Armchair Rumour Speculation

I don’t usually cover rumours here, but a post came across my Twitter feed this morning that purportedly shows a dock adapter for the next iPhone, iPad, and iPods, which was posted to Apple’s online store before the link was pulled. I can’t verify the authenticity of anything here, but I can do a little armchair analysis of what we know so far.

A man with the website A White Dot and corresponding Twitter @awhitedot posted several screenshots from Apple’s online store that show this dock adapter to convert a new mini dock port to Apple’s current 30-pin connector. Since the website is probably intermittently down, here’s Google’s cached version. This, on its own, is pretty easy to fake. The publisher must agree, because he also uploaded a screencast showing him navigating around the online store. Interesting, and very convincing.

I haven’t seen any rumours from A White Dot previously, so there’s no way of establishing a pattern of credibility. What I do know is that the oldest tweet from that account is from May 29, and not many tweets have been posted since. He has at least one deleted tweet concerning an “iPhone 5” mockup, but not much else.

The screenshot is perhaps the most convincing piece of evidence. It’s worth noting that the Inspector in the latest version of Safari 6 has a bug that carries modifications made using it through many sessions. In other words, if one were to change the font of the paragraphs on my site to Times, and then refreshed the page, it would continue using Times, and not revert back to the original as in previous versions of Safari. One can make an array of deep changes using WebKit’s Inspector in this way — it’s a very powerful tool. But one cannot change the URL of the page, at least not easily. The URL shown in the video features a product ID (MD594ZM) that follows Apple’s usual naming conventions, but doesn’t correspond to any current SKU.

The screencast and screenshots appear to be from a Retina MacBook Pro, and true to form, the images on the online store do not have Retina assets. Loading up the Apple Store on my Retina iPad confirmed that these are 1x images, without 2x counterparts.

There’s more to it, though, because the bottom of the product page alledgedly shows that it’s compatible with a bunch of unannounced products, including a new iPhone, iPod touch, 7th-generation iPod nano, and two different sizes of iPad. Once again, there’s no way to verify the authenticity of this, but it’s true to many of the rumours floating around.

There’s a lot to unpack here, and a lot of questions. First, why does the Apple web team already have access to the design and press shots of the new products? I was under the impression that they worked with placeholder images until a very short time (a week or two) prior to the announcement of the product. Either Apple’s policies have changed recently, or I’m wrong (or, of course, this is a big fake). The other big question I have is why Apple would produce dock adapters in two different colours. It seems like an unnecessary complication.

It’s worth noting that this wouldn’t be the first time a new product has leaked on Apple’s own website. In 2003, specs were posted to the Power Mac page that, in Steve Jobs’ own words, “looked pretty remarkable“. They were pulled shortly after, but were confirmed to be legitimate at WWDC that year.

This wouldn’t be the biggest leak in the last few years, either. In 2007, someone was able to get their hands on the entire iPhone OS 1.1.3 firmware, and of course, there was the infamous iPhone 4 prototype. But this would certainly be one of the most profound leaks in terms of Apple rumours. Not only does this confirm that the iPhone is getting a new dock connector, but it would also apparently confirm the existence of an 8-inch iPad to be released later this year, along with refreshed iPods. All from a $10 adapter.

Update: Turns out that I fell for a hoax. Good one.