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Developer offers glimpse inside Apple's secrecy efforts

post #1 of 44
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A developer entrusted with a pre-release version of the iPad has detailed Apple's extensive efforts, including photographing the wood grain of the desk the device was chained to, to keep the tablet under wraps before its unveiling last year.

The developer, who created a "very successful" iPad app but wished to remain unnamed, told BusinessInsider in an interview that he was "probably the sixth person to get an iPad." In order to allow early access to a test unit, Apple presented him with strict criteria such as the use of a room with no windows and new locks.

The iPad maker also took down the names and social security numbers of the four developers allowed in the room. In order to secure the device, Apple drilled a hole in a desk and chained the prototype to it using bicycle cables. It also used custom frames to disguise the appearance of the device. Apple even went so far as to take pictures of the wood grain of the desk so that any leaked pictures could be traced back to the developer.

"We could plug into them so we could code to them and we could touch the screen and play with that, but we couldn't see the form factor," he said.

The developer was forbidden from telling anyone, not even his company's CEO or his wife, about the project. "You're going to get fired if this doesn't work," his wife told him.

The security setup as described by the developer closely resembles one pictured in a leaked photo that emerged just before the unveiling of the iPad on Jan. 27, 2010. The report also corroborates details revealed last year about Apple's provisions for developers requiring that they lock the test unit in a secret room.



Even after the formal introduction of the iPad, companies with prototype hardware were required to keep it "under padlock and key," with the key turned by Apple every night. Several of Apple's own employees noted on the eve of the device's launch that they had yet to see the iPad.

According to a report from 2009, Apple's culture of secrecy dates back to around the release of the original Macintosh in 1984. "It really started around trying to keep the surprise aspect to product launches, which can have a lot of power," said former Apple marketing guru Regis McKenna.

Apple's current security protocols require employees working on secret projects to "pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices."

Workers testing sensitive projects are also 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."

The company is also looking to bolster its security team, recently posting two openings for Managers of New Product Security. The hires come after the company has suffered two embarrassing incidents involving iPhone prototypes lost in bars.

Last year, an Apple engineer mistakenly left a test iPhone 4 unit at a Redwood City, Calif., bar. The device was eventually sold to a publication and leaked online. In July, a prototype of the company's fifth-generation iPhone went missing at a bar in San Francisco. Apple security officials reportedly tracked the device to a residence and enlisted the help of the police department in its search for the handset.
post #2 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's current security protocols require employees working on secret projects to "pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices."

In a related story an employee has released this video of Apple's secret testing rooms.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipWzhc45gz4
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post #3 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

In a related story an employee has released this video of Apple's secret testing rooms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipWzhc45gz4

Wow - that's exactly what occurred to me. Still, I don't think Apple has gone far ENOUGH to insure security. They need this.
post #4 of 44
I don't get the big secrecy deal. It is going to be an incremental upgrade, with rounded rectangle form factor. Big Whoop! Whatever... If you are in the market for an Apple tablet save up $500 and watch your back on the way home.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #5 of 44
This just show you how the like of Samsung are copying finished products and not designing theirs from scratch.
post #6 of 44
It might sound extreme to some, but I can understand why given the evidence: Everbody says that THEY have the best tablet coming out once the iPad is announced. They talk about how amazing they will be, how they will define the tablet experience. Then, the iPad launches. They all quickly change their shorts, fire their design staff and decide to make clones (with a few notable exceptions).
post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I don't get the big secrecy deal. It is going to be an incremental upgrade, with rounded rectangle form factor. Big Whoop! Whatever... If you are in the market for an Apple tablet save up $500 and watch your back on the way home.

I think you misread the article. It's about the secrecy before the original iPad came out, not a later version.
post #8 of 44
Photographing the wood grain....... really? Not one of these security ever owned a copy of photoshop?

Removing a background happens to be one of the easiest things to do.
post #9 of 44
Quote:
According to a report from 2009, Apple's culture of secrecy dates back to around the release of the original Macintoch in 1984.

Spot it?



Back to the subject...

