The New York Times has confirmed a report from last week that claimed rock band U2 would be partnering up with Apple at its iPhone 6 launch event. According to the report, citing sources briefed on the plans, U2 will both perform at the keynote and “reveal an integration with Apple’s products that is connected to its next album, which is expected to come out by the end of the year.”
Apple has had a close relationship with U2 for the past decade, dating back to when the late Steve Jobs introduced a “Special Edition” iPod that came in red and black and had the signatures of the band’s four members etched on the back. Apple, through its acquisition of Beats Electronics, also added music pioneer Jimmy Iovine to its team, who long oversaw U2 at its record label Universal Music Group.
The details surrounding U2′s appearance, which is supposed to be a surprise, are still not fully known:
“Exactly what U2 will reveal on Tuesday, and how it is connected to Apple, is unclear, and people close to the band grew hushed and reluctant when pressed for specifics. Last week, when speculation about the band’s involvement began to circulate through the music industry, the best guess was that its next album would come installed on the iPhone 6. People close to the band dismissed that idea, but said that U2’s deal with Apple would involve the release of new music in an innovative way, and Apple’s event would partly serve as a big, splashy stunt to generate publicity.”
Apple has long shown an appreciation to older band such as The Beatles and U2, even at a time when the latter is struggling to find its place within the current pop landscape. While U2 is reportedly eager to release its long-delayed album later this year, the band’s last album sold a dismal 1.1 million copies in the United States upon its release in 2009. It will be interesting to see what the reception is to U2′s expected appearance at Apple’s event.