The Apple community is concerned with the company Apple Inc. and its products. Generally this has evolved into a proliferation of websites, all involved in online stories and discussions about Apple's products and how to use them, with some specifically speculating on rumors about future product releases. Such stories and discussions may include topics related to physical products like the Macintosh and iOS devices (e.g. the iPhone, iPod, and iPad); software and operating systems, like iOS, OS X, and Final Cut Pro; or even services Apple offers like MobileMe or iCloud. In recent years, a more specific subculture within the Apple community has developed, where some websites will focus almost exclusively on rumors about new Apple products and services. Apple enjoys a cult-like following for its platforms, especially following the massive increase in popularity for the brand brought about by the huge increase in sales for all its products that started around the time the company introduced the original iPod in late 2001. The mass usage of computing devices in everyday life, mixed with Apple's vertical integration of its products, has helped to bring about this increase in popularity, and combined with a tight-lipped corporate policy about future products, helped foster an interest in the company's activities.
The culture of mass discussion about Apple products goes back to when the company started to sell significant numbers of their original computers in the early 1980s. Latterly, the industry of Macintosh rumor speculation, began with a regular column in the now defunct MacWEEK magazine called "Mac the Knife" and written under a pseudonym. This column would often cover topics such as upcoming hardware releases from Apple, as well as new software products and incremental updates with new features. It was written by the MacWeek staff and was sometimes used by companies as an early form of viral marketing to generate buzz around products before they were ready for release. For instance, Macromedia would tout new features in the upgrade to its drawing program when buzz was building for an imminent release of Adobe Illustrator.
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The Apple community is made up of several websites which exclusively, or almost exclusively, specialize in Apple products. Some have ceased operation, but a great many continue to run successfully.
In addition to these purely Apple info sites, most other mainstream technology journalism sites, including Ars Technica, Engadget, Gizmodo, CNET, Slashdot and GigaOM, include Apple sections, and many prominent bloggers also talk extensively about Apple products, including DaringFireball and The Loop.
9to5Mac is an Apple-focused technology news website founded in 2007 by Seth Weintraub. The site gained fame early on because it accurately predicted the release of the first aluminum iMac, an ultra-thin Apple notebook that was launched as the first-generation MacBook Air, as well as Apple's invention of the aluminum unibody notebook manufacturing process.
The site also gained fame for leaking genuine photos of this third-generation iPod nano as well as details about the first iPod touch. Apple demanded 9to5Mac remove the images of the iPod nano. In recent years, 9to5Mac has continued leading the Apple news industry revealing many details about various product lines.
In 2011, the website's writers originally revealed the "iPhone 4S" name a full six months before the product's announcement—and reported the iPhone 4S would include a Siri Assistant feature with Wolfram Alpha integration, the dual-core A5 processor from the iPad 2, and 64GB of storage capacity.
In 2012, the site revealed much of what would eventually become the iPhone 5, releasing accurate, high-resolution photographs of the device a full five months before the introduction. The site also revealed iPhone 5 details such as internal hardware, display, and software specifications such as an Apple-built Maps application to replace Google services.
The site also detailed Apple's 15-inch and 13-inch next-generation MacBook Pros, noting that it would include the Retina display technology from the iPad and iPhone, a thinner design, and faster internal components. Additionally, the site revealed that Apple's iPad mini would look like a "larger iPod touch" and be priced at $329, which was above many analyst expectations.
The site is also known for publishing breaking news like leaked, high-resolution blueprints images of Apple's "spaceship" campus, and important internal Apple memos such as Apple CEO Tim Cook's letter to employees following the company's win in court against Samsung and letter responding to claims of worker mistreatment in Apple's supplier's factories oversees.
In 2013, 9to5Mac continued its reporting style, breaking the news of an imminent launch of a higher-capacity version of the iPad for education and enterprise users, and by posting photographs of the back of the next-generation, yet-be-released fifth-generation iPad.
MacOS Rumors was founded by Ethan C. Allen in 1995. It was obtained by Ryan Meader after a domain expiration within two years of its creation. Originally with Ethan, the site posted most of its rumors based on screenshots and info sent via email from followers. With Ryan at the helm, MacOS Rumors collected content from message boards and usenet posts but later claimed (unsubstantiated) to have developed contacts inside Apple. In the past few years MacOS Rumors has gained a reputation for being inaccurate. Meader had allowed the MacOS Rumors domain name to expire around July 16, 2007, but then renewed the domain for another nine years and announced the addition of a new staff writer.
