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Rumor Has It
'iRadio' could be music to Apple's earsThis week on Rumor Has It, Asus might be cooking up another low-cost tablet, but we're too into watching TV to really care; a Facebook rumor gets debunked in less than 48 hours; and we revisit Apple streaming-music rumors.
KARYNE: Hey, I�m Karyne Levy EMILY: And I'm Emily Dreyfuss. KARYNE: Welcome to Rumor Has It! The show where we round up the week's biggest tech rumors. EMILY: And vote on what sounds legit, and what seems like it'll never ever happen. KARYNE: And remember: you can vote on all the rumors! Keep your eye out for the poll in the interactive player, if you're watching on CNET. EMILY: First, Cult of Android reports that Asus may be working on a new low-priced Android tablet that�s just a little bit stripped down from the Nexus 7. Why do they think that? Someone apparently tested an Asus tablet matching these specs on benchmark site GLBenchmark.com. Now, Asus is the manufacturer of the Nexus 7, and there had been rumors that it would team up with Google to make a $99 version. KARYNE: But then that rumor was called into question when DigiTimes reported that Google was going to work with someone else -- not Asus -- on the lower-cost Nexus 7. EMILY: So, this could mean that Google IS going to work with Asus on the lower-end Nexus after all. KARYNE: Or that Asus is just making this on its own. EMILY: Or these benchmarks are an error, this tablet doesn�t exist, and we should all go back to watching �Homeland� and not worrying about this. KARYNE: Amen. KARYNE: Next up, we have the birth and death of a rumor, all in a matter of days. TechCrunch reported that WhatsApp was in talks to be acquired by Facebook. WhatsApp Messenger is a popular cross-platform mobile chat program with about 100 million daily users. The thing is, however, we don't buy it, and here's why: This week Facebook announced its OWN new Messenger app, which is essentially an instant- messaging network, complete with separate apps to use the service. But people need only a phone number, and no Facebook account, to use it. So it's basically a WhatsApp copycat! EMILY: Because of that, we conclude that TechCrunch�s �sources� were wrong. Barring some behind-the-scenes story we aren�t anticipating, there�s just no incentive now for Facebook to acquire a pre-existing chat app.. EMILY: Finally, an Apple rumor that some of you are excited about is heating up again. Back in September we reported a rumor that Apple was coming out with a streaming-music service, and now market-research firm BTIG Research predicts that this WILL in fact happen sometime in 2013. The research report insists that iRadio, as it's being called, will be quote unquote �vastly superior to Pandora,� however, with: a global solution, increased skips and maybe most importantly, extended caching so that wireless dead-zones are no longer a problem... KARYNE: Remember that Apple bought the music-streaming site Lala.com in 2009, and according to a New York Times report in September, the only reason Apple didn't announce this service at the iPhone 5 launch event was because of failed negotiations with Sony/ATV Music. EMILY: And that is precisely why I think this report is bunk. Apple is not good at wooing industry execs. They famously don�t play by the �wining and dining� rules that music labels operate on. Unless their pricing scheme is radically better for the labels than Pandora�s, I don�t see the labels getting on board with this. And I really don�t see Apple offering a better profit margin than Pandora. Not their style. KARYNE: Like I said back in September, I think this report is likely true. Pandora is the one product that Apple has not yet tried to kill. Making the "Radio" button more prominent in iTunes 11 is further evidence that Apple has something up its sleeve. And it could be awesome! It would have access to your music library -- so it would already know what you like, without you having to tell it. EMILY: What do you guys think? Will Apple enter the murky mire of streaming music to release iRadio in 2013? How do you think it could be better than Pandora? Leave a comment, and don't forget to vote, while we check in with the CNET council. KARYNE: And the CNET verdict is...split, three out of six of our editors think Apple will NOT come out with a streaming radio app, three think they will, and of the three in favor, only one editor was optimistic enough to believe it will be �vastly superior� to Pandora. EMILY: We had so many great comments about Darth Vader�s new role in Disney�s Star Wars franchise -- it was really hard to pick a favorite. Some were funny, some were angry, many were creative, all were delightfully nerdy, but this one seemed like the most probable. Will you please read this in your best nerd voice. KARYNE: Sure, my nerd voice has allergies. This one came from triarii3: In the time between Episode III and Episode IV, Darth Vader took 20 years to travel around the galaxy and hunt down Jedi in hiding after the Jedi purge. I can see some epic story (even a trilogy) that might spin out from this time frame...which could also give us more insight on the early days of the Rebellion. EMILY: That�s our show everyone, share your rumors at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-800-750-CNET. And tweet us! KARYNE: Tune in next week for more tech rumors.