Blame the rumor mills for killing the element of surprise. With rumors and leaks pouring in every other day, it is increasingly becoming difficult for brands to keep their announcements a secret. Take the OnePlus 5 for an example, the details continued to leak till a couple of hours before the official launch. It’s not just OnePlus either. Apple, Samsung, and others all have been grappling with this problem. Now, ironically a “leaked” internal briefing of Apple reveals how the company handles the leaks before the official announcements.
Published by TheOutliners, the presentation delivered by Apple’s Global Security team reveals that there an undisclosed number of investigators spread across the globe who ensure the leaked information does not reach the media. The presentation is titled “Stopping Leakers – Keeping Confidential at Apple.” It was spearheaded by Director of Global Security David Rice, Director of Worldwide Investigations Lee Freedman, and Jenny Hubbert, who is involved with the Global Security communications and training team.
These investigators also work to prevent leaks to counterfeiters and competition. These people are also assigned to track the source of such leaks. The website claims these investigators have previously worked with US intelligence services, National Security Agency and the likes of FBI, US Secret Service and even US military. ALSO READ: Most Apple ‘leaks’ coming directly from its employees: Report
The website points out that Apple is quite obsessed with keeping its announcements secret. “When I see a leak in the press, for me, it’s gut-wrenching,” an Apple employee is quoted as saying in one of the videos. “It really makes me sick to my stomach.” Another employee comments, “When you leak this information, you’re letting all of us down. It’s our company, the reputation of the company, the hard work of the different teams that work on this stuff.”
“This has become a big deal for Tim,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s Vice President of iPod, iPhone and iOS product marketing, comments in one of the videos. “Matter of fact, it should be important to literally everybody at Apple that we can’t tolerate this any longer.” He further says, “I have faith deep in my soul that if we hire smart people they’re gonna think about this, they’re gonna understand this, and ultimately they’re gonna do the right thing, and that’s to keep their mouth shut.”
Then a “New Product Security” team is introduced. The team is supposed to be tracking the supply chain, which supposedly has the highest vulnerability of leaking information. The Apple management also stresses on the amount of leaks happen in China and devices that get stolen. However, it also highlights the incidents of such thefts have significantly reduced in last few years.
“I go through a lot of trouble not to talk about what I work on with my wife, with my teenage kids… with my friends, my family,” an employee laments in one of the videos. “I’m not telling you that you give up all relationships,” David Rice responds, “but that you have a built-in relationship monitor that you’re constantly using.”
The lengthy presentation kind of suggests Apple is very obsessed with secrecy. But this culture roots to Steve Jobs era who also preferred keeping the announcements very much under the wraps before the main official launch days. Tim Cook is said to have continued the legacy, but he faces more challenges than his predecessor.
After the iPhone 5 debacle, the number of blogs and websites publishing leaked information has significantly grown. At the moment, there’s already a number of leaked information available for the iPhone 8, which is believed to be the special edition of the smartphone that celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since there’s a lot of anticipation around the iPhone 8, existing iPhone sales have taken a huge hit. This has also been acknowledged by Tim Cook, who said recently that the slowed iPhone sales were due to “earlier and much more frequent reports about future iPhones.” ALSO READ: Apple iPhone 8 ‘frequent’ leaks are hurting sales: CEO Tim Cook