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Without the hope of the iPhone 5 anytime soon, the Apple rumormongers have turned to Apple TV for all of their tech-gadget fantasies. (Above, one of the many totally made up "concepts" that fanboys have posted to the Web.) Today we get the latest round, with USA Today igniting the 50-inch-screen possibility. And what do you know, the rumor mongers have gotten all chatty -- even though that's an old bit of possibly, but probably not, true info

The Apple rumor mill is a strong, passionate stream that will take the littlest, fakest nugget of information and churn it into lots of almost convincing blog posts. Apple just released a new phone, disappointing all the 5 hopefuls. The real 5 won't be coming out any time soon. And while there are still some 5 whispers, the 4S release quieted that narrative, at least for now. Now it's TV's turn. As soon as Apple gave the tiniest indication that it had revolutionary TV plans, via a posthumous quote in Walter Isaacoson's Steve Jobs biography, the fanboys are eager to speculate. The rumors range from design to content possibilities to release dates.

And we can expect more to come. Apple doesn't release much information on purpose. The company will sit out this year's Consumer Electronics Show next week. While competitors showcase their offerings, Apple gets its free-publicity via the rumormongers, who will continue to speculate the TV of their dreams. Imagining a sleek, 50-inch, cord-cutting device that will take over the living room and make popcorn, too. 

But like the iPhone 5, the Apple TV rumors can't live up to expectations. Rumormongers rarely get the details right, as we saw with the iPhone 5. Many of the reports contradict each other. And, Apple ensures nothing slips out -- no matter how accurate the PhotoShop job looks, Apple didn't let its TV slip into some Apple obsessed blogger's hands. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.