Apple confirms 'Asteroid' project with GarageBand distribution

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Has anyone else found this file? I noticed when i was unpacking the app (i had zipped it up) "asteroid.tiff" caught my eye. I tried to open the file but it wouldn't work. I opened it in BBedit and it said this in the top "(This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0)" followed by alot of similar characters: "2m!!!$r!!!!r`" over and over and then some stuff that looks like it could be a file.



Ideas? Just apple messing with us?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    AppleInsiderAppleInsider Posts: 42,965administrator
    As if there was any doubt as to the authenticity of an Apple audio product code-named 'Asteroid' or 'Q97,' tipsters have recently uncovered incontrovertible evidence corroborating reports of its existence and intended operability with the company's recently released GarageBand 2.0 music software.



    Nestled deep within the contents package of Apple's new GarageBand 2.0 software, -- currently shipping with most of Apple's computers -- is a single image file named 'asteroid.tiff.' Unfortunately, the file is incomplete or improperly encoded, and therefore will not display. Nevertheless, it is present and clearly labeled, with a last modification date of over one week prior to the first reports of Asteroid surfacing on the web.



    Asteroid was the code-name for an internal Apple project that was to deliver an Apple-branded analog FireWire audio device (breakout box) that would let users plug in external audio device attachments (instruments), and directly record audio tracks on their Macintosh using Apple?s GarageBand 2.0 music studio application. The hardware device was to retail for $129.



    Since AppleInsider's breaking story on Asteroid, much controversy has surrounded the project. Asteroid was initially expected to debut last month at Macworld Expo, but may never see the light of day. As recently as this weekend, sources told AppleInsider that Apple has "postponed the project indefinitely" due to poor intitial execution.



    Asteroid was just one of several new products believed to be under development by Apple's newly formed iPod division. The company is still expected to debut at least one music related hardware product over the next 12 months that will not be categorized as an iPod.



  • Reply 2 of 33
    tednditedndi Posts: 1,921member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by spiral

    Has anyone else found this file? I noticed when i was unpacking the app (i had zipped it up) "asteroid.tiff" caught my eye. I tried to open the file but it wouldn't work. I opened it in BBedit and it said this in the top "(This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0)" followed by alot of similar characters: "2m!!!$r!!!!r`" over and over and then some stuff that looks like it could be a file.



    Ideas? Just apple messing with us?






    Wow great find! and a first post?







  • Reply 3 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally posted by TednDi

    Wow great find! and a first post?









    No. I used to post often (Registered 2001) but did the posts get reset? I haven't posted in the past year though.



    Also, my post title was altered by the mods. I did not say "Asteroid confirmed etc." I just asked if anyone else had found the file and if they were able to open it.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:

    Originally posted by spiral

    No. I used to post often (Registered 2001) but did the posts get reset? I haven't posted in the past year though.



    Also, my post title was altered by the mods. I did not say "Asteroid confirmed etc." I just asked if anyone else had found the file and if they were able to open it.




    Spiral,



    A couple years ago the admins lost the forums database. Everyone and their post count was lost. As for the title, I merged your thread with the one automatically created by the AppleInsider system when we post an article. It takes the title of the AppleInsider story, nothing personal.



    All the best,



    Kasper
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally posted by spiral

    Has anyone else found this file? I noticed when i was unpacking the app (i had zipped it up) "asteroid.tiff" caught my eye. I tried to open the file but it wouldn't work. I opened it in BBedit and it said this in the top "(This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0)" followed by alot of similar characters: "2m!!!$r!!!!r`" over and over and then some stuff that looks like it could be a file.



    Ideas? Just apple messing with us?




    Have you tried renaming a copy of it to end with .hqx (the binhex suffix) and opening it with Stuffit Expander?
  • Reply 6 of 33
    bergzbergz Posts: 1,045member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    incontrovertible evidence confirming its existence



    ...



    a single image file named 'asteroid.tiff.'... the file is incomplete or improperly encoded




    Is this any more reliable than the Powerbook G5 html code?



    (I'm only questioning the "incontrovertible" evidence, not the sources mentioned.)



    --B
  • Reply 7 of 33
    Quote:

    "postponed the project indefinitely" due to poor intitial execution.



    Interesting, I am assuming the initial version sucked really bad. Maybe Bill Gates should take notice.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    tednditedndi Posts: 1,921member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by TednDi

    Wow great find! and a first post?













    Still, GREAT FIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    and sorry about the reset!







  • Reply 9 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    As if there was any doubt as to the authenticity of an Apple audio product code-named 'Asteroid' or 'Q97,' tipsters have recently uncovered incontrovertible evidence confirming its existence and intended operability with the company's recently released GarageBand 2.0 music software.



    Sorry, but I don't think this is anywhere close to being "incontrovertible evidence", as I demonstrate below.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    Unfortunately, the file is incomplete or improperly encoded, and therefore will not display properly. Nevertheless, it is present and clearly labeled.



