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Apple's legendary secrecy veil intact prior to iPad launch

post #1 of 32
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As consumers eagerly await their first opportunity to use an iPad when it goes on sale this Saturday, employees of Apple's retail stores are in the same position, thanks to the hardware maker's strict security policies.

A new report from Reuters Tuesday stated that employee's of Apple's retail stores are "just as curious" about the iPad as the customers who will line up for Saturday's launch.

Employees anonymously told the publication that though they are encouraged to talk to customers about the iPad, they have not seen the device, and never see any Apple products before they are launched. The report noted that even the in-store "Geniuses" do not yet know how to repair the iPad.

It's all part of Apple's strategy of secrecy, one that has reportedly kept a pre-release iPad under padlock and key at the headquarters of The Wall Street Journal, even though the device was formally introduced in January.

The approach is nothing new. According to Reuters, when the iPhone first went on sale in 2007, Apple shipped out decoy pallets to discourage snooping employees. An employee was tasked with watching the palettes to make sure no one touched them, and only the store managers were allowed to see the iPhone before it went on sale. "It was all a bit insane," one employee reportedly said.

Though they don't get an advance peek at Apple products, store employees receive $10 per hour for entry-level work, and those work work at the "Genius Bar" receive over $30 an hour. Employees are also given a 25 percent discount on iPods and Macs, but none for the iPhone. Employees said they do not know whether they will receive a discount for the iPad.

Developers, too, have expressed frustration with Apple's secrecy as they create App Store software for the forthcoming iPad. Developers have had to write for the device without having actually touched one. They'll have to wait like most everyone else for the official launch this Saturday.

Apple's tight-lipped nature was profiled last year by the New York Times, which said the company's veil of secrecy began to take shape around the release of the original Macintosh back in 1984.

One employee said that employees working on secret projects at Apple must "pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices." Once inside the top-secret areas, employees are often monitored by surveillance cameras as they work. Those working with the most sensitive projects are allegedly instructed to "cover up devices with black cloaks when they are working on them, and turn on a red warning light when devices are unmasked so that everyone knows to be extra-careful."

But Apple also sometimes leaks information to its advantage, as one former marketing manager explained earlier this year.
post #2 of 32
Yes, we all know about Apple's "veil of secrecy."

Frankly, I can't blame them. It has helped Apple either lead in market-share (iPods) or set the standard (iPhone, Macs) in the segments in which they compete.
post #3 of 32
The geniuses don't need to know how to repair them, they haven't even started selling them yet.
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post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Though they don't get an advance peek at Apple products, store employees receive $10 per hour for entry-level work, and those work work at the "Genius Bar" receive over $30 an hour

Really? Apple employees get paid?
I thought they did it for their love of the company...
post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Yes, we all know about Apple's "veil of secrecy."

Frankly, I can't blame them. It has helped Apple either lead in market-share (iPods) or set the standard (iPhone, Macs) in the segments in which they compete.

Although I don't believe that the "Veil of Secrecy" is really because of "Innovative" hardware and software, I do know it has had a profound impact on the market. Probably the best marketing strategy I have seen yet. I fully dislike the Secrecy strategy that Apple employs, but that air of mystery does wonders for its sales. See how the iPad is already out of stock... before anyone of us has touched the device? I believe its even back ordered. Amazing marketing Apple!

Apple profits on the anticipation, not so much its innovation. (But that's my opinion, and I'm sure you'll disagree. )
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post #6 of 32
Only a small amount of those $30 a hour "Geniuses" are working at a Apple Store at any one time and only during peak hours it seems.

Most of the rest don't know diddly squat and have to run to ask the alpha Genius the answer to a technical question.


Also those in the know, knew something like the iPad was coming soon, heck it was easy, just go to CES. The iPad is a rip-off of the HP Slate. (or the Slate is a rip off of the leaked iPad project)

The similarities are to much to have occurred by mere chance.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=107648
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post



Also those in the know, knew something like the iPad was coming soon, heck it was easy, just go to CES. The iPad is a rip-off of the HP Slate.

LOL, why would Apple rip off THAT thing?? It's not even on sale. I don't know how Apple would rip it off when the iPad UI is completely different, employing Apple's implementation of multitouch.
post #8 of 32
LoL!!!

I love this company...
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

The geniuses don't need to know how to repair them, they haven't even started selling them yet.

Have you ever taken a new model of car in for service, and basically gotten the "Duuh we haven't been trained on this yet"?

Be it computers or cars or whatever, the support system needs to be fully ready when the product "goes live". If we wanted dumb looks we wouldn't buy Apple.
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post

Although I don't believe that the "Veil of Secrecy" is really because of "Innovative" hardware and software, I do know it has had a profound impact on the market. Probably the best marketing strategy I have seen yet. I fully dislike the Secrecy strategy that Apple employs, but that air of mystery does wonders for its sales. See how the iPad is already out of stock... before anyone of us has touched the device? I believe its even back ordered. Amazing marketing Apple!

