Apple designs and creates iPod and iTunes, Mac laptop and desktop computers, the OS X operating system, and the revolutionary iPhone and iPad.
Examples of how extreme Apple can be when it comes to secrecy
Apple is known as one of the most secretive company in the tech industry. Whenever the company is working on a new project it make sure everything is kept secret before the launch. This is accomplished by monitoring closely everything that happens in the work space. Developers are required to chain every product they are working on to the desks they are assigned to. It doesn’t stop there, as they work on the product they even have to cover them with black cloaks.
Employees working at Apple are only allowed to know what they need to know and whenever one of them is suspected of leaking information, some serious investigation on that person is started.
Here are some example of how extreme the secrecy in Apple is.
Wives have to keep their mouth shut
Working at Apple doesn’t mean one can discuss work related issues with his life partner. A husband is certainly not allowed to share Apple related information with his wife. Not long ago, a woman shared on Quora how fear was used to dissuade her from talking about her husband’s project. At the time the husband was working on a project to make PCs run Mac OS. To make sure no information leaks out, Apple had the house reconfigured to meet its own security standards.
Very few know about Steve Jobs health conditions
There is no other company that has been that much secretive about the health of its CEO. While Steve Jobs was battling with pancreatic cancer and having a liver transplant, Apple representatives declined to comment on the health of the man even though everybody could clearly see that he has lost a considerable amount of weight. The issue was quite sensitive and the secrecy went on until we all got surprised by the death of Steve.
iPad devices to be chained to desk
Apple wanted no information related to the creation of the iPad get outside the company before time. An iPad developer told news reporters that one key rule during the process of working on the gadget was that the room where the devices were, had to have no windows.
Only 4 developers were allowed in that room and the company took the names and social security numbers of those individuals. A hole was drilled on each working desk so that the iPad could be chained on to it. Aside that, there were custom frames built around the devices so that even those working on it couldn’t tell what they looked like.
The security level at the manufacturing site was also high
Back in 2010, Reuters described Apple’s manufacturing site based in China as an industrial fortress.. Employees have to swipe card to gain access to the facility and even after that there are guards that will still use fingerprint technology to confirm the identity of the employee.
Before any factory worker leaves, they security guards have to use metal detectors to search him. At that point it was in the interest of that worker not to have any metal object on him or he would find himself in trouble.
Better tracking manufacturers by using a variety of them
Apple doesn’t even want its own manufacturers to know what the company is up to. So it would rather rely on different electronic suppliers, each working on a different part. Only Apple knows how the parts are going to be assembled into the final product.
The working environment was compartmentalized
In the book “Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired–and Secretive–Company Really Works”, it is said that in a meeting, before certain specific topics were discussed, one has to make sure that everyone is the room is “disclosed”. Not every worker or even manager in the company is allowed to know certain things. An ex-employee confirmed that not every topic are allowed unless everyone in the room was disclosed. The different projects are broken down into pieces that remained a puzzle to the employee. Only the highest levels of the organizations can put the whole puzzle together and see the real picture.
Physical barriers created for projects
Sometimes Apple can go as far has building physical barriers to separate projects. So when the employees see carpenters appear, they know something big is afoot. There will be new walls erected with doors added onto it. Then one has to follow new security protocols. No information is allowed to go inside or outside those room without a good justification first. Even the windows, in case of any between the rooms, are frosted.
An Intense tracking system for products
Even the prototypes of products Apple is working on are laser marked with serial numbers. Access to those prototypes is restricted and one has to go through some security clearance to make use of them. Having access to certain specialized areas like the Industrial Design Studio is highly restricted and one has to present a badge to be allowed there. People having access to those areas have a better idea of what the final product is supposed to look like but again no information discussed in the studio has to leave the premises.
Right now, Apple is rumored to be working on a smartwatch. But probably the secret won’t come out until the company has a final product at hand.