Final Verdict: Keyboard Fake. iPod UI Real.

A couple of supposed Apple leaks have been distributed over the net over the past week. Rightfully so, each time people question the authenticity of the images that are “leaked”.

In the first instance, some iPod user interface videos were leaked (and later pulled)

In the second, photos of a keyboard purporting to be an unreleased slim iMac keyboard was revealed (and never pulled).

With any supposed image leak, many self-proclaimed experts come out of the woodwork dissecting the images and video with “proof” about why said image is real or fake. For the record, in these instances, the general initial response leaned towards the iPod UI videos being fake (not designed by Apple) and the Keyboard being real (designed by Apple).

This general impression continued despite Apple’s Legal involvement with the iPod UI interface videos, and a notable lack of intervention with the iMac Keyboard photo.

In reading through comments across the web, there were some common claims. I’ve taken samples of these and quoted them here:

1. “Apple were probably the ones that requested this fake news be taken off the website” – GreenAlien

2. “Folks, Apple Legal always gets involved” – tobsterius

3. “…though it should be noted that Apple Legal has previously sought to squelch rumors of products that never materialized. The failed attempt to sue sources from the supposed “Asteroid” breakout box for GarageBand comes to mind.” – Charles Jade/Ars Technica

If you read on, I’ll show that, historically…

1) Apple Legal never gets involved for Images/Video of Fake Products
2) Apple Legal always gets involved for Images/Video Real Products
3) Apple Legal never asked Asteroid information to be pulled

Looking Back

First of all, I need to specify that in looking back we are looking at only leaked images/videos which Apple can rightly lay copyright / trade secret claims to. With a few exceptions, Apple Legal does not demand removal of textual descriptions of rumors of upcoming products.

Real Images

2000. PowerMac Cube Images – Pulled by Apple Legal.
2001. New PowerMac G4 Case Images (image) – Pulled by Apple Legal.
2002. Leaked Mac Pro Photo (Image) – Pulled by Apple Legal.
2004. New PowerMac Photos – Pulled by Apple Legal.
2004. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Screenshots – Pulled by Apple Legal.

Notice a pattern? This doesn’t mean that a prototype or never-to-be-released product could never be leaked, of course. But the history is telling.

Of note, there is one exception to Apple Legal not getting involved with a real leaked image. The 5G Video iPod was leaked (image), but only 30 minutes prior to the keynote address for its release. I guess Apple Legal can’t quite act that quickly.

Fake Images

This list can go on forever. Some highlights of some of the more popular ones.

2001. iWalk
2003. PowerMac G5
2004. iMac G5
2005. iHome
2005. Video iPod
2006. Video iPod.

None of these or the thousands of other fake images floating around the internet have been pulled by Apple legal.

Once, there was a questionable claim by MacShrine that fake iPod AV shots have been removed by a “DMCA request” from Apple.

This claim, however, is highly questionable for a number of reasons:

1. No other site received a notice from Apple despite the images being widely distributed
2. Apple historically has never used the “DMCA” for these requests
3. MacShrine follows up with a Screw the DMCA post with another image that remains up to this day.

On Asteroid

Despite Apple’s legal action against individuals who leaked Asteroid information, Apple didn’t actually issue a cease and desist on the information that was leaked.

Appleinsider’s original Asteroid article remains online for you to read.

Conclusion

So, based on history, my final verdict is Keyboard Fake. iPod UI Real.

If you have an example of Apple pulling a fake image or not pulling a real product image, I’d like to know.

This entry was posted in Apple, Mac Web, MacRumors.com. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Final Verdict: Keyboard Fake. iPod UI Real.

  1. Fest says:

    Makes sense. It gets tricky though when they only sometimes go after the stories (non-image). But good work on combing through the image data…

  2. Davak says:

    A real product would be protected by several different legal ways, but most of these legal arguments break down for fake items.

    Apple typically claims developer confidentiality, copyright, and trade secret misappropriation. However, if the product is fake, then these three claims are no longer valid.

    Apple certainly could attack fake material, but they wouldn’t be able to use those typical weapons.

