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Monday, February 28, 2005, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Apple offers \'Asteroid\' evidence in GarageBand distribution (updated)

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.

"Asteroid