That headline is not a case of trying to use 2018 culture references to win MadLibs, but in fact, something that just happened.
In what will likely go down as one of the strangest Oval Office meetings of all time, rapper Kanye West (or “Ye,” as he now prefers to be called) met with US president Donald Trump, along with his daughter Ivanka, advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a small group of journalists, at the White House today (Oct. 11). Months after his wife Kim Kardashian first visited Trump’s White House, West was ostensibly there to discuss prison reform, violence in Chicago, and to support Trump as he signed the Music Modernization Act into law.
But the conversations did not stop there. As the two were talking, as if not surrounded by the watchful eye of pretty much the entire world, West showed Trump a design—that he called a “gift” for the president—for a hydrogen-powered plane:
West called the design the “iPlane 1,” showing it to Kushner and the president, who joked that the US should replace Air Force One with the model. West then said, “We’re gonna have Apple, an American company, work on this plane with us.”
In what should surprise absolutely no one, it seems that none of this is likely true—it appears to be fake news, if you will.
The design West showed off, as eagle-eyed Telegraph editor James Titcomb noticed, is actually a mock-up created by a designer about six years ago:
It was the work of then-design student Shabtai Hirshberg, who posted his entire concept for overhauling the design of commercial airlines on the portfolio website Behance in 2015. At the time, the photo he mocked up showed the aircraft docking at a jetway with KLM (the Dutch airline) livery. Curiously, in the photos West showed to the president, the branding appears to have been removed. Hirshberg told Quartz in a message that aircraft was his Master’s thesis project.
“I’d be more than happy to collaborate with Kanye West and Apple if they decide to actually take this forward,” Hirshberg said.
It’s also highly unlikely that Apple, the consumer electronics company, is planning to get into commercial aviation anytime soon. Although it is researching self-driving cars and hiring car designers, there’s no word of it working on planes. The largest thing the company has ever released to date is probably the iMac computer.
Apple, unsurprisingly, wasn’t immediately available to comment on its involvement with Ye’s plans.
You can watch the entire Trump-West meeting here.
Update (7:45 pm): This post has been updated with additional comments from Hirshberg.