From personal computers and smartphones, to tablets and wearables, half the fun of following Apple is trying to figure out where it's going to go next.
Looking back through the Cult of Mac archives, a lot of the rumors we've brought to light over the years did hint at innovations that eventually found their ways into the sweaty hands of excited customers. But every once in a while a rumor comes along that's so ridiculous it can't possibly be true. And more often than not, that's exactly the case.
Check out our gallery for our picks of top Apple rumors that turned out to be totally wide of the mark.
Apple’s going to reinvent the television set
Apple TV is still awaiting its apparently game-centric overhaul, but the Apple TV this rumor’s about is the long-awaited Apple television set we’ve heard reports of for years now. Of all the reports we’ve heard, the most oddly specific was one from analyst Peter Misek. He claimed Apple would make a television “display, gaming center, media hub, computer, home automator, etc.” that would retail for $1,250, bring in 30 percent gross margins, feature IGZO panels from Sharp, and be called the iPanel. Oh yes, and Apple was building 5 million of them in May 2012.
Of course, absolutely none of this wound up happening. Maybe the shipments sunk on their way over to Cupertino?
Apple plans to buy Disney
Disney is an entertainment giant. But with assets valued at a total of just (!) $81 billion, Apple could probably snap it up with the money Tim Cook uses to wedge his office door open with. There are people who will swear up and down that an Apple/Disney buyout makes perfect sense — particularly given Steve Jobs’ history as a major Disney shareholder.
Recently Francis McInerney, a consultant at North River Ventures, called the deal “frighteningly obvious” and said that “the logic is so great this could happen tomorrow.” Rumors of an Apple/Disney merger go back at least as far as 1999 when it was reported that Disney planned to acquire both Apple and Pixar in a $12 billion stock swap, with Steve Jobs being ordained CEO of the mega-company. Since then, this rumor has come back with surprising regularity — although it’s unknown exactly why Apple would be interested in running theme parks and making animated movies.
One iRing to rule them all
According to Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White earlier this year, Apple’s busy working on an “iRing" finger ring we’ll use to control our Apple devices with. The suggestion was so preposterous that even the usually poker-faced Tim Cook cracked a joke about it.
The reality is that much of the “digital hub” functionality that an iRing would have brought will likely be carried out by the iWatch when it finally surfaces. For those who really wanted this rumor to be true, however, never fear: several companies have created their own third-party iRings to bring this rumor to life.
The iPhone 6 is getting Dark Knight-style sonar mapping
At the end of Chris Nolan’s 2008 movie The Dark Knight there's a scene in which Batman uses Lucius Fox’s sonar concept to turn every cellphone in Gotham City into a huge sonar-based live map in order to find The Joker. Back in 2012 it was rumored that Apple was interested in applying that same technology to its then-a-gleam-in-Apple’s-eye iPhone 6 handset. The tech would allow Apple to integrate audio sensors into its displays, which could detect the proximity of objects to your iPhone: interrupting your podcast app to alert you that a fast-moving large object is approaching you, for example.
Now obviously it’s a bit difficult to disprove this report given that the iPhone 6 itself is still technically a rumor. This one was also based on an Apple patent, which shows that someone in Cupertino at least took it seriously enough to file the necessary paperwork. However, we’ve heard nothing about it since, while more and more details of the iPhone 6 have been leaking on what seems like a daily basis. Maybe one to chalk up for the unsubstantiated rumor pile!
Which is a real shame because if Apple could’ve figured out a way to license Morgan “Lucius Fox” Freeman’s voice for a next generation Siri the combo could have been a total crowd pleaser.
Tim Cook is leaving Apple
Greedy rumor-mongers didn’t even wait until Tim Cook started running the show at Apple to begin spreading rumors of his plans to quit. Back in 2010, investor gossip site Fly On The Wall wrongly suggested that Cook was off to join HP as its new CEO. (Gullible investors actually led to Apple stock dropping 20 points as a result.) Now that Cook is CEO it’s a bit more difficult to make those kinds of reports convincing, so the narrative has instead changed to suggest the Apple board is unhappy with Cook’s performance and plans to drop him at the earliest possible opportunity. Well, plenty of opportunities have presented themselves, but Cook’s still hanging on in there.
Maybe (shock horror!) people have realized he’s actually doing a pretty great job.
A Retina iMac?
There have been rumors of Retina iMacs practically since the day Apple announced Retina display was coming to iOS in 2010. Most of them have been complete nonsense, and Mac fans have had year after year of seeing their ultra-high-res hopes dashed whenever Apple would announce a new Mac product. Unlike pretty much every other item on this list, however, it looks like a Retina iMac may finally be happening, courtesy of recently discovered code in Apple's OS X 10.10 Yosemite beta. But maybe that’s just the optimism speaking...