Apple profits on the anticipation, not so much its innovation. (But that's my opinion, and I'm sure you'll disagree. )

We all hate it the same way we mysteries and want answers yet read books, and watch TV shows just to know who dun it. It's absolutely brilliant that they can generate so much free press with a carefully planned leak or without saying anything at all.

I disagree with your point that their profits come from anticipation, not innovation. Anticipation can garnish interest but if your product doesn't fit the consumer's needs they will not buy, or not again, yet Apple has plenty of repeat customers, especially with the iPhone and iPod halo effects turning into Mac sales, too.

There are some different dynamics at play now. With Apple partnering with so many different companies and their place in the market being so strong vapourware advertising isn't something to scoff at. It's what the big boys, do. Eventually you have to deliver, but it can help with profits by making customers wait for that carrot and potential competitors fear the stick (be a waste of their time and money).

Personally, as nerve racking as it can be, I wish more companies acted like Apple. If you find any, let me know so I can invest in them.

PS: This "Veil of Secrecy" seems to date back to the founding of Apple, as I recall. JObs and Woz wrote up a mission statement or something that stated, essentially, "no product will be talked about until it's ready to be released."


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

The iPad is a rip-off of the HP Slate. (or the Slate is a rip off of the leaked iPad project)

Or each one was designed and built independently. How much different can you make a thin tablet HW look from one another? Do you think Apple could have seen the HP Slate on January 7th and from there designed and fabricated the iPad to be exactly the way they were going to ship it 2 weeks later? The only thing that looks to come close to a physical change is the function of the iPad's toggle switch, but I'm sure that all done in SW anyway.

What is for sure is how all these tablets at CES came out specifically because of the Apple Tablet speculation, and how they all seem to have either a) not commit to any price or specs at the time, or b) have gone back to the drawing board specifically to compete better with the iPad.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #11 of 32
I guess no one has figured it out. The Ipad and Slate will be the new netbook, except they will expand and eventually consume the laptop market as well. I have been looking forward to the Ipad and Slate computers ever since I saw something similar on the old Star Trek in the 1970's. At $500.00 I know my son who is in 4th grade, will be using an advanced Ipad in high school. I can only wonder what he will use in college. I wrote my masters coursework on a Tandy 1000FD and thought I was hot stuff. And that was without the web. The good thing is that both the Ipad and the slate will change computing as we know it. I am willing to bet that the Ipad will be on the cover of Time before the year is out. Any takers?
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilogic View Post

LoL!!!

I love this company...

This is like unveiling of an elephant man- only better!! The world awaits!!
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post

Although I don't believe that the "Veil of Secrecy" is really because of "Innovative" hardware and software, I do know it has had a profound impact on the market. Probably the best marketing strategy I have seen yet. I fully dislike the Secrecy strategy that Apple employs, but that air of mystery does wonders for its sales. See how the iPad is already out of stock... before anyone of us has touched the device? I believe its even back ordered. Amazing marketing Apple!

You are certainly right about the effectiveness of the strategy - don't forget that these and other forums have had their tongues hanging out in anticipation for over a year before the existence of such a product was even announced! I made a comment months and months ago here about the Apple Zen of marketing - to make the most noise remain silent! Of course this approach is the antithesis of Microsoft's - Origami this, Courier that... I guess they figure that's the best way for them, but I reckon Apple must have a little chuckle every time another bit of vapour pfffts out of Redmond!
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post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

Have you ever taken a new model of car in for service, and basically gotten the "Duuh we haven't been trained on this yet"?

Be it computers or cars or whatever, the support system needs to be fully ready when the product "goes live". If we wanted dumb looks we wouldn't buy Apple.

The support system will be ready. As an iPhone owner, and based on what I know about the iPad, I have a feeling that I could provide support at the Genius bar with a couple of hours training. This is not the same thing as moving (jumping actually) from Tiger to Snow Leopard.
post #15 of 32
In the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, there is a scene aboard the Discovery where astronauts Bowman and Poole are eating a meal while watching a BBC video on flat screen pads that could easily be considered to be similar to the iPad.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

Only a small amount of those $30 a hour "Geniuses" are working at a Apple Store at any one time and only during peak hours it seems.

Most of the rest don't know diddly squat and have to run to ask the alpha Genius the answer to a technical question.


Also those in the know, knew something like the iPad was coming soon, heck it was easy, just go to CES. The iPad is a rip-off of the HP Slate. (or the Slate is a rip off of the leaked iPad project)

The similarities are to much to have occurred by mere chance.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=107648

Except, to the best of my knowledge, the Slate does not exist as a consumer product, whereas the iPad will be in consumers hands in 4 days.

