straight through the computer if it was mounted on the rear.
Fun fact: This new iMac is so thin (11.5mm) that it can’t fit a headphone jack on the back (typically 14mm deep) so they HAD to put it on the side. pic.twitter.com/obVif0xy0B— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 20, 2021
Cue endless fury over Apple’s insistence on retaining that “ugly” chin and not being brave enough to go the full-on XDR route.
The reality is that this was always how the new iMac was going to look. And maybe – just maybe – if the rumours hadn’t been quite so wide of the mark, we’d have given that new iMac a slightly better reception.
I like the new design. I even like the fact they put the M1 inside; it makes total sense strategically and commercially.
It’s a similar story with the iPad mini. Many people (including yours truly) wanted a new version of Apple’s smallest tablet. Get rid of the bezels, flatten the sides and make it look like the iPad Pro and Air, we cried.
They didn’t. In fact, the iPad mini was conspicuous by its absence at the Spring Loaded event. And you know what? I’ve not heard one person mention it since – even those who were calling for its revival.
I’m now wondering if we’ll see another version of the iPad mini at all. Maybe Apple has simply left the decision of its fate to the sales figures. That’d make sense, wouldn’t it? They’re a business, after all.
Join me and have a rumour detox
I’m going to stop paying attention to rumours for a while. I have no doubt that this will dent some of my analytical ability when producing content, but I’d rather stick with what I know to be true.
Fancy it? Or do you enjoy the rumours? Maybe you contribute to them! As always – get involved in the comments!