Richard Branson claims to have invented iPod and iTunes as April Fool’s joke

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Was a joke by Richard Branson responsible for helping turn around Apple's fortunes? (Credit: Virgin)
Was a joke by Richard Branson responsible for helping turn around Apple's fortunes? (Credit: Virgin)

There are always going to be debates about who came up with an idea as transformative to Apple’s business as the iTunes and the iPod, but here’s one you may not have heard before: Richard Branson.

In a new interview with the i paper, the Virgin head honcho claims the concept behind Apple’s turnaround duo of inventions was originally made by him as a joke — only for Steve Jobs to take it seriously, and later go on to put it into action.

Your picks for Apple’s next ‘thought leader’

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FULLSCREEN

Who will lead the herd at Apple?

Photo: Andy Ihnatko, CC-licensed, Flickr.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss Many Cupertino employees might well cheer the arrival of the "lifestyle design" author of The Four Hour Workweek, nominated by reader Tim Sweeney on Facebook. Photo: from The Four Hour Chef

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

"Erdogan of course. Two birds with one stone," says reader @oemoral nominating Turkey's embattled Prime Minister and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Twitter. Perhaps a job at Apple would make him rethink his stance on shutting off the information firehose of Twitter and YouTube. Photo: Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Richard Branson

Richard Branson also got a shout out from you guys - the Virgin Group founder and intrepid adventurer definitely has the bravado Apple needs to move forward into the future. Photo: via Richard Branson, Google+

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki Apple should bring back its one-time chief evangelist, says Charles Roberts on Facebook. "Well, I'm pretty sure if Apple hired any but one or two of your suggestions that would be the end of Apple. Elon Musk would be great, but I should add Fred Vogelstein, Walter Issacson, Steve Levy, Walt Mossberg, or even Deepak Chopra. Heck, try to get Guy Kawasaki back, he'd be great." Photo: courtesy Guy Kawasaki

You

Who wouldn't like to be a thought leader at Apple? A lot of you are sure to be just the right person for Apple."Hire me! I think like a lot," says reader Jonmicol on Twitter.   His sentiments were echoed by Chuck ShipleyCharlie WafflesPatrick Baldwin and Whoizdan, among others. Cupertino, you've got some great candidates! Photo: Darwin Bell, CC-licensed, on Flickr

Luo Yonghao

This Chinese serial entrepreneur and popular blogger, nominated by @justor95 on Twitter, is at the helm of Smartisan, an Android-based OS platform. A tireless consumer advocate, he's once led a protest that smashed faulty fridge doors to get the attention of Siemens. Imagine his thoughts on antenna-gate. Photo: via Yonghao's Weibo account

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Sir James Dyson

The industrial design mastermind, who received multiple nods from readers, is "the logical choice" says Scott Kuhn on Facebook.  Dyson's vacuums, fans and other gizmos could bring a real spin to the Internet of things at the Cupertino company. Photo: Michiel Hendryckx, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cult of Mac readers came through again: after our nominees, here are your semi-serious and sometimes outrageous picks for who should be coming up with the next big ideas at Apple.

One small footnote: Apple tweaked the job title on us. Now they are looking for a “business intelligence thought leader” rather than just a plain old “thought leader,” but the party game is still a fun one.

Virgin Atlantic to trial iBeacons at the airport

Was a joke by Richard Branson responsible for helping turn around Apple's fortunes? (Credit: Virgin)
Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson (Credit: Virgin)

Could iBeacons help improve the air travel experience? Sir Richard Branson thinks they could.

Branson’s majority-owned Virgin Atlantic is the latest company to hop aboard the iBeacon bandwagon — announcing plans to use the technology to send customized messages to passenger’s iPhones in London’s Heathrow airport in the UK.

The program, which is being created in conjunction with beacon startup Estimote, will use Apple’s iBeacons technology in conjunction with the Passbook iOS app.

Billionaire Richard Branson: Steve Jobs Broke All The Rules I Believe In

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Branson in 2010 at a NYC event. (Photo by david_shankbone - http://flic.kr/p/7ZWvcn)
Branson in 2010 at a NYC event. (Photo by david_shankbone - http://flic.kr/p/7ZWvcn)

Don’t you go all warm when a billionaire able to pal around with lions and tigers jumps all over how Steve Jobs led Apple? Seems Richard Branson would roll differently as Apple CEO. No yelling at employees or being such a control freak. Yep, the Virgin Group CEO would create a kindler, gentler Apple right from the pages of “I’m OK, You’re OK.”