Verizon iPhone was codenamed “ACME” and prototypes required secret pin entry every 12 hours

Wed, May 25, 2011


By Sarah Petit:

After nearly 4 years of waiting, the iPhone finally came to Verizon earlier this year and ended years of speculation as to when Apple would release a CDMA model of its popular smartphone. Verizon and Apple’s joint efforts to deliver a CDMA iPhone began in earnest in 2008 and kicked off a mutuall beneficial relationsihp between the two parties that saw Verizon install cell towers on Apple’s campus and the two companies exchanging upcoming plans for products and initiatives.

As we reported a few months back, one particular Verizon engineer named David McCarley spent a full year working on Apple’s Cupertino campus advising Apple on the nuances of CDMA networks.

Delving deeper into the backstory, development, and testing of the CDMA iPhone, Technobuffalo has an eye-opening writeup detailing a number of facts about the Verizon iPhone that where heretofore unknown.

One interesting anecdote involves security measures put into place by Apple for the lucky few Verizon employees who were granted access to the iPhone 4.

This wasn’t an issue this time around. Our source describes a unique protocol requiring staffers to text a secret PIN code to a dedicated phone number every 12 hours. This served as ongoing confirmation that the handset was still in the proper hands. So no PIN code, no functionality.

We’re not the first to say this, but wow, it’s like straight out of LOST.

As for other security measures, employees in the know weren’t allowed to call the iPhone by its real name and instead relied on a code word.

Though key employees and executives were in the loop, everyone else at the carrier knew little more than the rest of the public. And it would seem the higher ups wanted to keep it that way. No one talked about the Apple smartphone externally, and even internally, it was still a hush-hush operation. In fact, says the source, the word “iPhone” was never uttered; only its codename was referenced: It was called the “ACME” device.

When it comes to secrecy, Apple isn’t playing around.



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