I have a feeling that if Apple did not bother with all this secrecy then the products would have less of a wow factor and grandiosity and, consequently, would be less desirable. As a result I believe it does help indirectly increase profits
"If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything" Robert Zemeckis/Bob Gale/Robert_E._Lee
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post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobius View Post

I have a feeling that if Apple did not bother with all this secrecy then the products would have less of a wow factor and grandiosity and, consequently, would be less desirable. As a result I believe it does help indirectly increase profits

On two levels because they've also have to pay more to generate the same marketing buzz that may or may not have resulted in the same increased sales from current mindshare buzz.

I thought there was a memo for the 70s which had Apple stating they will not talk about products before they are ready. Anyone remember that?
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post #11 of 44
Gort, Klatu Verata Nicto.
An Apple man since 1977
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post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Gort, Klatu Verata Nicto.

Are you implying that violating Apple's secrecy could in effect unlock an evil into this realm??

Where's Ash and his S-Mart Boomstick??!!
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

In a related story an employee has released this video of Apple's secret testing rooms.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipWzhc45gz4

It would probably have more security measures like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyO3hpaDISE

I don't know why Apple doesn't just give out specially built prototype hardware with a custom form factor. It doesn't really even need to be final silicon because developers could update their app when the final hardware is released.
post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Are you implying that violating Apple's secrecy could in effect unlock an evil into this realm??

Where's Ash and his S-Mart Boomstick??!!

One day the mother ship will land, Klatu and Gort will welcome thier brother Steve.
An Apple man since 1977
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post #15 of 44
That photo looks like porn for Apple fanboy bondage fetishes.
post #16 of 44
All this security and secrecy for the iPad...but they let 2 drunks lose the iPhone prototypes in bars.....
Makes no sense......

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post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It would probably have more security measures like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyO3hpaDISE

Touché! You win this thread, Marvin.
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post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

All this security and secrecy for the iPad...but they let 2 drunks lose the iPhone prototypes in bars

Nice character assassination. I'm a teetotaler, but I'm not biased enough to think that going to bars instantly makes you a drunk.

Quote:
Makes no sense......

That's because you're not even attempting to think about why it makes perfect sense.

Read the following like him:



iPhone. It's a phone. It needs to be used as a phone. So people have to carry it. Like they carry their phones. And they have to take it places to test service. Service for the phone. The phone that you're carrying. The iPhone. And phones go places because people go places. People go places like bars. Their phones come with them to bars. People go to these bars and use their phones at these bars. And they probably drink. Alcohol inhibits judgement and coordination. Might not get your phone back in your pocket all the way. It falls out. You don't notice. Sensory disruption. Someone finds it. Out in the wild. Out there where they're testing phones. Because they need to be tested.

And now you can stop.

The second part of this is bleedingly obvious. They're not TESTING the iPads when they give them to developers. They're just for development purposes. They sat tethered to tables and immobile while people code away and occasionally touch them.

As for the 3G iPad, heck, Apple testers had an entire month where they could use the 3G iPad out in the wild without a single person going, "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT NEW PRODUCT!?" because the Wi-Fi only model was already out.

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post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That's because you're not even attempting to think about why it makes perfect sense.

[]

The second part of this is bleedingly obvious. They're not TESTING the iPads when they give them to developers. They're just for development purposes. They sat tethered to tables and immobile while people code away and occasionally touch them.

As for the 3G iPad, heck, Apple testers had an entire month where they could use the 3G iPad out in the wild without a single person going, "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT NEW PRODUCT!?" because the Wi-Fi only model was already out.

It's silly to think that at the time Apple has device far inside its walls for only a couple eyes to see, perhaps not even as a full device but as components on a punchboard, they are also given them to developers to take out with them. Usually his posts are more well thought out so I have to assume it's just a brain fart on his part for not realizing that there could be a year or more of development time between these levels of development secrecy.
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post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

the release of the original Macintoch in 1984

cover up devices with black coaks

Today's typos -
Pretty bad when you can't even spell the name of the product the site reports on.
Coaks, cloaks, coats, cloths?
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Are you implying that violating Apple's secrecy could in effect unlock an evil into this realm??

Where's Ash and his S-Mart Boomstick??!!

