Some of the rumors about Apple over the years were just ridiculous.
Everybody loves to read about the latest Apple rumors, and while they sometimes provide us a little bit of insight into future Apple products, they are more often than not patently false. Sometimes, they’re even wildly and comically absurd.
Below are some of the more intriguing and notable Apple rumors we’ve seen in the past 10 years or so. While some may still come true (an Apple HDTV) some were downright laughable from the get-go (Apple to buy Twitter).
So, without further ado, here’s a trip down Apple Rumor memory lane.
Apple and Jay-Z to form their own record label
Say what?! Believe it or not, there was a rumor back in early 2008 that rapper Jay-Z and Apple were going to form a new record label. The rumor gained enough traction that it even appeared on outlets like CNN and CNBC. Early reports even went so far as to claim that Beyonce was set to join the label once her contract with Sony expired.
Not surprisingly, this rumor never came to fruition.
Apple to buy Waze
Apple’s foray into mobile Mapping with iOS 6 was famously fraught with problems. Since then, Apple has improved its Maps app and has even acquired a number of Mapping based companies. During the first half of 2013, rumors emerged that Apple was in negotiations to purchase Waze, a popular mapping and navigation app with a number of clever and fun social features.
As it turns out, Waze was eventually acquired by Google in June of 2013 for a reported $1.1 billion.
Apple to buy Disney
This rumor had a rather long shelf life, perhaps enabled by the fact that Steve Jobs for many years was the largest individual shareholder of Disney stock. And, oh yes, did we mention that he also sat on Disney’s board of directors? While a proposed Apple buyout of or merger with Disney was intriguing, if only because of the parties involved, such a deal never made much business sense and obviously never came to be.
Apple to launch a branded HDTV
This is a rumor that has persisted for quite a number of years and has taken on many different shapes and sizes. One second we hear Apple will be releasing a 55-inch OLED HDTV, and the next we hear that Apple may be releasing 55 and 65-inch models of a 4K TV sometime in late 2014. While the specifics of Apple’s alleged HDTV plans are always changing, the one thing that has remained the same is that Apple retail stores still remain HDTV-less.
Blu-ray coming to the Mac
Steve Jobs calling Blu-ray licensing a “big bag of hurt” didn’t stop a bevy of rumors from pointing to future Macs coming with Blu-ray support. This rumor especially gained traction once HD-DVD went the way of the dodo and Blu-ray licensing became a whole lot less complex. Nevertheless, it’s now 2013 and with optical drives on the Mac now being edged out completely, don’t count on this rumor ever coming true.
Special-edition yellow Beatles iPod pre-loaded with music
The Beatles catalogue of music arrived on iTunes in November of 2010. Long a favorite band of Steve Jobs, the absence of any Beatles music on iTunes was rather conspicuous beforehand. Over the course of a few years, there was no shortage of rumors indicating that the Beatles would be coming to iTunes. What’s more, there was even a rumor that Apple was going to commemorate the news with a special edition yellow iPod (yellow submarine-themed) pre-loaded with every Beatles song. While the Beatles did eventually find their way onto iTunes, this mythical yellow iPod never saw the light of day.
Apple to buy Twitter
Back in 2009 when Twitter was all the rage in Silicon Valley, rumors began circulating that Apple was interested in purchasing the company for upwards of $700 million. Never mind the fact that Twitter would be an absurdly odd fit within Apple and that Apple has never spent that much money on a lone company. Of course, logic often has no place when it comes to Apple rumors, so this one died just as quickly as it spread.
Justin Long was fired from ‘I’m a Mac’ ads
Apple’s famed “Get a Mac” ads — you know, the ones featuring Justin Long as a Mac and John Hodgman as a PC — had a nice three-year run from 2006 through 2009. But back in 2006, reports surfaced that Apple had fired Justin Long. The reason? Consumers felt the Long character was a tad too smug. The funny thing is Long himself was made aware of the rumor and squashed it via his own website, declaring “I’m literally setting my alarm right now to wake up for a Mac shoot tomorrow.” All told, more than 60 “Get a Mac” ads were released, all featuring Justin Long.