Thanks to Apple, Jay Z may now have 100 problems.
Apple going out of business
Over the years the reports of Apple's death have been greatly exaggerated.
According to the always entertaining Apple Death Knell Counter, Apple has been declared dead no less than 65 times since April, 1995. Usually the attempt of journalists looking to pick up click-throughs/sell books/make a fool of themselves, the disease can often manifest in business analysts, other CEOs, and generally anyone who should know better. A recent example? Trip Chowdhry, writing for CNBC, who sagely noted that Apple must come up with its debut wearables product within 60 days or it will perish. "It will take years for Apple's $130 billion in cash to vanish, but it will become an irrelevant company ... it will become a zombie, if they don't come up with an iWatch.” See what we mean?
Sadly these rumors won’t go anywhere, regardless of what AAPL stock prices do. Hey, at least they make amusing reading after the fact.
When Disney bought Marvel Studios, they gained a huge backlog of intellectual properties and stories to mine. The Avengers and the various supporting live-action superhero flicks like Ironman and Thor were just the beginning, as we can see from this new trailer (below) for upcoming animated adventure, Big Hero 6, based on the comic of the same name.
“Big Hero 6 [is] an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada,” says the Disney press release, “who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion – a robot named Baymax – Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city.”
Ever since Disney revealed its grand Infinity gaming universe, we’ve been wondering when Marvel-themed playsets would arrive — or even if they would. Disney bought Marvel in 2009, and it made sense the characters would show up: Infinity would be the perfect setting to flaunt the newly subsumed superheroes. Problem was, nary a whiff of Marvel could be found at Infinity’s January 2013 launch.
While movie streaming applications like Netflix and Hulu Plus remain popular for what they have to offer, Disney has just released their own take on the genre. Disney Movies Anywhere is Disney’s latest application, giving users the ability to access an extensive library of Disney movies on the go. With plenty of great options and features available will Disney Movies Anywhere find its way on your devices.
Take a look at Disney Movies Anywhere and find out what you think.
This is a Cult Of Mac video review of the application “Disney Movies Anywhere” brought to you by Joshua Smith of “TechBytes W/Jsmith.”
Anyone who’s done their time babysitting knows the pain of kids wanting to watch the same Disney movie over, and over, and over, all in one day. To make Little Mermaid marathons that much easier/bearable, Disney’s got a new iOS app that lets you watch all your Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies from anywhere without using iTunes.
Apple updated its Apple TV offering this morning to include new channels for Major League Soccer and Disney Junior. The new channels aren’t bound to raise much excitement from average consumers, but sports fans and parents of young kids are sure to enjoy the new additions.
MLS allows soccer fans to hookup to their MLS Live subscription to watch live games across the country, while also keep tabs on scores and standings. There are a number of soccer-themed videos that can be enjoyed for free, and you can watch highlights of your favorite team via the Club Channels.
The new Disney Junior app provides live access to Disney Junior with a cable subscription, as well as access to Disney Junior TV shows on demand, so you can load up an episode of Jake and the Never Land Pirates for your rugrat while you rush around getting ready.
Just after CES wound down back in January, I was part of a (relatively) small group of journalists and bloggers present at the Disney media event that revealed Disney’s Infinity game universe to the world. Problem was, I had no clue why I’d been invited, as all the hoopla was about the console game. Toward the end, I bumped into Bill Roper, Disney’s product development chief, and asked why I was there as I gulped down a delicious, miniature milkshake.
His answer was cryptic. But the reason I’d been invited has just made its entrance onto the app store today — it’s the Disney Infinity: Toy Box iPad app, a virtual sandbox mashup that allows anyone with an iPad to take a variety of Disney characters and play with them in different Disney worlds. And it’s free — for now.
This might just be the kind of rumor only a Hutt could love. According to self-professed “intergalactic” news site Jedi News, the Apple TV could soon get a new channel dedicated entirely to Star Wars on-demand programming.
Apple has today rolled out a new Apple TV update that adds yet more apps to the $99 set-top box. As expected, music video streaming service Vevo is part of the mix, as are the Weather Channel and the Smithsonian, and two new apps from Disney.
Apple is reportedly looking to skirt the cable companies and strike up deals with HBO, ESPN, Disney, and Viacom to offer their content on a new pay TV service. Rather than distributing content in channels, Apple’s strategy would emphasize apps over cable TV according to a report from QZ.