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A lot of speculation arises around U2’s involvement in iPhone 6 launch


Update: Despite the speculation from U2 followers, a spokesperson for the music group said the band will not be performing at the iPhone event or launching an album on the device, according to Irish site “They are not releasing their album on the iPhone, and they are not performing at the iPhone launch.”

Update 2: Not so fast. The article with the denial statement is interestingly no longer available. Google cache here.

We received a tip earlier today regarding a possible U2 and Apple tie-up for the iPhone 6. It seems to be mostly speculation at this point, but some local journalists claim that U2’s latest video shoot in Dublin last week starred a possible next-gen iPhone. They also claim the device will come preloaded with a U2 album:

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I’m not entirely sure that’s an iPhone at all in the image above and I can’t vouch for the sources, but the rumors caught my eye for a couple reasons. Of course U2’s past relationship with Apple and collaborations for the iPod and marketing campaigns is one thing, but in recent weeks we’ve received other tips regarding a U2 partnership. In addition, there have been rumblings in the U2 fan blog world about the band recently shooting a commercial for Apple that seem to originate from this blog post. 

If the reports from local journalists keeping track of the video shoot in Dublin are to be believed, Apple could be planning to bundle a U2 album with at least one of its new iPhones and the band could debut its new single for that album on September 9. That’s the same date Apple plans to introduce its new iPhone models at a press event in Cupertino, and about a decade after U2 and Apple first teamed up to introduce the iPod.

Adding just a bit more to the rumors are reports that Mark Romanek is the director of the new U2 video. He happens to have also directed past Apple/iPod commercials.


Back in 2004, Apple teamed up with U2 for a special edition iPod that featured content from the band and an exclusive black and red color scheme. The band and its music have also been featured in past iPod commercials, adding slightly more weight to the possibly of another partnership between the two. 

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Apple also has ties to U2 through the company’s contributions to the Product RED charity co-founded by Bono. Earlier this year Bono and Apple’s Jony Ive sat down to discuss the charity and past U2/Apple collaboration during the Cannes Lions Festival.

It’s certainly not confirmation, but we’ve been hearing enough rumors now regarding a partnership that we thought it was time to share while we continue to dig for more info.

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  1. Ro Cutler (@Rctlr) - 9 years ago

    This is not an incentive to get a new iPhone.

  2. Wasn’t Bono hating on Apple? Saying that they don’t do enough? Having a U2 song come preloaded on my iPhone6 could make it or break it for me buying one. I will break it.

    • iSRS - 9 years ago

      Yes, that is how it was reported. But the context was basically “they should be shouting from the rooftops how much they have contributed”

      • WaveMedia (@WaveMedia) - 9 years ago

        You mean they should be shouting from the roof tops how much awareness they’ve created? Because that’s all Bono does. Raise awareness. None of the money ever goes to where you’d expect it to (unless you expect it to just go to the organisation collecting it).

  3. Could this be what that big tent outside Flint Center is all about?

  4. I said it once on twitter and I’ll say it again here. Apple’s building a stage for U2 outside the Flint center for next week’s iPhone event. Heard it here first.

    • irelandjnr - 9 years ago

      Yes, and if you’re wrong we heard it here first.

    • acslater017 - 9 years ago

      Doubt it, if only because Apple KNOWS that structure creates huge expectations for a big letdown. Apple is very aware of public perception and expectations.

      Every single musical artist just goes up on the keynote stage and does their thing. Apple’s line up is super strong this fall. Not that they ever would, but they hardly need a “look reporters! Free concert!”

    • Mike Wëwerka - 9 years ago

      Well, cut off my legs at the knee and call me shorty. Guess I’m wrong… or am I?

      Yeah…. Yeah I’m wrong. My bad. Ya Huurd meh?

  5. theoriginaljcgarza - 9 years ago

    It seems like everyone (including them) has forgotten that their last tour was sponsored by Blackberry…

  6. Mr. Grey (@mister_grey) - 9 years ago

    Disappointing news if true. U2 is not only completely irrelevant as a musical group, they have said some bad things about Apple in the past. Also Bono is a preening a-hole and just generally a not very nice man.

    The PR people are either asleep at the wheel, or insane to think that hooking up with U2 in this way is anything but a negative.

    • How many times have you met Bono personally?

      You must be thinking of what you’ve read online. Yes, everything on the internet is true, including the misquoted bits about Product Red from Bono.

      Irrelevant you say? Umm, ok. Maybe Apple should pre-load one of the flavors of the month. Or maybe Kanye West! Yes, that’s what they should do.

