An Insiders Look at Apple’s Secretive iPad Testing Procedures

Sep 11, 2011 - 9 Comments

First iPad Leaked Photo

Apple’s secrecy is the stuff of legends, and if you’ve ever wondered how Apple went about keeping the iPad a secret prior to it’s launch, this story from BusinessInsider is quite interesting.

Relayed from an anonymous but successful developer who worked with the iPad prior to the the products official launch, it’s a fascinating look at the efforts Apple goes through to keep a product under wraps:

Now that it’s over a year, I can talk about it.
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.
I wasn’t allowed to tell our CEO. I wasn’t allowed to tell anybody anything about what we were doing. I couldn’t even tell my wife. She was like, “You’re going to get fired if this doesn’t work.”
I hadn’t thought about that but she was probably right.
Luckily, it worked out very well.

The heavily masked image at the top came from Engadget a few days prior to the official iPad unveiling in January 2010, and is likely an accuruate representation of the custom frame that masked the iPads appearance in the developers tale.

Stories like this really make you wonder what Apple is currently cooking up somewhere in some dark window-less room…

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Posted by: Matt Chan in Fun, iPad, News

9 Comments

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  1. Gary says:

    This reads like something out of the Skunkworks program, Apple is nuts and I love it!

    • APo says:

      Whats nuts about that? If I were to put thousands of engineers and designers to work hard I too would protect what they’ve done like that.

  2. Joseph says:

    Also in that picture an Iphone 4 before it was out. that was a good leak!

  3. CEOman says:

    Well this seams like an over kill but for apple it is normal

  4. Dan says:

    It’s not that unusual. I worked for a company that had a license to produce stuff from the LotR films. Before the first film came out, we were working under similar conditions; solid steel door, restricted access control lock, frosted windows (the guys needed daylight), 1 computer off the network to view the CDs sent from the USA. NewLine were really hot on security, particularly with the Balrog, Fell Beast & Shelob.

  5. icebreaker says:

    They really do hate Windows don’t they ;)

  6. Joseph says:

    Yeah but it’s okay to leave it at the bar every now and then.

  7. stu says:

    My only problem with this is I bet it is actually illegal to collect social security numbers in this way…..Not that Apple would ever get charged for it….

  8. Rob says:

    Yeah, there is no way in hell I’m giving my SSN to Apple just to be able to test the iPad early. That’s absurd.

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