Power Mac Leak Provokes Apple Legal

Apple this week moved to block the posting of images that purportedly portray a long-awaited upgrade to its professional Power Mac systems.

In its latest skirmish with independent Web sites bearing unauthorized information about the Mac, Apple Computer Inc. this week moved to block the posting of images that purportedly portray a long-awaited upgrade to its professional Power Mac systems.

On Sunday, French Mac enthusiast site MacBidouille ("Mac Do-It-Yourself") published images and diagrams purporting to be prototypes of the future pro tower, which missed the boat for last weeks Macworld Expo in New York.

Independent sources report that the new towers, which are expected to clock in at speeds faster than 1.2GHz and sport a revamped motherboard, will be unveiled in August. The current Power Macs, which debuted in late January, top out at 1GHz and are based on an older design.

MacBidouilles postings included photographs allegedly showing the new G4s internals, as well as a diagram and a shot of the front of a prototype casing. The new towers chassis resembles the "El Capitan" casing that has been the mainstay of Apples pro lineup since 1999, although the layout has been changed. The photos show the speaker near the top of the case, with a glossed aluminum panel for the optical drives in the middle, and air intakes near the bottom.

Eighteen hours later, MacBidouille officials said the site received an email from Apples copyright counsel, Washington-based Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn PLLC. "Your company may be disclosing Apple confidential business information and/or Apple trade secrets and may be held liable for infringing Apples rights," the letter said, going on to request that the site "cease and desist" from displaying the photographs. MacBidouille removed the material promptly and replied with confirmation that it had been taken down, said Eric Vence, a representative from the site. He added that MacBidouille has not heard from Apple or its attorneys since then. (Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple did not respond to requests for comment.)

"The post wasnt meant to annoy or mess with Apple, but to give hope to all the Mac addicts waiting for an new Power Mac," Vence said in an e-mail to eWEEK. "All professionals have the feeling of being left aside by Apple and are waiting for a new powerful Mac deserving this name." Vence also noted that on the PC side, pre-release information on product is frequently posted to news Web sites, and that companies "dont seem to make a big thing about it." While he acknowledged that Apple likes to keep leaks at bay, Vence pointed out that the company is the only supplier of Mac hardware.

Mac site MacRumors.com also says that it received a copy of the new Power Mac diagram, and that Apples legal department similarly demanded its removal. MacRumors posted additional information on the new towers from its own sources, reporting that it has a slim power supply, will use DDR RAM, and will have a silver case like the Xserve, Apples rack-mounted server.