    Anyway, that’s my long agreement with you. :)

  3. Some Guy says:

    The keyboard is an “EVT” unit. That means it’s for engineering evaluation. To call it “fake” doesn’t really apply. Apple makes many prototypes that never go to production. The “non-cosmetic” designation, means that its color, markings, etc, are not those being proposed for production.

    I worked at Apple for several years, I saw a lot of hardware that never made it out the door. I do believe that this is an Apple EVT, but that has no bearing at all on whether this particular design will go to market.

  4. Arnold Kim says:

    “Some Guy”

    I think you missed the point of the article.

    Despite your personal belief, my point is that (based on history) the Keyboard is not an Apple designed product (engineering sample or otherwise) based on the logic above. You may disagree with that, but I’ve provided the history. You can come to your own conclusion.

    Added clarification, for the purposes of this article

    Fake = not designed by Apple
    Real = designed by Apple

    arn

  5. Steve Jobs says:

    Both are real.

  6. Bill Gates says:

    Both are fake.

  7. Michael Dell says:

    I’m with Jobs on this one. Sorry Bill.

  8. Go Figure says:

    Your leaked Mac Pro photo, #3 under real images, was the last rev. power mac g4, “Mac Pro” as a name was not used until the switch to intel.

  9. Steve Ballmer says:

    SQUIRT!!!

  10. Jon Moriss says:

    Attention all you speculators. Why not be patient and wait until the products are actually announced and released? You all spend too much time predicting. It is a waste of your time. Just be patient. That is what is needed here.

  11. Leopard says:

    The first Tiger screenshots have been leaked and pulled just days before WWDC 2004, but ThinkSecret’s screenshots of Leopard (build 9a499) are still online. Are they fake or is this leak less important (just a few visual enhancements)?

  12. ghost says:

    For fun you should do a search on ipod videos on pirate bay… you may find an interesting torrent there.

    -ghost

  13. Arnold Kim says:

    Well, Leopard is semi-public. All ADC developers have it, and Apple features it on their website.

    http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/

  14. Nolan Bushnell says:

    Atari is real.
    Apple is fake.

  15. I never got to see the iPod UI videos :( They got pulled before I watched them! Dam!! Anyone have a link?? (that hasn’t been taken down?)

  16. Ming says:

    Yeah! I want to see it too!

  17. Thomas Harte says:

    I saw the iPod UI video on youtube shortly after it was pulled from macrumors.com — it isn’t really that interesting. The video showed a screen split vertically, normal iPod menus on the left, graphics on the right related to whatever you’re selecting. Maybe I saw the wrong one?

  18. hey says:

    its real

  19. SnagglePuss says:

    The keyboard is definatly not real! First off, its a MacBook keyboard! Secondly, what is up with all those function keys? What happened to volume and an eject button? I think it was easier for the image faker to continue with “F” keys than to create the actual keys they should be. Just my humble opinion.

  20. Arun V says:

    huge exception to your idea:

    *************************************
    What about the leaked pics of the 5G iPod???

    They were leaked a few days before release and turned out to be exactly the same. They were also not removed (as far as I know)

    *************************************

  21. Arun V says:

    and here is the link to the leaked pic: http://www.engadget.com/2005/10/12/the-5g-ipod/

  22. Arnold Kim says:

    Arun,

    You didn’t read the article closely enough. The 5G iPod is specifically mentioned in the article. It was leaked 30 minutes before its official release. Apple didn’t have time to react. And there’s no “trade secret” to protect once the product is public.

    Engadget’s image is posted at Oct 12th 2005 12:41PM. The 5G iPod was released at a press event which started at 1PM on Oct 12th. (19 minutes later)

    arn

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  24. another dude says:

    What about the photo from the Wireless Mighty Mouse FCC filing that was discovered a day or so before the product announcement? I don’t think the lack of a C&D from Apple Legal guarantees the keyboard is fake. They might have let this product through since it isn’t as important as the iPod or any Mac designs

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  27. blakespot says:

    Heh. You were wrong.

    blakespot

  28. Arnold Kim says:

    hah… yep. I was very wrong. :)

    arn

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