Did you hear that Steve Jobs is starting a band and is going to force all iTunes users to download his bands’ songs? I just hope that I can catch them on tour before Steve Jobs is rushed to the hospital for an emergency voice box transplant! Everyone loves a good Apple rumor, but hindsight allows us to look back and see just how ridiculous some rumors actually were. Here’s a list of 5 highly publicized and recent Apple rumors that never came true.
1) Super Bowl commercial to announce The Beatles arrival to iTunes with a special edition iPod
The Beatles have been ‘coming to iTunes’ for quite some time now. This rumor reached its peak during the 2007 Super Bowl when everyone had inside info indicating that Apple would reveal a new commercial advertising a new Yellow Submarine themed iPod loaded up with every Beatles song, and of course, a yellow colored casing. Obviously, things didn’t go as predicted.
The commercial was supposed to highlight The Beatles long awaited arrival to iTunes. In hindsight, this rumor seems even more ludicrous given the fact that you still can’t buy Beatles songs on iTunes. Steve Jobs, though, is a noted Beatles fan, and never misses an opportunity to play one of their songs at Apple events, so you can bet that Apple is working hard to bring the music of one of the worlds most popular bands to the iTunes store as soon as possible.
And what about a yellow iPod pre-loaded with music? Well, should The Beatles ever make their way onto iTunes, it wouldn’t be surprising for Apple to release a Beatles themed iPod much in the same way they did with U2 in 2004. Don’t expect the iPod to come pre-loaded with music, though. Instead, Apple would most likely include coupons that could be used to purchase Beatles songs and videos from the iTunes store, as it did with U2’s special edition iPod. One thing’s for sure, this is one rumor that probably won’t die until The Beatles do, in fact, finally come to iTunes. Until then, you can busy yourself with downloading songs from each individual Beatles member, including a 9 minute bongo solo from Jon Lennon.
2) iPhone Nano
This was a ridiculous rumor that somehow gained mainstream traction in July 2007. The rumor started when a JP Morgan analyst cited anonymous sources in the supply channel indicating that Apple was looking to “launch a cheaper version of the iPhone in the 4th quarter that could be based on its iPod nano music player” and that the phone would have a “circular touch pad control” like the nano. WTF?!
Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: Analyst + anonymous sources + supply channel = BS. This rumor was obviously bogus for a few reasons. First of all, the odds that Apple would release a phone with a circular touch pad goes against everything Apple tried to accomplish with the iPhone. The whole point of the iPhone is its large display! Second, the iPhone had barely been on the market for a month and analysts were already predicting that Apple would need to offer a variety of models in order to make a significant dent in the phone market. So basically, this was a case of an analyst making an outlandish tech prediction in order to make his business prediction more plausible. Needless to say, Apple hasn’t needed to release a smaller form factor iPhone in order to make any sales.
It’s amusing to consider, though, that when the rumor first came out, it was reported that the iPod nano would retail at around 300 bucks. Now, you can get a full feature 16GB iPhone for that same price.
3) Justin Long to stop doing “I’m a Mac” ads
This rumor stretches back to November 2006, and supposedly had Apple firing Justin Long because consumers thought he was too smug and liked the “PC” more. Adding further ‘proof’ to this rumor was a supposed comment from Justin Long’s rep stating, “Justin’s a movie star, not a commercial guy.” Eventually, Justin Long himself released a note on his website denying the rumor and mentioning that he was getting ready for a new shoot just the next day. Since the rumor, Long has appeared in a ton of “Get a Mac” ads and the campaign still seems to be going strong.
4) Apple to form its own Record Label with Jay Z
Jigga what?! This rumor gained traction in January of ’08 and was supposedly going to be announced at Macworld. Not only was this rumor “confirmed” by a slew of tech sites, but it was also picked up by business heavyweights such as CNN, Business Week and CNBC.
Well, one thing’s for sure, what Apple rumors might lack in credibility, they sure do make up for with creativity. Sure, Apple created the iPod and helped launch the digital music revolution, but there was never a reason to believe that Apple would form its own record label, let alone with Jay-Z (see below). This is another example of a rumor that has Apple doing something where it has nothing to gain, and a lot to lose. First of all, there are already a plethora of record labels out there, and it’s becoming increasingly common these days for artists to record tracks on their own and upload them for sale to iTunes by themselves or through an Indie label. Second, there’s a lot of work that goes into starting up a record label, and there’s no reason why Apple would ever choose to burden itself with such things. There’s scouting of talent, marketing costs, studio costs, and a variety of other necessary activities that Apple simply has no interest or experience in doing. Apple’s a tech company, and while it might market media content as a way to sell its line of consumer products, that’s where it draws the line. This is a perfect example of a rumor where pundits chime in and talk about “intriguing possibilities” without ever mentioning what those possibilities might actually be.
It should also be mentioned that Apple and Jay-Z have not always seen eye. When Jay-Z released his album “American Gangster”, he refused to sell each track individually on iTunes and released a strongly written note criticizing Apple’s distribution model that allows for single track downloads. He might be Big Pimpin’, but he’s clearly not a Mac.
5) 800 dollar MacBook
At Apple’s most recent MacBook event, rumors abounded about an $800 MacBook that Apple was set to release in an effort to garner market share. This rumor sure got people excited, but unusually aggressive price cuts to garner more market share has never been Apple’s style.
Steve Jobs has a heart attack – Ah, the joys of citizen journalism. This rumor was started this past October on CNN’s iReport website, which is a forum for ordinary citizens to report the news and give the scoop on breaking stories. Or, to give 18 year olds a chance to just make stuff up. Apple immediately denied the story, and this rumor was thankfully nipped in the bud before it got too widespread.
Apple to buy Disney – This was an interesting rumor that had a lifespan of over 7 years. Sure, Steve Jobs is the largest individual shareholder of Disney stock, and yes, he sits on their board of directors, but there was no reason to ever believe that a merger or acquisition of the two companies ever made much practical or financial business sense.
Apple will release a Tablet Mac / Netbook – One of the more intriguing and resilient rumors has Apple releasing a touch screen tablet that would theoretically fill the space left between the iPod Touch and the lower end Macbook. Steve Jobs noted in Apple’s most recent earnings conference call that Apple has some interesting ideas with regards to netbooks, but won’t be releasing anything until they see that the market actually takes off.
Apple to buy Universal Music Group – At one point in time this was considered somewhat plausabile, but was put to rest once Apple launched the iTunes store in 2003.
Blu-Ray coming to the Mac – This is another rumor that has been going around for some time, but especially picked up steam following HD-DVD’s demise. At Apple’s most recent earnings conference call, Steve Jobs fielded a question about Blu-Ray and noted that it’s a big bag of hurt, and while Apple might be interested in including it in future Mac models, Apple is gonna wait until licensing and cost issues become less of an issue.
See Also: PLAY THE STEVE JOBS DRINKING GAME