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Apple rumors never cease

The iPad Mini rumor-machine is just getting started. And don't think for a minute that you'll see fewer stories than before. Apple rumors are an unstoppable force of nature.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
The iPad Mini will be a magnet for lots of rumors in the coming months.
The iPad Mini will be a magnet for lots of rumors in the coming months. Apple

Apple rumors are a fact of life.

And it's silly to think that tech sites will begin writing fewer stories about the latest iPad/iPhone chatter.

It's like asking the Washington press corps to stop writing about Beltway scuttlebutt or Hollywood reporters to cease scribbling about la la land -- however frivolous. Ain't gonna happen.

Let's take the iPad Mini Retina rumor-machine (which is just getting started, by the way).

Retina chatter: A Retina iPad Mini is an intriguing prospect, but it's hardly a fait accompli. If it were, Apple would have announced one on October 23.

So my guess is that any remotely tantalizing Retina rumor that surfaces will be picked up and propagated across the Apple universe.

Usually (but not always) for good reason. Getting a 300-pixel-per-inch display into the Mini's tiny chassis is really, really hard. One phone call and any analyst at NPD DisplaySearch -- who analyze the display industry for a living -- will tell you this.

So, a supply chain tidbit from DigiTimes, for example, that cites "backlighting industry" sources talking about a higher-resolution iPad Mini is definitely interesting.

A Retina Mini would require a smaller LED light apparatus than is used in conventional Retina-class displays, as the DigiTimes story alludes to.

DigiTimes: The Asia supply chain gossip sheet is invariably the source of more than a few rumors. The problem is it's accuracy is a reflection of the unpredictable supply chain it covers. I've discussed this with DisplaySearch analysts more than a few times.

It goes something like this. Some big component supplier gets an order from some big device maker, and a Taipei newspaper reports it. Then a few months pass and said supplier runs into a serious unexpected snag in ramping up production (like Sharp, for example, trying to ramp up IGZO display production and failing initially).

So the device maker has to turn to another supplier for a more practical (and less innovative) solution.

As a result, the Taipei newspaper's story doesn't pan out. But that doesn't mean the newspaper was just passing along bogus rumors. It means it reported what it was hearing as a credible development at the time.

These on-again, off-again scenarios occur constantly in the supply chain, according to DisplaySearch. And it's a real challenge for supply chain analysts to determine what is panning out and what isn't.

DigiTimes' problem is that it doesn't filter the rumors as well as, let's say, a DisplaySearch analyst would. But maybe that's not the intention anyway. Maybe DigiTimes feels it needs to pass along gossip as it hears it. Maybe that's what its Asia-based supply chain readership wants.

And analysts are hardly infallible, either. Some analysts in the financial community come up with much whackier Apple theories, masquerading as erudite analysis, that end up being reported as credible speculation.

But reporters will still regurgitate financial analyst musings, complaints about "dumb" Apple rumors notwithstanding.

Like I said, it's a fact of life.