Apple to shift AX processor production from Samsung to TSMC
Every year, without fail, we’re treated to new reports claiming that Apple has moved away from Samsung and has instead tapped Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to manufacture its AX processors. We saw such rumors with the A5, A6 and the A7. With Apple clearly trying to distance itself from Samsung as much as possible, this rumor certainly makes sense, but has yet to materialize. Indeed, teardowns of the iPhone 5s reveal that Apple’s A7 processor is made by Samsung.
Rumors that Apple would be releasing a G5 PowerBook first emerged in 2003 following the release of the G5 Power Mac. Weeks passed. Months passed. And all the while, no G5 PowerBook was announced. While Apple executives intimated at various points that it was a product they would like to release in the future, they remained beholden to the G4 and were reportedly stifled by engineering challenges in keeping the G5 processor cool enough to run in a notebook-sized device.
Apple to buy Universal Music Group
Many Apple rumors center on alleged acquisitions, which is somewhat odd given that Apple, as opposed to companies like Google and Microsoft, is much more selective when it comes to corporate acquisitions.
All that said, word spread in 2003 that Apple was looking into acquiring the Universal Music Group record label. At the time, sources from both CNET and the LA Times reported that Apple had engaged in “very preliminary” discussions regarding such a deal. Much like the Jay-Z rumor, however, there wouldn’t be much for Apple to gain in managing its own record label. To be fair, this rumor did make a bit more sense because it preceded the launch of the iTunes Music Store.
iPad 3 to include advanced tactile feedback
This was a somewhat bizarre rumor that emerged in March of 2012, ahead of the iPad 3 launch. The rumor claimed that the iPad 3 would feature a new screen technology with advanced haptic feedback that could mimic the feel of various textures like wood and cloth.
A 4.8-inch iPhone, dubbed iPhone Math
In early 2013, Digitimes reported via the China Times that Apple was planning to release an iPhone with a 4.8-inch screen. Dubbed the iPhone Math, this rumored device was also going to sport a 12-megapixel camera. Not too long after, Digitimes retracted its initial report, though it did maintain that Apple is still developing larger-screened iPhone prototypes.
Apple to discontinue the iPod Classic and the iPod Shuffle
In a touchscreen world, there isn’t much room for devices like the iPod Classic or the iPod Shuffle. So when rumors emerged in 2011 that both products were poised to be discontinued, it certainly seemed more credible than the average Apple rumor. It’s now nearly 2014, and though the iPod Classic and iPod Shuffle don’t contribute a heck of a lot to Apple’s bottom line, they’re still available for sale and prominently featured on Apple’s website.
Apple to release netbook
This was a particularly odd rumor given that Apple executives never missed an opportunity to bash the shortcomings of what was once a popular consumer device. Throughout the first half of 2009, word spread that Apple was looking into releasing a 9.7-inch netbook with a touchscreen. The rumored pricepoint for this device? $800. A few months later, Apple did in fact release a 9.7-inch screened device – the iPad.
Apple to make a bid for Hulu
This rumor emerged in June of 2011, from Bloomberg no less, claiming Apple was considering making a bid to acquire Hulu. Today, one can watch Hulu via the Apple TV, but that’s about the extent of any relationship between the two.
iPhone to support NFC
With a number of NFC-related patents to its name, not to mention a number of interesting NFC-related hires, reports of an NFC-enabled iPhone have persisted for quite some time now. As the rumor narrative went, Apple will enable mobile payments via NFC functionality. With Touch ID now out and in use, Apple still likely has mobile payments on its radar, but may not use NFC to implement it after all.
Apple to acquire Barnes & Noble, TiVo, Palm, Nintendo, etc.
With so many Apple acquisition rumors, we figured it made sense to lump some of them together. Over the past few years, there have been all sorts of rumors involving alleged Apple acquisitions. From Palm to Sony and all sorts of companies in between, you’d think that the rumor mill would have learned long ago that Apple typically purchases smaller companies, like Authentec, that have a product or technology that it wants to integrate into a shipping product. Acquisitions that fall outside of Apple’s product wheelhouse simply aren’t in the company’s DNA.
The iPhone Nano
Thankfully, we don’t hear many iPhone Nano rumors anymore these days, but quite a few made it out of the Apple rumor mill back in 2007. Of course, some of these rumors were more the result of analysts’ wishful thinking than any actual evidence. Almost laughably, a JP Morgan analyst once noted that Apple was planning to release a smaller version of the iPhone, complete with a “circular touch pad control.”
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