Yes, iMac rumors have subsided in the wake of delivery and availability of the new all-in-one desktop Apple PCs. But this just means that seemingly never-ending Apple TV rumors, along with speculation about the iPhone 5S, iPad mini 2 and iPad, continue to flourish.
Since Apple has never exhibited at the annual Consumer Electronics Show let's encapsulate all the Apple rumors before the madness begins in Las Vegas starting January 8.
iPhone 5S rumors
Even though iPhone 5 has only been out for a couple of months, rumors already are flying about Apple's usual off-year iPhone "S" upgrade, ala the 3GS and the 4S.
For one thing, Apple may return to a June release for the iPhone 5S (or whatever Apple dubs its new smartphone).
"S" updates usually indicate internal changes rather than external, so I expect iPhone 5S will look the same and retain the 4-inch Retina screen as on the current model. An outfit called ETrade Supply already has released photos of iPhone 5S' rear casing, which to my eyes looks identical to the rear of the iPhone 5.
Inside the iPhone 5S, however, Apple is said to be (finally) considering NFC (near field communications; see "What is NFC and 'Mobile Wallet'?") – one model too late, as far as I'm concerned. Samsung has uncharacteristically smacked Apple around with S Beam and other NFC tricks on its Galaxy S III.
But even if it's a bit late to the NFC/mobile wallet party, Apple's sheer muscle could bring NFC's myriad (and, as yet, unrealized) capabilities into the mainstream spotlight.
In the wake of the color Windows Phone 8 handsets from Nokia and HTC, Apple may finally bring iPod Touch-colors to iPhone 5S. Maybe a more colorful – ergo, more aesthetically pleasing – iPhone will force folks to eschew a case. I've already decided to keep my iPhone 5 naked – it's just too pretty to encase in the tech version of a burka.
iPhone 5S also may sport a more powerful processor (perhaps Apple's new A6X – "X" for "eXtreme" – chip, found in the iPad 4), more RAM (internal memory that let's you run more sophisticated apps and more complex games), a higher-resolution camera front and rear, a longer-lasting battery and – what I'm looking forward to – more memory, perhaps 128 GB, thanks to smaller memory chips being developed. I'm already straining against the 64 GB in my iPhone – my 10,000-plus music tracks leaves no room for photos.
What I really want is at least a 4.5-inch screen, but I sense I'll have to wait at least until iPhone 6 comes in 2014.
iPad mini rumors
I love my iPad mini – I've barely touched my regular iPad 3 since the mini appeared. But that doesn't mean mini can't do with some improvements.
For instance, there's mini's sub-standard screen. The iPad mini rumor mill already is churning about an upgrade to a full-blown 2048 x 1356 pixel Retina screen. Right now, mini's sub-1024 x 678 pixel display makes small type, such as CNN headlines, impossible to read without zooming.
Mini also may get iPad 4's A6X processor, Apple's state-of-the-art engine, although I'll be happy with the current A6 brain found in the iPad 3 and iPhone 5 – mini'll need a stronger processor, and a more powerful battery, to run the Retina screen.
IGZO replaces silicon in an active touchscreen's display. As a result, IGZO screens are thinner, higher-density (652 pixels per inch, more than double the 264 ppi of current Retina screens) and more power-efficient than current LCD panels, which means even thinner and longer-lasting iPxxx gadgets.
Considering how skinny iPxxx already are, pretty soon you'll be able to use one to slice tomatoes or steak.
Finally, the rumor mill suggests the next-gen mini may hit shelves as early as March – three months from now. I'm not thrilled with this six-month upgrade pattern – but my wife will be since she'll inherit my current mini.
If the IGZO rumors are true, then we also could see an iPad 5 in three months, six months after the iPad 4's surprise appearance a couple of months ago, which was six months after iPad 3 went on sale.
That's way too many iPads in too short a period of time.
Anyway, if Apple endows iPad 5 with an IGZO screen, it means the next full-sized iPad would be as thin as the mini, which would make it the thinnest tablet in its screen-size class (mini is already the thinnest in its smaller screen-size class), with a longer-lasting battery. Both iPad 3 and 4 are slightly thicker than iPad 2.
Will a razor-thin full-size iPad be more tempting than a skinnier mini? Not to me.
Apple TV rumors
As to what's happening with Apple's HDTV is anyone's guess. Rumors have surfaced about its eminent appearance periodically, just to as quickly subside when nothing happened.
The latest spate of Apple HDTV rumors spurted in the wake of Apple CEO Tim Cook's appearance on "30 Rock with Brian Williams" earlier this month.
But some folks opine – including a blogger edited by a former Apple president – that Apple TV is an "enduring fantasy."
I don't agree. Without going into a blow-by-blow dissertation about this bloggers anti-Apple TV assertions, I think Apple is waiting for the cable companies to wake up to the flaws of its current (and rapidly deteriorating) content delivery system in the face of an increasing amount of streaming content.
Once the cable companies realize consumers want more than they can supply, I believe they'll turn to Apple to bail them out, even it means ceding a bit of control. Cable providers currently are a bit scared – likely rightfully so – that Apple could overwhelm them the way it did the music business.
As a start, Apple has reportedly tried to calm cable company fears by partnering with them on a cable set-top box instead.
Regardless of this intermediate step – perhaps it's a Trojan horse – I think Apple entering the TV business is a matter of when, not if.
The living room TV has and always be the technological centerpiece of a home, and that's simply too great a temptation for a company of Apple's size and ego.
But since Apple doesn't do CES, an Apple TV won't be announced next month in Las Vegas, I can guarantee you that.