An invitation distributed yesterday claimed Apple would hold a special event on April 1.

Apple sources have confirmed the invitation was a fake. It invited media to a special event in San Francisco's Moscone Center, and read: "Join Steve Jobs and Bono". Beneath these words it carried a red AIDS Awareness ribbon and an Apple logo.

The forged invite follows recent rumours that Apple would take part in the Bono-backed Product RED scheme. The rock star hopes to convince big-name companies to release Red-branded products and donate some of the profits to a global fighting fund to battle AIDS.

An estimated 3.1 million people are estimated to have died from AIDS in 2005, according to international AIDS charity, Avert.

Shortly before the scheme was announced, a well-known gossip tip-sheet reported that Bono had been overheard in a restaurant discussing, "a new charity red Amex card and red iPod".

American Express has confirmed it will release a red Amex card to raise funds for the campaign.

However, Apple has declined to comment on whether it will lend its clout to help battle the disease, which has infected over 10 per cent of the African population in at least 10 countries on the continent.

Asked about any potential relationship with Apple, a Product RED spokesperson offered little insight, saying: "Regarding your question about a RED iPod: as you can imagine, the success of RED depends on the companies involved and the consumers who will buy the products. We are in talks with a number of companies, so watch this space."

UPDATE: Perhaps setting the final seal on the lack of authenticity of the invitation, Bono's band U2 are performing live on March 31 on the other side to the world from California. They will play a gig that night in Sydney, Australia.