Few things are as astonishingly ironic as this situation; Apple’s recent closed-door presentation called “Stopping Leakers – Keeping Confidential at Apple” which detailed how the monolithic tech company handles leaks, was leaked.
The report comes from The Outline, which got its hands on the hour-long presentation that delved into Apple’s private global security force and what they do. The team, which has members with National Security Agency and FBI pedigree, explained their war on leaks that are popular amongst tech-heads who can’t wait to learn about the latest iPhone details and the black market which can use stolen hardware to create knockoffs.
The presentation was reportedly led by David Rice, the director of global security, Lee Freedman the director of worldwide investigations and Jenny Hubbert who works for the Global Security communications and training team. Rice went on to detail the great success Apple has had in plugging hardware leaks in their overseas manufacturing facilities, stating that workers, tempted by massive payouts typically for phone housings or enclosures, have been almost completely stopped. In 2016, only four housings out of 65 million produced were stolen, whereas Rice said that in 2013, Apple had to buy back 29,000 enclosures in order to keep the iPhone 5C announcement out of “every blog on Earth.”
This has led to Apple focusing stateside. According to Rice, for the first time ever, more leaks came from Apple’s campuses than from their supply chains. He also mentions that some leaks have come from the online Apple Store or iTunes, with some workers are simply excited to share what’s coming next:
“We oftentimes get people who are really excited about our products and they end up finding something to share and they will go out and say, ‘Hey, guess what we did.’ Or somebody will ask them a question and instead of just saying, ‘I can’t talk about it,’ they will say too much.”
Ultimately, it comes down to Apple wanting to control their information flow so they can market things how they want. Hubbert explained as much: “Surprise and delight. Surprise and delight when we announce a product to the world that hasn’t leaked. It’s incredibly impactful, in a really positive way. It’s our DNA. It’s our brand. But when leaks get out, that’s even more impactful. It’s a direct hit to all of us.”
Of course, keeping leaks plugged won’t affect consumer good will and won’t allow pricing to be affected when the masses rise up over certain features or prices of soon to be released products.
But passionate fans of the tech will always want to know what the next best thing is and when it’s coming. It’s like the Moore’s Law of fandom. Now, about the leakers leaking what Apple does about leaks. What will they do to stop them?