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