Apple lawyers target Mac rumours site

So will the next iMac be the NeXT iMac?

Yesterday, we noticed that Apple had gagged Mac-oriented Web site MacOS Rumors, forcing the site to remove a couple of stories. The articles claimed Apple is working on a cube-shaped follow-up to the popular iMac.

According to reports today, Apple's lawyers alleged MacOS Rumors had violated the company's "proprietary and statutory rights". It's not clear what those rights are. Speculation on Slashdot centres on the breaking of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and while MacOS Rumors says it hasn't broken one, it's perfectly possible that its sources have.

MacOS Rumors is not well regarded among the Mac user community as a purveyor of quality information, though we've noted in the past that the site does occasionally hit paydirt. In this case, Apple's action against the site suggests MacOS Rumors may have something.

Certainly rumours emerged a month or so back that Apple CEO Steve Jobs would unveil a next-generation iMac at next week's MacWorld Expo in New York. The new machine is said to contain a 17in screen - up from the original iMac's 15in display - and sport a new enclosure.

Whether or not the new machine is cubic - which would be just too reminiscent of the NeXT Cube, developed by Jobs' post-Apple computer company - but MacOS Rumors may have got some of the other details right.

The last time Apple flexed its legal muscles in front of Mac rumour sites was action launched last autumn immediately after a German site MacNews ran leaked pictures of the then upcoming iMac DV family. Apple claimed reproduction of the pics without its permission was a violation of the company's copyrights, and thus the pics were pulled. A week or so later, Apple unveiled the DVs at a San Francisco press conference.

Last month, Apple forced advertising-oriented Web site AdCritic to remove copies of its TV ads, again citing copyright violation. ®

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