    I have successfully decoded the file:







    As you can see, this is far short of a confirmation of any upcoming Apple product. Perhaps the GarageBand developers are playing a joke on the rumor sites?



    In case you think I made this image up myself as a joke, here are the steps to reproduce it yourself:



    1. Download the BinHex source

    2. Remove the header and footer so that you have only the C source

    3. Comment out line 23 and remove " - timezone" from line 323.

    4. Save the file as "xbin.c" and compile it using "gcc xbin.c"

    5. Rename the resulting "a.out" file to "xbin"

    6. Do "chmod +x xbin"

    7. Extract the asteroid.tiff file from the GarageBand 2.0 package and place it in the same directory as xbin

    8. Run "./xbin -v -n asteroid asteroid.tiff"



    If everything goes correctly, this will produce a file called "asteroid.data". Rename it to "asteroid.data.tiff" and open it. You will see the image above.



    Trevor
  • Reply 10 of 33
    m01etym01ety Posts: 278member
    Takes guts not to release a product because it was crap (== "pure initial execution").



    Glad to know they have standards left. Wonder if it was Steve directly who pulled the plug?
  • Reply 11 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vocaro

    Perhaps the GarageBand developers are playing a joke on the rumor sites?



    That's what i assumed. I would like to see the image. It doesn't show up in the forum. Nice sleuthing.



    Here is the image vocaro posted (it was a tiff so i just changed it to a gif). That is hilarious! That's a pretty sweet joke.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:

    Originally posted by spiral

    That's what i assumed. I would like to see the image. It doesn't show up in the forum. Nice sleuthing.



    For the record, the 'Asteroid' project was not a joke. Seriously, have you guys been following the news the last couple of months? Also, that end result of that image decoding does not look like a 28KB image the original file implied, nor do I believe the placement of the file is a 'joke,' but you guys are free to speculate to your hearts delight. If anything, the image was a placeholder. Also, if you check the creation date of the file, it is a full two weeks before any publication, including AppleInsider, first mentioned Asteroid.



    Kasper
  • Reply 13 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally posted by spiral

    I would like to see the image. It doesn't show up in the forum.



    Oops, I was linking to the wrong file. Should be fixed now, as long as your browser can display PNG images.



    Trevor
  • Reply 14 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kasper

    [B]For the record, the 'Asteroid' project was not a joke. Seriously, have you guys been following the news the last couple of months?



    For the record, no one is suggesting that the project was a joke, only that the image might be.



    Quote:

    Also, that end result of that image decoding does not look like a 28KB image the original file implied



    Why not? After unHexing, it becomes a 17KB TIFF image, which is perfectly typical for an uncompressed bitmap of that size, and it is not too surprising that BinHexing would add another 10KB of overhead, since it also stores the resource fork and other meta data.



    If you still don't believe me, follow the steps I provided and see for yourself.



    Trevor
  • Reply 15 of 33
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vocaro

    For the record, no one is suggesting that the project was a joke, only that the image might be.



    Trevor




    See my comments about the creation date, which I guess you can say was also altered, but then you'd really be stretching your argument



    AppleInsider first published about Asteroid on November 23, 2004. The last modification date on the image is November 12, 2004.



    Kasper
  • Reply 16 of 33
    Easy to decode: ~ Cell chip arrived, but hasn't docked yet
  • Reply 17 of 33
    I think the images' obfuscation strongly points to a developer's prank. If the image were a placeholder, it would not have been binhexed.



    It's not definitely a prank, but then neither is it definitely Apple confirming the Asteroid project. It could just as easily be Apple acknowledging the Asteroid rumors.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bergz

    Is this any more reliable than the Powerbook G5 html code?



    (I'm only questioning the "incontrovertible" evidence, not the sources mentioned.)



    --B




    Actually, I think this is more inctrovertible evidence that the PowerBook G5's are right around the corner (hello March 1st!)
  • Reply 19 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally posted by spiral

    That is hilarious! That's a pretty sweet joke.



    The Rorschach Test will be integrated into the OS.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    bergzbergz Posts: 1,045member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kasper

    AppleInsider first published about Asteroid on November 23, 2004. The last modification date on the image is November 12, 2004.



    All that proves is that whoever stuck the image in there also had access to AI's "sources". You plant the fake angel skeleton, let someone else find it, the rumor spreads, then everyone goes shopping in the new Springfield Mall.



    Ralph: Prinscipal Skipple, Prinscipal Skimpster! I found something! It's a spearhead!

    Miss Hoover: That's your trowel blade, Ralph. It fell off the handle.

    Ralph: And I found it!



    Burns: "Smithers, use the amnesia ray."

    Smithers: "You mean the revolver, sir?"

    Burns: "Precisely."



    --B
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