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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,603
19,350


In a feature article today, The New York Times reports on Apple's history of secrecy regarding its product plans and other company matters. While Apple's long history guarding of its product pipeline has fostered the growth of dedicated rumors sites such as MacRumors, the company's unwillingness to share details related to Steve Jobs' medical leave of absence has cast renewed attention on Apple's devotion to secrecy.

The report details the lengths Apple has gone to in guarding its secrets, beginning with limiting employee access to products under development.
Secrecy at Apple is not just the prevailing communications strategy; it is baked into the corporate culture. Employees working on top-secret projects must pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices, according to one former employee who worked in such areas.

Work spaces are typically monitored by security cameras, this employee said. Some Apple workers in the most critical product-testing rooms must 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, he said.
Beyond limiting access, Apple also routinely provides misinformation to reporters, analysts, and even its own employees. In many cases, Apple has gone as far as deliberately providing incorrect details to its employees as part of attempts to track down the sources of leaks.
Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for marketing, has held internal meetings about new products and provided incorrect information about a product’s price or features, according to a former employee who signed an agreement not to discuss internal matters. Apple then tries to track down the source of news reports that include the incorrect details.
Regarding Steve Jobs' medical leave of absence during which he reportedly received a liver transplant, the report also addresses the controversy over whether Apple's lack of disclosure may even have violated federal laws regulating disclosure of health information for senior officials that could have material effects on companies' stock performance.

In contrast to many companies that have adopted open communications policies, including adding blog and Twitter presences, Apple stands out as an innovative technology company that continues to shun such avenues of communications in favor of keeping information as close to the vest as possible. While the strategy provides a level of excitement regarding Apple's product announcements and undoubtedly provides the company with an advantage over its competitors in many cases, Apple's lack of transparency is regarded as an increasingly important issue from the perspective of investors, regulatory agencies, and the media.

Article Link: New York Times Reports on Apple's Obsession With Secrecy
 

Schizoid

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2008
900
729
UK
to get to 10.7 you have to go through 7 security-swipe doors, 1 numerical coded door, a portcullis, over a moat and finally through a shark-infested river...

do they have frickin lasers too?
 

talkingfuture

macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2008
1,216
0
The back of beyond.
Must be cool to work in one of those top secret labs.

I am very happy about Apple's secrecy because its good to see the finished products when they are ready for the big time.

It also makes Apple rumours so much more interesting than the rest of the tech industry.
 

bytethese

macrumors 68030
Jun 20, 2007
2,695
104
Torn

While I can see the value in keeping certain projects secret, spreading misinformation to spot leaks has trouble written all over it.

I think it'd be "cool" to work on something secret and watch the eventual public feedback on it. However, I'd have reservations working for a company that did not trust it's employees...
 

breeze

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2006
22
0
Apple's obsession with secrecy

Most of the a__holes demanding Apple be forthcoming on this issue and others too, aren't in the slightest interested in understanding the issues, nor are they capable (it seems) of understanding that Apple's real investors and loyal users, are quite happy accepting the secrecy and trusting Apple and it's board.

Manipulators and predators wish they could change Apple's mode of operation ... only to fit things in their own little agenda.

Apple's big advantage is that it "thinks different" and therefore leads - It has learned from history that "loose lips, sink ships" and will never show it's hand to people who can't do anything but second guess, copy, steal and manipulate.

Anyone who doesn't like that can go look for another investment or day trading stock, or for that matter buy competitor's products.

Anyone else who does appreciate quality products, software or the company's way of thinking - Support and stay the course, you won't be let down.
 

Nadav

macrumors regular
Nov 10, 2007
177
0
I feel like Apple used to be a lot less predictable, but ever since they introduced the iPod, they lost some of their secrecy, which I am very happy about. Its nice to know that iPods will be refreshed in September, iPhone in June/July. While it is difficult to predict when new Laptops and Desktops will be introduced, they usually do them every 9 months based on recent trends. Hopefully they continue to update their products in a reasonable time frame, unlike the Mac Mini and the ACD's...
 

amac4me

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,303
0
Secrecy is a central core of the company and is part of Apple's strategic competitive advantage.
 

Busters

macrumors newbie
Mar 11, 2009
21
0
Whether or not you think is is good or bad, in this day and age when we see video and tweets of happenings in Iran as they happen despite the government's attempts to lock down information, it is amazing to me that Apple still successfully keeps product details so well protected until release.
 

