Apparently back in 2001 apple approached creative and asked whether they wanted to collaborate on music player hardware. creative declined.
for those who are not in the loop, creative are in a dead end. they simply have nothing interesting in their product portfolio. in the DAP and DVP market they are being killed by apple (who out market and out volume them), sundisk (who undercut them), and basically.. every one else.
the traditional soundcard market (where they got their start) is, for all practical purposes, dead from a consumer POV - and the professional part of creative (Emu systems) is not really relevant either.
since native software solutions killed thier core market (hardware DSP based musical instruments, mostly samplers) and thier move to native software solutions was too slow (they were, after all, a hardware company at heart). their sampler software is hardly used in the industry these days and was replaced by various solutions from many different software developers (including apple - since they bought emagic).
the fact that creative might have had a pact with (or maybe even bought by..) apple , back in 2001, is interesting since that kind of a move would have actually made sense. the fact that creative declined, in hindsight, looks like very big mistake.
BTW, apple can buy creative now - if they want. in cash. creative market cap is equal to a quartery profit from apple, these days. petty cash for apple...