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OS X on Windows
Before Boot Camp and Universal apps, reports surfaced every few months surrounding a fabled project deep inside Cupertino’s labs. Codenamed Star Trek and Marklar, the rumor dates back to 1992, when a group of Apple developers set to work on building a PC-compatible version of the Mac OS. Lying dormant for years, the project was publicly revived in 2002, when eWeek revealed that Apple was again working on “steadily on maintaining current, PC-compatible builds of its Unix-based OS.” Of course, we learned that Apple had, indeed, been developing concurrent builds of its cats in preparation for a switch to Intel processors, but that has done little to stem the tide of tipsters calling for the impending release of an OS X version capable of running on any old PC. It’s a scary proposition that loses a little more credibility with each market share gain, so unless we start reading about the Stark project, we’re not holding our breath.
Back in January 2002, when Apple was busy prepping the launch of its revolutionary flat-panel “sunflower” iMac G4, a little known rumor site published a purported video of a next-generation Newton device that turned the community on its head. Featuring a sleek, aluminum body, OS X-inspired curves and buttons, a giant tap-sensitive screen, and an iPod-like jog dial, iWalk had many of us ready to hand over our credit cards, price unseen. Even after it was deemed a hoax, many still wanted to believe, and to this day the iWalk rumor holds an esteemed place in Apple lore, lasting longer than the site that started it.
Back on April Fool’s Day 2000, a post on the comp.sys.newton.misc newsgroup proudly declared that Apple Senior Technology VP Avadis Tevanian had unveiled the then-top secret iPad, which wrapped the best Palm and Newton had to offer in a translucent, smoke-gray enclosure, with a 480x320 color LCD screen, 16MB of RAM and an SA7100 processor running a specialized version of PalmOS “borrowing liberally from Apple's homebrewed Quartz technology.” What started as a silly prank turned into an 8-year running joke that has morphed from a handheld device into a full-fledged tablet, growing more fantastic with each new mockup and touch-screen patent application. Of course, we want want one, but we can only take so much teasing.
About halfway between iPad and the PowerBook G5 lies the holy grail of Apple rumors. Essentially envisioned as the top half of a MacBook Air with a higher-resolution, Multi-Touch screen, the Tablet Mac is the ultimate marriage of form and function, bringing iPhone’s sleek mobility to the most drool-worthy Mac ever created: dipped in aluminum, wrapped in smooth curves, oozing power and packed with the latest wireless conveniences. Even without a fake iName, the Tablet Mac is the one rumor that never fails to make us stop in our tracks and click. Steve has tried to squash hope for “a notebook that you can write on,” but we know the truth: 50,000,000 tablet rumors can’t be wrong.
Better known as the straw that broke the camel’s back, Asteroid was first revealed by AppleInsider in late November 2004. Described as a fairly simply FireWire audio device fitted with two XLR/ TRS audio input connectors, two RCA analog output jacks and a standard headphone jack, Asteroid was presumed to debut alongside a new version of GarageBand with a $129-$149 price tag. It wasn’t a particularly thrilling rumor and seemed a bit out of Apple’s spectrum, and Think Secret’s astounding declaration a few days later that a sub-$500 Mac would be unveiled at Macworld quickly overshadowed it. But rather than issue the usual cease-and-desist notices (popular for rumors that hit a little too close to the mark), Apple instead filed a civil suit against every site that published Asteroid info, seeking damages and the identity of the leaker(s). It’s been widely speculated that Apple publishes fake rumors ahead of major events to throw the populous off its scent, but the aptly named Asteroid rumor seems to have been fabricated with the sole intention of bringing down the rumor culture --- or at least a part of it. Think Secret would eventually become the sacrificial lamb, doomed by the overall accuracy of its reporting, and we’re all a little worse off for it.
Home on iPod
Apparently conceived as a mobility solution for Panther, Apple actually spilled the beans on an unannounced mobility solution that “lets you store your home directory -- files, folders, apps -- on your iPod (or any FireWire hard drive) and take it with you wherever you go. When you find yourself near a Panther-equipped Mac, just plug in the iPod, log in, and you’re ‘home,’ no matter where you happen to be.” It was quickly removed from both the site and future Panther builds, and has since become the greatest feature we’ll never see. Consequently, each new OS release gets its very own Home on iPod rumor, and the advent of the iPhone platform has only served to strengthen the speculation that this feature will, indeed, see the light of day. Until then, Back to my Mac will have to suffice.
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