Prometheus2000

macrumors member
Apr 27, 2008
82
0
Mysteryland

Who cares about the "investors, regulatory agencies, and the media", following mac rumors is like waiting for christmas to finnally see what Mum and Dad have under the tree prepared for us.

What investor cannot be happy with how Apple is doing in the moment? What media doesn't mourn about the secrecy while reporting every bit of insignificant noise Apple makes? What regulatory agencies, its not like Apple builds secret weapons or something!.

They build electronics and software and give me a christmas feeling all year long, thats enough for me. :)
 

appledude222

macrumors member
Jun 4, 2009
36
7
Must be cool to work in one of those top secret labs.

I am very happy about Apple's secrecy because its good to see the finished products when they are ready for the big time.

It also makes Apple rumours so much more interesting than the rest of the tech industry.

True its the only reason apple is doing so well.:)
 

Doodledoo

macrumors regular
Jan 31, 2008
108
0
I think their approach to cultural and product secrecy is crucial to the Apple mystique. Without leaks, misinformation and crazed apprehension to fuel the rumour mill, Apple would just be another fruit company. However, their secrecy in the corporate environment, as the NYT article describes, is very problematic; it puts their stock at risk, it puts their shareholders' trust in the company at risk, and it makes them a wildcard in the corporate world. Which is bad. We need to have a safe Apple, not one that squanders it success by going to incredible strides to protect the personal life of an eccentric CEO.
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
I'm all for it.

And as for the secrecy around Jobs' health issue, Apple by law is not required to disclose anything. The health of exectuives is not considered material.

I love the "cloak and dagger" Apple. It's been working very well with respect to prodcuts and marketing.
 

NinjaHERO

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2008
948
1,149
U S of A
If they are not using killer robots to protect their products, then they don't really care about secrecy. Come on apple. card swipes and key codes can be stolen. But a few terminator robots in the halls. Then you got some security. :p


I think they go to extremes to keep secrets. But it's their company, so whatever makes them happy. Just keep giving me good stuff.
 

bentley

macrumors 6502
Mar 20, 2005
252
0
Secrecy, rumours, leaks, keynotes. It gets Apple masses of column inches and is integral to their brand and marketing.
 

RTiii320

macrumors 6502a
Aug 15, 2008
596
0
Long Beach, CA
wow, imagine being in one of those "top secret" rooms.. :cool:

However, it always seems that they products eventually leak before they are supposed too.
 
While the strategy provides a level of excitement regarding Apple's product announcements and undoubtedly provides the company with an advantage over its competitors in many cases, Apple's lack of transparency is regarded as an increasingly important issue from the perspective of investors, regulatory agencies, and the media.

The last sentence provides the whole motivation for the article. The media just can't stand it when someone, or some company, does not bow down and spill all when approached by a journalist.
 

DELLsFan

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2009
826
0
There's product secrecy - which Apple is well within its right to enforce. And there's CEO health secrecy - which Apple is under more scrutiny to provide transparency to shareholders and regulators.

I think if they're gonna misrepresent about Jobs' health, they should probably work on their lying skills - so they aren't caught in future boldface mistruths. I think there needed to be more accurate reports divulged - instead of what they touted and reported while Steve was in seclusion.
 

lord patton

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2005
1,052
10
Chicago
Employees working on top-secret projects must pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices... workers in the most critical product-testing rooms must 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, he said.

Sounds like my days working for a defense contractor. Are you sure Apple isn't making Directional Infrared Countermeasures?
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
I think their approach to cultural and product secrecy is crucial to the Apple mystique. Without leaks, misinformation and crazed apprehension to fuel the rumour mill, Apple would just be another fruit company. However, their secrecy in the corporate environment, as the NYT article describes, is very problematic; it puts their stock at risk, it puts their shareholders' trust in the company at risk, and it makes them a wildcard in the corporate world. Which is bad. We need to have a safe Apple, not one that squanders it success by going to incredible strides to protect the personal life of an eccentric CEO.

"squanders its success."

Yeah, Apple is just throwing everything away. Products people want and get excited about (like nothing else), the most interesting development cycle in tech today, leading the entire industry and creating new areas of profitability, billions in revenue, billions in extra cash (compare Apple today to Apple of 1998), and unparalleled popularity and attention. The highest ratings in customer satisfaction, year after year. Apple makes the rest of the industry look like a rug on valium.



How could they be so stupid??

(If shareholders are unaware or are uninformed as to the risks they assume with Apple, and if they are uninfirmed as to SEC regulations regarding these health-related matters [which are immaterial], then Apple is not to blame.)
 
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