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Apple vs. MacOS Rumors: just a cunning stunt?

We suspect not - but that doesn't mean the site's right

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Mac Web site MacOS Rumors' bluff was called yesterday when one of the two articles claimed by it to have been pulled at the request of Apple's legal team were posted on Apple's own public Web server.

Meanwhile, one enterprising Mac user claimed to have emailed MacOS Rumors with entirely ficticious information about what the site claimed was Apple's upcoming next-generation iMac - only to see the fake specs. and codename appear in the MacOS Rumors story.

Rumour sites are a highly emotive issue among wired Macatistas, with MacOS Rumors and AppleInsider the main standards around either of which users rally to throw vitriol at the other. However, MacOS Rumors certainly comes in for the most flack. As we noted in our story on the legal assault claim yesterday, "MacOS Rumors is not well regarded among the Mac user community as a purveyor of quality information."

One Mac fan, Alan Smithee, yesterday posted the text and images from one of the missing MacOS Rumors stories on his Mac.com homepage - a site hosted free of charge by Apple on behalf of MacOS 9 users. Smithee claims that Apple did not force MacOS Rumors to pull the stories and that the site made that up to get publicity. Smithee challenged Apple's lawyers to force him to pull the story - if they don't, he said, that proves MacOS Rumors' alleged duplicity.

Incidentally, we note that 'Alan Smithee' is the name used throughout Hollywood by directors who are keen to hide their own names from movies that are either crap or heavily re-edited by the studios. Whether this applies to the MacOS Rumors-challenging Mr Smithee himself or how he views his enemy remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the equally psuedonymous-sounding Jonathan Apple claimed to have fooled MacOS Rumors into posting false information on the new iMac, including the machine's codename, 'Rubicon'; "a funky molded rubber covering that makes it nearly impossible to slide the box along"; "slide out (fold out is more like it) handles, on the back" and "an LED that turns on when you open the case".

Writes 'Apple': "Without further ado, the latest details culled from the past day's reports: 'Several sources with long and distinguished track records now concur that this design is indeed the planned enclosure for 'Mystic', the multiprocessor Power Mac G4 based on the UMA-2 motherboard chipset. The unconfirmed codename for the Cube enclosure is 'Rubicon'."

Not long after, the story was pulled from MacOS Rumors, allegedly at the behest of Apple's legal department.

Having now actually seen the alleged details of the cubic Mac - assuming, of course, that Smithee's posting really is the one that appeared in MacOS Rumors; conspiracy theorists are going to love this... - we're not surprised by claims that the machine isn't real.

The 'artists impression' - 'MacDraw-created sketch' would be more appropriate - shows a crude square box. We can't go into detail here since it appears to have been... er... pulled from Smithee's site...

The issue here is clearly the use of the Apple logo on the machine pic, something Apple jealously guards. Our take on the story - for what it's worth - is that Apple may well have asked MacOS Rumors to remove the pic, but only because it contains the trademark Apple logo. That's probably why it's now missing from Smithee's page too. In short, it's nothing whatsoever to do with the veracity (or otherwise) of MacOS Rumors' stories, but of basic trademark infringement - hence the claim that Apple's lawyers described the violation in terms of Apple's "proprietary and statutory rights".

Our own Apple sources said they had yet to hear from Apple's legal department after a request for clarification. When they hear anything, we'll let you know.

As for the cubic Mac, we did notice the (very broad) similarity between the sketch and AppleInsider's recent artist impression of Mystic. The latter is a Power Mac G4 with bowed out sides to accommodate the extra cooling required by the four PowerPC 7400 chips the machine has allegedly been designed to contain. MacOS Rumors' could easily have been drawn from AppleInsider's pic (not necessarily by the site itself) or both could have been culled from similar verbal or illustrative descriptions of the same box. Until Apple releases Mystic - if it ever does - we won't know. ®

Related Story

Apple lawyers target Mac rumours site

Related Links

Alan Smithee's Homepage
Exposé: How you can be a Mac OS Rumors Inside Source!
AppleInsider's Mystic pics

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