Kids of today...
Gort is *NOT* in Army of Darkness, and that line is originally from "The Day the Earth Stood Still".
post #22 of 44
I am wondering why they didn't take much care with the iPhone4 as they took with the IPAD. we can see iPhone4 clearly in that picture
post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by RAMK View Post

I am wondering why they didn't take much care with the iPhone4 as they took with the IPAD. we can see iPhone4 clearly in that picture

Except no?

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post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by RAMK View Post

I am wondering why they didn't take much care with the iPhone4 as they took with the IPAD. we can see iPhone4 clearly in that picture


Ipad was a new product. I think it came right before the 4th generation iPhone shipped and it never occurred to any of the Asian clone makers to make a tablet. Even though all the parts were available
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Gort, Klatu Verata Nicto.

That's Klaatu Barada Nikto
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to a report from 2009, Apple's culture of secrecy dates back to around the release of the original Macintoch in 1984. "It really started around trying to keep the surprise aspect to product launches, which can have a lot of power," said former Apple marketing guru Regis McKenna.

I am afraid that with the latest update of iPhone, that occurs traditionally every year in June, Apple crossed the line. It is one thing to hide the prototypes, but they should show the device if it is already on the market for about three months.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainless View Post

I am afraid that with the latest update of iPhone, that occurs traditionally every year in June, Apple crossed the line. It is one thing to hide the prototypes, but they should show the device if it is already on the market for about three months.

Uh, no. They shouldn't. Or maybe you think Osborne didn't go out of business for doing that.

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post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Uh, no. They shouldn't. Or maybe you think Osborne didn't go out of business for doing that.

Are you saying that Apple plans to be the next Osborne ?
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainless View Post

It is one thing to hide the prototypes, but they should show the device if it is already on the market for about three months.

The iPhone 5 has been on the market for 3 months? Really?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainless View Post

Are you saying that Apple plans to be the next Osborne ?

At least you live up to our screen name.
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post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The iPhone 5 has been on the market for 3 months? Really?!

Yeah. They introduce new device every year in June. Why this year should by any different ? Only they finally got the security right and managed to have no leaks. Steve must be proud.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Except no?

You can see the iPhone 4 without concealing in case at the right top corner of that photo. i wonder why Tech sites didn't recognize it as a next generation phone then.
post #32 of 44
edit: Moderation.
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post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Except no?

You can see the iPhone 4 without concealing in case at the right top corner of that photo. i wonder why Tech sites didn't recognize it as a next generation phone then.
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by RAMK View Post

You can see the iPhone 4 without concealing in case at the right top corner of that photo. i wonder why Tech sites didn't recognize it as a next generation phone then.

Because it isn't one? Because whatever that is, it ISN'T without concealing in a case. Otherwise they would have been all over it, you're right.

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post #35 of 44
I don't remember the wood-grain stuff because we had software, not hardware, but Apple's security rules were much this way twenty years ago.

The main thing that has changed is that lots of media folks are vying for the latest scoop. Twenty years ago few of them were interested. Now they're all in the "dangle carrot" business, unfortunately.
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Nice character assassination. I'm a teetotaler, but I'm not biased enough to think that going to bars instantly makes you a drunk.

If the fools who lost the iPhone weren't drunk, then that makes it even worse.
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

If the fools who lost the iPhone weren't drunk, then that makes it even worse.

At least people aren't claiming the leaving of the prototype is all just an elaborate ruse my Apple for some unbelievably foolish and circuitous attempt to generate free press.
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post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobius View Post



Spot it?



Back to the subject...

I have a feeling that if Apple did not bother with all this secrecy then the products would have less of a wow factor and grandiosity and, consequently, would be less desirable. As a result I believe it does help indirectly increase profits

I have a feeling if they spent even more money on making the devices and less on security the wow-factor would be just as incredible.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The developer was forbidden from telling anyone, not even his company's CEO or his wife, about the project. "You're going to get fired if this doesn't work," his wife told him.

Then who the hell authorized the project? Wouldn't his boss need to know to authorize the project and people coming into the building. How realistic is this. And obviously he told his wife.
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Kids of today...
Gort is *NOT* in Army of Darkness, and that line is originally from "The Day the Earth Stood Still".

No, silly. Army of Darkness came out years before that Keanu Reeves movie.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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