What on earth has happened to the Apple rumor mill?

There’s no way around this, this column is definitely going to sound like an old mythical beast yelling at the terrible state of things these days. If you cover anything for long enough, though, you might get jaded and the Macalope has been writing about Apple for…

[Looks at calendar]

Oh, god. Is that right?

Well, you can either read on or just pile some sticks around the Macalope so predators don’t get him and move on with your lives.

Let’s talk rumors. According to Mark Gurman, Apple is working on–and here the Macalope feels he must point out that this is actually what Gurman is reporting, not one of the Macalope’s fever dreams, induced by consuming tainted alfalfa–a table top robot with Apple Intelligence that can follow your face around the room for FaceTime calls and even nod when the caller nods.

So. Now the Macalope can reveal the real reason he’s called you all here today. Because he wants to know who asked for this.

Looking at you, Todd. You weirdo.

This does seem weird, right? Still, the Macalope’s not going to write an “Apple Has Lost Its Way” column based on a rumor like this. Honestly, he’s probably not going to write one based on anything ever. Tim Cook could get lost in the Amazon and the Macalope would probably look at his dot wandering around Brazil on Find My and say “Mmm, let’s keep watching for a while. I think Tim’s got this.”

Apple works on a lot of things that never get released. Every once in a while it even announces things that don’t get released (RIP AirPower, 2018-2019). So we don’t know for sure if the company is going to ship a tabletop robot that will aggressively make eye contact with you and nod and be ten times as creepy as those Vision Pro eyes. And, hey, if it does, maybe it’ll be cool.

It doesn’t sound cool. It sounds weird as heck. But maybe it’ll be cool.

The sad part to this furry observer is that we have entered a phase of tech product development where all anyone seems to conceive of is shoving AI into a device and going “Is this anything?” (Spoiler: it’s not.) When even Goldman Sachs starts wondering if the AI emperor has no clothes, you might want to consider whether or not you could make something else, something actual people want instead of yet another way to ruin the internet and outsource jobs to something built on copyrighted material you misappropriated.

Back when the Macalope first got into the highly lucrative online punditry business, there were three big Apple rumors: a set-top box, a phone, and a tablet. (Yeah, it was that long ago.) These were devices you already knew you wanted (even if the Apple TV didn’t turn out to be quite the breakout hit the other two are.)


The Macalope fully expects the AI hype cycle to pass, even if it will likely have more long-term impact on general users than previously over-hyped technologies like crypto, NFTs, and the blockchain. And Apple’s slow roll on AI will probably pay off. According to Gurman, an Apple Intelligence-powered Siri won’t arrive until iOS 18.4, which probably means early 2025. By then it will probably be more clear how usable this technology actually is.

If we take the Vision Pro and Apple Intelligence as the two big Apple products of 2024 then it’s easy to see why the Macalope might be unmoved by the company’s newest offerings. Neither of them is really for him. And neither is a tabletop robot.

This current malaise will almost assuredly pass. It’s not like Apple hasn’t been able to produce amazing products that the Macalope has loved under Tim Cook. Both the Apple Watch and Airpods have been huge successes that went from flop to everywhere in just a few years. These are tangible devices that fill gaps in our lives we didn’t even know existed. Apple’s long-term goal for the Vision Pro is most assuredly to do the same, it’s simply not there yet.

But, hey, if Apple wants to make the Macalope happy in the meantime, it can always make a new iPhone mini.

Source : Macworld