Unlike most computer manufacturers, Apple shrouds its product plans in secrecy, often unveiling surprise announcements at its annual Macworld expo and usually leading to rampant speculation among the faithful beforehand.
But the run-up to this years San Francisco show, which begins Jan. 10, was a quiet one for the Mac-centric rumor Web sites—until last week.
Then, a spate of rumors—about a sub-$600 Macintosh desktop computer, an external audio connector for musical instruments, and a new or revamped productivity suite—suddenly sprung onto the scene.
And in response, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer Inc. filed suit in Santa Clara County Superior Court against three Web sites, citing inappropriate publication of what the company claimed were trade secrets.
The first rumor to surface was in October, when a Merrill Lynch analyst predicted a flash-based iPod, which would represent a smaller and cheaper alternative to Apples current iPod Mini.
In December, this was given more credence with news of Toshiba making relevant hardware for the prospective product.
Another rumor that has strong backing is that Apple is preparing to announce an inexpensive Macintosh desktop, without a monitor, that would retail for less than $500 or less than $600.
Originally broken by the Web site ThinkSecret, this report found backing in a report from sources close to the company, who said that such an item has been in development at Apple.
However, this product may not be announced at Macworld, but rather at a special event a few months after the trade show.