As opposed to most companies, Apple isn’t a fan of vaporware. That is to say, Apple never discusses upcoming products or features that may, or may not, eventually make it to market. On the contrary, when Apple announces a new product, you better believe that it will show up in Apple retail stores as advertised, save the enigmatic case of the white iPhone 4, of course.
In maintaining their unofficial “it’s not real until we announce it” credo, Apple goes to great lengths to keep its products under wraps. Sometimes, though, Apple needs to divulge upcoming products and platforms to select developers before the general public is aware of their existence.
And such was the case with the iPad.
There was tremendous hype and buzz surrounding Apple’s rumored tablet device in the weeks and months before it was officially introduced by Steve Jobs. But part of that big reveal required some apps to showcase to the public. And so, Apple had to bite the bullet and let a few lucky developers in on the iPad secret.
But to keep news of Apple’s upcoming product under wraps, developers given access to Apple’s iPad pre-launch were subjected to tremendous security measures.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, one successful iPad developer recounts to Noah Davis how seriously Apple took keeping the iPad a complete secret.
I was probably the sixth person to get an iPad.
We got two of them flown out.
The criteria was that we had to have a room with no windows. They changed the locks on the door.
Three developers and I were the only people allowed to go in the room. Apple needed the names and social security numbers of the people who had access.
Apple needed to be able to drill a hole in the desk and chain the devices to desk. They used those bicycle cables.
They had these custom frames built around them so we couldn’t even tell what the iPads looked like. 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.
Then they took pictures of the wood grain. If any pictures leaked out, they could trace it back to which desk they came from.
Yep, that sounds about right and jibes with some of what we heard way back when the iPad first hit the market. Appel clearly takes product secrecy with utmost seriousness and has sort of fallen victim to a painful cycle. Apple has to enact crazy security measures about its upcoming products because the public has an insatiable appetite for Apple rumors and even a grainy photo of a partially blurred and distorted iPhone 7, hypothetically speaking, would generate and incredible amount of attention. At the same time, people, in part, are so interested in upcoming Apple products precisely because Apple is so secretive.