I fail to see how a product, which reaches markets months (years or ever) before a different product can be seen as a 'rip off'?

Just went to the HP main site - no slate for sale or pre-order...
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtamesis View Post

In the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, there is a scene aboard the Discovery where astronauts Bowman and Poole are eating a meal while watching a BBC video on flat screen pads that could easily be considered to be similar to the iPad.

It's hard to be too different on a tablet device. The iPad is certainly closer as it copy the tablets that came the decade before that tried to be a desktop PC and a tablet at once, which resulted in a decade of market failure.

This one has a row of physical buttons on them and look more like the Times mockup with that size display. Eventually I can see a larger display size hit the market once power issues and proper publishing tools are created, among other things.


PS: Are they weightless there? I'd have to say no since Kubrik is known for his attention to detail and free food wouldn't be a viable option.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by reliason View Post

Except, to the best of my knowledge, the Slate does not exist as a consumer product, whereas the iPad will be in consumers hands in 4 days.

I fail to see how a product, which reaches markets months (years or ever) before a different product can be seen as a 'rip off'?

Just went to the HP main site - no slate for sale or pre-order...

That is why what HP is doing is called vapourware and what SpotOn is doing is calling spreading FUD, possibly trolling.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #19 of 32
Seen the flood of iPad knockoffs from Asia right after the iPad was shown to the world?

Why give your competitors any advantage, even if that means pissing off only the people that read AI and a few developers? Sounds like a good deal to me.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

Have you ever taken a new model of car in for service, and basically gotten the "Duuh we haven't been trained on this yet"?

Be it computers or cars or whatever, the support system needs to be fully ready when the product "goes live". If we wanted dumb looks we wouldn't buy Apple.

Don't be that dumb. They can always overnight the iPad to Apple and get it back in 48 hours. I don't see that happen with a new car..lol
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It's hard to be too different on a tablet device. The iPad is certainly closer as it copy the tablets that came the decade before that tried to be a desktop PC and a tablet at once, which resulted in a decade of market failure.

This one has a row of physical buttons on them and look more like the Times mockup with that size display. Eventually I can see a larger display size hit the market once power issues and proper publishing tools are created, among other things.


PS: Are they weightless there? I'd have to say no since Kubrik is known for his attention to detail and free food wouldn't be a viable option.

I love that scene. Watch it on Blu ray/1080p. It's lovely.
post #22 of 32
Geniuses certainly do not make over $30 an hour.

http://www.glassdoor.com/GD/Salary/A...scending=false

Information from the Glass Door prove on average an hourly Genius makes $18/hr and the most profitable "Lead Mac Genius" makes on average $23, maybe getting close to $30 with countless years of experience.
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Employees are also given a 25 percent discount on iPods and Macs, but none for the iPhone. Employees said they do not know whether they will receive a discount for the iPad.

yes, but they can only use the discount to purchase one item from any family of products per year (i.e., one mac pro, one macbook, one cinema display, one ipod, etc.).

i don't recall how sub-families are treated; that is, whether they can apply the discount to, say, an ipod touch, an ipod nano, and an ipod shuffle, etc., but there are definitely strict limitations in place to prevent abuse of the discounts.
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsonaire View Post

Geniuses certainly do not make over $30 an hour.

http://www.glassdoor.com/GD/Salary/A...scending=false

Information from the Glass Door prove on average an hourly Genius makes $18/hr and the most profitable "Lead Mac Genius" makes on average $23, maybe getting close to $30 with countless years of experience.

To me, the $30 was THE story! I about crapped my pants thinking what I am doing and why am I not working at the Apple store. You have calmed me back down. Still, $23 an hour for a Genius position is nothing to sneeze at considering.
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post #25 of 32
When Apple hired its first round of Genius employees these people were being paid in excess of 60K a year. To sit around and do just about nothing even after the iPod came out. They figured out they didn't need to be paying corporate salaries to someone who wasn't doing anything, so they started weeding out the originals or putting them in management. After all, a trained monkey can follow a diagram and turn screws.

I'm actually shocked that they aren't using monkeys behind the scenes. So they started dwindling down the wages. More Genii + lower pay = crappy service and unhappy Genii. Some Genii start at $10 an hour or $12.50, rarely to they get to $20. This is even in states where there is state income tax. Which means if you live in a state income tax free zone, you usually make out like a bandit!

In reality the wage all comes down to how greedy the hiring manager is. Because I know Genii in an out of the way store, who do a whole lot less than those who work in a major metro, and make more than the people being worked to the bone!