      • Mr. Grey (@mister_grey) - 9 years ago

        U2 hasn’t done anything interesting musically since their first album in the opinion of many music experts (me included).

        Even if you are just going to gauge “popularity” instead of inherent originality and interest, they haven’t been “popular” with the buying public for over a decade. They haven’t had a hit or even a record that was played a little bit on the air for several albums now.

        And yes, when you are selling products by linking to “popular musicians” you actually *do* want to use a “flavour of the month” as you put it, and *not* go with an older group with a more established following. The reason being is that what you are trying to sell is currency, relevancy, and excitement.

        The last thing Apple needs to do is tie their products to a musical act that specifically only appeals to an older generation of white dudes who are based in the USA/UK. They need to be seen as innovative and inclusive, not tired, unoriginal and old.

      • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

        Finally I agree with you Mr. Grey! Honestly if it comes preloaded, I’d be very upset just at having to delete it immediately. It’s just not something any company should do, and Apple is the last company I would expect to do this. I HIGHLY doubt Apple will preload anything like this on the device. That’s like putting stickers on it and preloading it with adware which Phil specifically made fun of in an interview before. I don’t see it happening. Now, if they want to offer a free album download of choice by way of a $9.99 iTunes Credit or promo code, that’s fine. Not this.

      • Kevin Liebler - 9 years ago

        Mr. Grey – can you even name U2’s “first album”? Somehow, I doubt it, because the album wasn’t all that well-known and band’s best work was years away.

      • Right, Mr. Grey. U2 hasn’t done anything interesting musically since 1980 even though virtually every major music outlet ranks their 4th and 5th albums in the greatest albums of the 80’s and 90’s. Also, they have 2 albums out in the last decade, one, a failure, the other the winner of Album of the year in the Grammy’s. So I guess that was played “on the air.” Of course, who gives a shit about them since you don’t agree with them and you are a music expert, right?

        Oh right, but popularity. Yeah, the last tour was the highest grossing tour in history. So the public has clearly turned on them.

        Honestly, they are 50-something and not going to appeal to many people under 30, but I doubt people over 40 give a shit who Iggy and Nicky are, either. Stop acting like you have a handle on culture, commerce, or music, because you sound like an idiot.

      • Darren Moore - 9 years ago


        7.3 million people worldwide disagree with you…

    • Jason B (@jay2bell) - 9 years ago

      You are of course entitled to your opinion, but all I’ve ever read about Bono from fans who have met him is he’s a genuinely kind and down to earth person.

      • He is a very nice guy, Mr. Grey has decided he hated them many years ago and no matter what happens, has to stick to that opinion. No, U2 isn’t going to be the hot new thing again, no they won’t get played on MTV (does anyone anymore?), and yes, 14 year old kids hate them/have no idea who they are, but you bet your ass there will be plenty of excitement when they come back around with new music. U2 appeals to all kinds of people, if you get Ariana Grande, that’s a much more specific audience and a huge amount of the people who get the phones won’t give a crap. Worldwide, for people who buy a new iPhone, they will be much happier with a new U2 album than some pop artist of the week. One guy’s opinion on some message board doesn’t change their hugeness, which anyone with open eyes can see. You might not care for them, but they are good guys and you are in the overall minority.

      • chasinvictoria - 9 years ago

        No, he’s not entitled to his opinion if it is an uneducated, factless, stupid opinion. I’m not saying it is, but I’m saying that we have, as a society, GOT to stop giving equal weight to “pulled from my ass” opinions compared to fact-based, logical, thoughtful opinions.

        I’ve not met Mr. Hewson personally, I’ve enjoyed some of their music but I’m not a huge fan. I agree that pre-loading sounds like something Apple would not do, but I say with some confidence that Mr. Grey’s views about Bono are not based on any actual encounters or first-hand experience, and contain at least some verifiably-misformed statements, and therefore are worthless as a judge of what kind of person Bono is.

    • prolook - 9 years ago

      Your comments are completely irrelevant when you say things like, “U2 hasn’t done anything interesting musically since their first album in the opinion of many music experts.” Really??? Pray tell, who are these experts that you tout? Who in their right mind would say that Boy, yes Boy, the first album from U2 was the ONLY interesting thing U2 has ever done? Did you know Boy was their first album, or did you assume that The Joshua Tree (their 5th album) was first because it won album of the year at the Grammy’s and had several songs chart? Or maybe you were thinking that Actung Baby was their first album since it was also nominated for album of the year? Shoot, you could be thinking of All That You Can’t Leave Behind, which won for Best Rock Album and Record of the year, but i’m sure you aren’t thinking of that because you said yourself that they haven’t had a record that was played a little bit for several albums now and that one was just a couple back behind another album that swept the grammys in every category it was nominated in: How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb: Best Rock Song, Album of the Year, Song of the year, etc. etc. etc.