Think Secret appeared in 1999. Apple filed a lawsuit against the company alleging it printed stories containing Apple trade secrets. In December 2007 the lawsuit was settled with no sources being disclosed; however, the site was shut down, finally closing on February 14, 2008.
In the year leading up to the closing of the site, ThinkSecret correctly predicted an aluminium shell iMac, development of a touchscreen based iPod starting in 2006, and the relative BlackBerry-esque form factor of the new iPod Nano. However, there were still some reports that turned out to be false, such as its prediction of the demise of the Mac Mini, when it received an upgrade in mid-2007, albeit with no fanfare.
Initiated in May 2002 as MacOSXRumors, MacScoop initially focused on Mac OS X but eventually became an outlet for general Apple news and rumors. The site was renamed MacScoop in September 2006, with MacOSXRumors.com remaining focused on Mac OS X. The site's owner is among those who were contacted by Apple lawyers in 2004 after publishing a Mac OS X Tiger related article.
MacFixIt began in March 1996 as an update site for Ted Landau's Mac troubleshooting book "Sad Macs, Bombs and Other Disasters." The site was originally called "The Sad Macs Update Site" but was renamed to MacFixIt after hosting problems. The site has changed hands, being sold to TechTracker in July 2000, which was purchased by CNET in 2007. With CBS Interactive's acquisition of CNET in 2008, MacFixIt has been integrated into the main CNET blog structure. It continues to offer daily Mac-related troubleshooting, how-to, and review articles, and is written primarily by Christopher (Topher) Kessler.
MacBidouille / HardMac
The French site MacBidouille (French for "MacHacks") used to report rumors, although they stopped for multiple reasons. However, they still "speculate" from time to time, such as for the release of the G5. Most of its articles give technical (testing, fixing, and customizing) or commercial information – and sometimes harsh criticisms against Apple's policy. There is an English version of the site called HardMac, which carries the actual same news and articles (usually with a half-day delay), translated in English by a team of volunteers.
In 2000, MacRumors appeared as an aggregator of Mac-related rumors and reports around the Mac web. MacRumors has over 400,000 members and over 10,000,000 forum posts. In addition to providing rumors, news, and an active forum, MacRumors also broadcasts live coverage of Apple announcements via MacRumorsLive.com.
MacRumors has an Official "Internet Relay Chat" Channel where current events are discussed "Real Time". It is also a place where many Mac users seek assistance from other users. The channel is moderated by "Operators" who provide assistance. The channel can be found at irc.krono.net #macrumors.
The Unofficial Apple Weblog
The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) claims to be "a resource for all things Apple and beyond. TUAW publishes news stories, credible rumors and how-to's covering a variety of topics daily. As a trusted tech blog, TUAW provides opinion and analysis on the news in addition to the facts." TUAW is known for its "Rumor Roundups" which seek to dispel Apple rumors from around the web.
Apollo Report (AR) is an Apple news site established in late 2012. Their web presence is quickly growing with their niche approach to covering Apple news. Many describe Apollo Report as a mash-up of The Onion and an Apple blog.
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OS X Daily
Cult of Mac
Patently Apple - A site reporting on Apple's patent filings, offering a glimpse of possible future products and services from Apple.
Macintosh User Groups
Macintosh User Groups (MUGs) are a group of people who use Macintosh computers made by Apple Inc. or other manufacturers and who use the Apple Macintosh operating system (OS). These groups are primarily locally situated and meet regularly to discuss Macintosh computers, the Mac OS, software and peripherals that work with these computers. Some groups focus on the older versions of Mac OS, up to Mac OS 9, but the majority now focus on the current version of Mac OS, Mac OS X. This user group began with the formation of the Apple User Group Connection.
The Apple communities often coordinate their ranks in extra-community activities. For example, Stanford University's Folding@home distributed computing protein research project keeps track of how much computer power is donated by users, and currently 6 of the top 100 teams are organized by Apple community-related websites.
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Many long recurring rumors in the Apple community have often been found to be accurate, when Apple subsequently announce the release of the product shortly after such rumors begin to mass circulate. They include:
- Apple entering the video game console market (confirmed with the introduction of the Pippin).
- A small, square Mac tower with no monitor. Confirmed with the release of the Power Mac G4 Cube in 2000.
- A cheaper, scaled down, "headless iMac". Confirmed with the release of the Mac Mini in 2005.