If you're wondering how greedy someone can be thats making close to 6 figures or more per year, let me explain it to you. If the store manager keeps his budget and shrink and all the things Apple demands be in check. They can make up to 133% of their yearly salary as a bonus. If that doesn't make you greedy, I don't know what does, after all why would your employees need to have a decent life?

They need to unionize the employees at that company. They get treated like crap and then if they complain or try and make any kind of progressive motion forward. They get the axe!
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

PS: Are they weightless there? I'd have to say no since Kubrik is known for his attention to detail and free food wouldn't be a viable option.

The Discovery had a spun section that provided pseudo gravity,t "down" being toward the outer rim of the spinning section.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by iadlib View Post

When Apple hired its first round of Genius employees these people were being paid in excess of 60K a year. To sit around and do just about nothing even after the iPod came out. They figured out they didn't need to be paying corporate salaries to someone who wasn't doing anything, so they started weeding out the originals or putting them in management. After all, a trained monkey can follow a diagram and turn screws.

I'm actually shocked that they aren't using monkeys behind the scenes. So they started dwindling down the wages. More Genii + lower pay = crappy service and unhappy Genii. Some Genii start at $10 an hour or $12.50, rarely to they get to $20. This is even in states where there is state income tax. Which means if you live in a state income tax free zone, you usually make out like a bandit!

In reality the wage all comes down to how greedy the hiring manager is. Because I know Genii in an out of the way store, who do a whole lot less than those who work in a major metro, and make more than the people being worked to the bone!

If you're wondering how greedy someone can be thats making close to 6 figures or more per year, let me explain it to you. If the store manager keeps his budget and shrink and all the things Apple demands be in check. They can make up to 133% of their yearly salary as a bonus. If that doesn't make you greedy, I don't know what does, after all why would your employees need to have a decent life?

They need to unionize the employees at that company. They get treated like crap and then if they complain or try and make any kind of progressive motion forward. They get the axe!

Excelent first post.
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post #28 of 32
The description of draconian Apple security puts me in mind of the story that circulated a while back claiming an independent repair shop in the Midwest had already gotten iPad parts, specifically the frame, showing a cut-out for a forward facing camera.

So the same company that makes its employees work on unreleased products under a black cloak sends parts for those products out months before release, which promptly get photographed and passed around the web.

And people were believing this.
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post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by iadlib View Post

When Apple hired its first round of Genius employees these people were being paid in excess of 60K a year. To sit around and do just about nothing even after the iPod came out. They figured out they didn't need to be paying corporate salaries to someone who wasn't doing anything, so they started weeding out the originals or putting them in management. After all, a trained monkey can follow a diagram and turn screws.

I'm actually shocked that they aren't using monkeys behind the scenes. So they started dwindling down the wages. More Genii + lower pay = crappy service and unhappy Genii. Some Genii start at $10 an hour or $12.50, rarely to they get to $20. This is even in states where there is state income tax. Which means if you live in a state income tax free zone, you usually make out like a bandit!

In reality the wage all comes down to how greedy the hiring manager is. Because I know Genii in an out of the way store, who do a whole lot less than those who work in a major metro, and make more than the people being worked to the bone!

If you're wondering how greedy someone can be thats making close to 6 figures or more per year, let me explain it to you. If the store manager keeps his budget and shrink and all the things Apple demands be in check. They can make up to 133% of their yearly salary as a bonus. If that doesn't make you greedy, I don't know what does, after all why would your employees need to have a decent life?

They need to unionize the employees at that company. They get treated like crap and then if they complain or try and make any kind of progressive motion forward. They get the axe!

Got fired, eh?
post #30 of 32
Err what veil of secrecy? The veil of secrecy used to refer to the fact that nobody knew for sure what Apple were going to launch and then they would have a big event with the product going on sale that day. The iPad was announced months ago, it's not a secret, we all know about it, we've all seen the videos of it. How's it any different to Sony sticking a phone there going to make on there website months before the launch.
post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

I love that scene. Watch it on Blu ray/1080p. It's lovely.

I think Kubrick stands alone as a film maker, not just because of his (Jobsian) obsession with detail, but that his films are so multi-layered - meanings within meanings within meanings. There are some truly fascinating deep analyses of his films out there, some of them quite mind-blowing. These guys have some good ideas, particularly about the scene on the shuttle from the space station to the moon - if you are a fan of the movie it is worth a look:

http://www.kubrick2001.com/

Unfortunately you will not be able to watch it on your iPhone or iPad as it is in Fl*sh (spurious attempt to get vaguely on-topic! )
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post #32 of 32
Quote:
Developers [will] have to wait like most everyone else for the official launch this Saturday.

Actually, it's worse than that. It should read American developers will have to wait until Saturday to test on a real device. Those in Canada, Europe and elsewhere will have to either figure out how to get a US model or wait another month (or more) to get their hands on one.
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