      So, i’m still trying to figure out who these experts are that you cite saying that BOY of all albums was the ONLY thing they ever did that was interesting…please just state it as your opinion and leave it as that…

      Now, for those of you thinking this is a “deal breaker”, why in the world would you say that? That is almost as dumb as Mr. Grey showing his ignorance of U2’s popularity. It will cost you NOTHING extra to have the album pre-loaded and only take you a few minutes to erase the device and start fresh, but you feel like you have to come on here and say something that stupid really amazes me.

      Personally i think the latest single from U2 (Invisible) is pretty good and i’m excited at the prospect of having the whole album for FREE when if i get the new phone. It won’t push me to buy it or not buy it, but then again i know how to wipe my phone of anything i don’t want the minute i get it…

  7. I’m going to bet, the album will be in the ALAC format and this will be Apple’s entry into high definition music tracks.

    • And they’ll debut 128 and 256GB iPhones to complement the ALAC tracks? I wish. But doubtful.

      • I doubt 256GB, but i can definitely see 128GB. Add in Beats earbuds with lossless audio iTunes audio tracks and they can definitely tout the iPhone as the music lover’s phone. It just makes sense. Bringing in HD audio will increase music sales which they need.

    • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

      ALAC. Please please please please please please. Preload it on my 2014 Mac mini.

    • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

      It would make sense to offer a free credit or promo code to download an HD track to try, so customers can see if they think there is a difference, but not just preloading it with music that the vast majority of iPhone users, won’t like. Besides, the best music to show off the HD would probably be classical anyway.

      • rettun1 - 9 years ago

        People won’t know what they like until we show them

    • Lars Pallesen - 9 years ago

      IF Apple is going to start selling music in a lossless format, wouldn’t it be more likely that Apple would go with the Apple Lossless format?

  8. What if it’s not really about new iPhone(s) but about new iPods? I mean, recently we’ve seen a new spark for mp3 players with high-quality music support (i.e. Pono, the new Sony A17). Apple has always touted its interest for music. Recently Apple smashed the prices for the iPod Touch (giving the chance for a 128 GB iPod Touch) and bought Beats. Guess the pieces are falling into place ^-^

  9. chrisl84 - 9 years ago

    If they want a pop up message prompting to download the album free during set up leaving it optional like they do with the free Apple apps I wouldn’t be too upset, I damn sure don’t want it preloaded for me.

  10. zomer86 - 9 years ago

    NOBODY gives a shit I rather save space for nothing than listen to U2.

  11. Gustav Hertz - 9 years ago

    Now we know why apple is building i giant stage at the event site.

  12. Jody B. Settoon - 9 years ago

    Perhaps we could a red iPhone6 announced on Sept. 9

    • rahhbriley - 9 years ago

      How are you the first to speculate this in this thread? It’s what I was coming to say. Not saying it overly likely, but it’s intriguing to wonder.

  13. Eli Matar - 9 years ago

    Preloaded. Where have I heard this before???
    Oh yeah, with a DELL laptop I bought in 2007 before I made the switch.
    Sighhhhh… If thats true…. Tim Tim Tim… What are you doing????

  14. “Back in 2006 Apple teamed up with U2” It was 2004 the first one came out and evens says that in the video title right below…

    • Mr. Grey (@mister_grey) - 9 years ago

      And in 2004 when Apple *first* teamed up with U2, they were already an ageing and irrelevant band, long past it’s prime, that hadn’t produced a good, solid record for many years.

      And that was ten f*cking years ago itself.

      •°_Tour- Yes, the tour of an irrelevant band promoting what was clearly a terrible album no one liked. OR, charts don’t mean anything anymore and your opinion is in the vast minority. Yeah, that’s it.

      • Ad (@DolphinsAMar) - 9 years ago

        “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” went 4x Platinum in 2000/2001 and “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” went 3x Platinum in 2004/2005. Vertigo was on the Hot 100 for 20 weeks. The 360 Tour in 2009-2011 was the most attended concert tour of all time. Not sure they’re irrelevant.