- Mac OS X on Intel machines (Confirmed by the Apple–Intel transition in 2005)
- iPod with video playback (confirmed with the release of 5G iPod on October 12, 2005)
- Flash-based iPod (long rumored, confirmed with release of iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano in 2005)
- Video sales at the iTunes Store (confirmed on October 12, 2005)
- Full-length movie sales at the iTunes Store (confirmed September 12, 2006)
- Redevelopment/re-implementation of Apple set-top box/DVR concept (see Apple Interactive Television Box, Macintosh TV) (confirmed with Apple TV on September 12, 2006)
- iPhone (Motorola's Rokr was originally considered to be the iPhone, but an iPhone developed by Apple was confirmed at Macworld Expo January 9, 2007)
- Development of an advanced finger touch-screen device: confirmed with the release of the iPhone, which features a multi-touch technology, and brought to the iPod line with the iPod touch.
- The addition of a spreadsheet application to iWork (confirmed on August 7, 2007, with the introduction of Numbers).
- iPod with a big screen filling its entire front for movie playback (sometimes referred to as "true" or "widescreen" video iPod): Somewhat came true with the iPhone, and fully realized with the iPod Touch, announced September 5, 2007.
- Movie rentals on iTunes Store, confirmed on January 15, 2008.
- An ultra-light subnotebook, confirmed on January 15 with the introduction of the MacBook Air.
- A new manufacturing technique for new notebooks, confirmed on October 14 with the introduction of the unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro. However, it turns out the method for creating new notebooks was not actually "new" as it had been secretly introduced with the MacBook Air.
- Apple iPad, rumored as iSlate or iTablet, was announced January 27, 2010.
- Apple iPhone 4, rumored as the "iPhone HD" and/or "iPhone 4G", was announced on June 7, 2010.
- The new Apple iPod Nano was rumored to be touchscreen. It was announced September 1, 2010.
- A version of the iPhone 4 using CDMA technology to run on the Verizon Wireless cellular network in the United States, long rumored as the "Verizon iPhone" since shortly after the original iPhone on AT&T Mobility was announced, was announced on January 11, 2011.
- A thinner version of the iPad, called the iPad 2, with cameras and a faster processor was announced on March 2, 2011.
- A version of the iPhone with enhanced voice controls, called the iPhone 4S, with a design that closely resembles the preceding iPhone 4 was announced on October 4, 2011.
- A slightly thicker and heavier iPad with retina display, an improved camera, and 4G (LTE) capabilities was confirmed on March 7, 2012.
- A new iPhone, with a longer 4-inch screen, and 4G (LTE) capabilities was confirmed on September 12, 2012.
- A smaller version of the iPad, dubbed the iPad Mini, with a 7.85-inch display, was confirmed on October 23, 2012.
- A new music streaming service called iTunes Radio was confirmed on June 10, 2013. 
Apple's official stance on speculation around any future product releases, is that they do not directly comment on such speculation, nor discuss any products, until they are finally released. Historically, Apple has often used legal means, such as cease and desist orders, in order to retain trade secrets, intellectual property, or confidential corporate information. Typically, however, Apple has primarily pursued the leakers of information themselves, rather than any sites containing rumors on their products. Apple's suit against Think Secret in 2005, however, is targeting whether these sites have the right to knowingly publish this protected information. Staff are also required to sign non-disclosure clauses within the company.
During his January 10, 2006 keynote address to the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Apple's then CEO Steve Jobs poked fun at the rumors community by pretending to create a "Super Secret Apple Rumors" podcast during his demonstration of new features in GarageBand. The domain SuperSecretAppleRumors.com was registered by a member of said community, and used to redirect to the rumor site AppleNova.
- Lyons, Daniel (January 28, 2010). "Going Vertical: Apple returns to an old—and potentially lucrative—way of doing business.". Newsweek. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "Apple Targets Harvard Student For Product 'Leaks'". Information Week. January 13, 2005. Retrieved January 8, 2006.
- Arnold Kim (February 15, 2008). "ThinkSecret.com Now Offline". MacRumors. Retrieved April 24, 2008.
- Jeff Longo (August 7, 2007). "Apple Quietly Updates Mac Minis". MacRumors. Retrieved January 23, 2010.
- No more confusion: introducing MacScoop!
- Markoff, John (March 24, 2005). "Technology; Apple's Legal Drive to Stifle Web Sites Is Fruitless So Far". The New York Times. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
- CNET Author Profile
- MacBidouille.com - News du 2003-09-09
- MacBidouille.com - News du 2002-10-16
- "About TUAW". Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "Team Stats". Folding@home. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- Apple Computer, Inc., v. Nick Deplume, The Deplume Organization LLC, and Does 1-20, case 1-05-CV-033341, Cal. Superior Ct, (Santa Clara), 2005.
- Graham, Jefferson (2006-01-10). "Jobs basks in iPod sales, plugs Macs with Intel chips". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-04-24.