      • Really?! Haven’t you heard City of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Original of the Species, the album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb or maybe the U2360 Tour, the biggest rock tour in history?! I think you have live under a rock for too many years now or maybe you are a 15 year old brat who thinks Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber and PitBull are the best in music.. Either way, sorry for your bad taste in music.

      • which is also why their album won every grammy it was nominated for check your facts, mr expert…

      • rettun1 - 9 years ago

        Do you not like U2, by any chance?

      • rettun1 - 9 years ago

        Sneaky Iovine, almost didn’t see you there!

        I don’t think U2’s popularity should weigh in on this matter. So what? I think if it’s true, then it could be a fun keynote for the people in it. Apple + U2 have a (pretty good) history, and I think that’s grounds enough for them to work together again.

      • antispammer666 - 9 years ago

        Yes, a band for has-beens led by a has-been and they just happen to be sponsored by the world’s #1 company!!
        Tim Cook must be a woeful judge of character.
        Your comments are useless, troll.

  15. Mark Romanek was the director this weekend in Dublin. He was the director of all iPod commercials and he also did the Vertigo iPod clip. See:

  16. PMZanetti - 9 years ago

    I despise Bono so much. So. Much.

  17. herb02135go - 9 years ago

    I didn’t even know Bono was still alive. Maybe they wanted Bozo.

  18. Hiram Walker - 9 years ago

    That will be a Samsung phone commercial. They spend way more than Apple on advertising (4 times as much) and U2 don’t go to the lowest bidder.

  19. krikaoli - 9 years ago

    Since I’m going to buy anyway, this is a bonus.

  20. jakexb - 9 years ago

    I can’t believe this would happen in 2014.

  21. mdbilski55 - 9 years ago

    I love reading all the hate here. I know who you think you are. Wow, I love it.

  22. Taste_of_Apple - 9 years ago

    This is certainly a different approach… It will be interesting to see if this pans out or not.

  23. jorge1170x - 9 years ago

    WTF is it with U2? Admittedly, they pumped out a good 4 or 5 solid to great hits in the dang EIGHTIES, but they’ve released nothing good since. “Beautiful Day” is the most boring, unimaginative and derivative song ever, yet it gets played on the radio a lot as if it were anywhere near as good as their actual hits from the REAGAN/FIRST COLD WAR era. I don’t know, I see that almost all the other awesome 80’s bands did the respectful thing and faded into obscurity once their mojo was expended…Journey, Boston, REO Speedwagon, etc…So why do we have to put up with Bono’s mug everywhere always giving us his stupid and celebrity-depth opinions on this and that, and then actually getting listened to? By that logic, why isn’t Steve Perry head of the United Nations by now? it’s just a ridiculous to me. And now even Apple may have fallen into this U2 myth/trap. But then again, I personally draw many parallels between the two entities, so it may be very appropriate.

    • Darren Moore - 9 years ago

      It’s not really a myth is it, they ARE the most popular band on the planet by a long way:

      • jorge1170x - 9 years ago

        The myth/mystery is not THAT they’re popular, everyone knows they are. It’s WHY are they STILL popular without making any good music in a quarter century?. Nobody else has ridden a wave of short-lived and let’s say decent success like Bono and U2 have. I would normally say good for them except Bono is a douche who enjoys giving his stupid poorly thought-out celebrity/statist/elitist opinions on everything, as if being an 80’s rocker earned him that right. Oh well, there is no accounting for taste I guess, so they’ll keep filling up stadiums. I think it’s more nostalgia than anything that keeps the 40-somethings paying for the tickets.

  24. five40josh - 9 years ago

    What’s with all the U2 hate? Yeah I agree they haven’t really done anything solid for some time, but they’re definitely not the worst choice to appeal to a mass audience. I’m just glad they didn’t go with Lady Gaga or Kanye West…

  25. No thanks… I’m buying the phone for the phone. If the music is preloaded on the phone the first thing I will do is delete it. Not even sure why they would use U2 for promo, they’re irrelevant.

  26. tigerpork - 9 years ago

    WTH where is Dr Dre? I rather have his album preloaded than U2.

  27. seano90 - 9 years ago

    Surely ‘pre-load’ will actually just be ‘available’ as a free download from iTunes.
    Lot of angry people here – Bono has done far more for those less fortunate, than most other people.
    Before spending your time complaining about him, ask yourself – What have you ever done for anyone else?

  28. jerryfromcan - 9 years ago

    I’m 99% sure Elevation Partners (Bono and the gangs investment arm) owns a good chunk of Blackberry still. Remember that about 2 years ago U2 were in a BB commercial?


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.