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Did Apple SVP Phil Schiller Really Joke About Apple’s Secrecy Problem Yesterday?

by Todd Haselton | October 24, 2012October 24, 2012 12:00 pm PDT

We recently covered a fascinating story written by Ars Technica that covered Apple’s leak problem. Apple’s iPhone 5 was leaked extensively ahead of launch and we all knew almost a year ago that the iPad mini was going to hit the market at some point. Those rumors were followed, again, by extensive leaks. Here’s my issue: Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was planning to double down on secrecy ahead of both launches, but clearly that’s not the case. Worse, Phil Schiller pretty much laughed in the face of the problem yesterday during Apple’s iPad mini event and nobody seemed to care. Instead, he was greeted by laughter.

I don’t think this is a change in Apple and I’m the last writer who will ink the words that the company is changing because Steve Jobs is no longer at the helm. But clearly, there’s an issue here. This is exactly what Schiller said yesterday, while introducing the refreshed Mac mini:

 Next up, the Mac Mini… [laughs]… you knew there’d be something called Mini in this presentation.

Yeah, we did, because Apple can’t contain its ongoing problem of leaks out of the company’s supply chain. “Apple’s security practices are targeted at making sure U.S. employees don’t leak stuff, but everything comes out of China now,” an unnamed Apple employee told Ars Technica in an interview recently. “I think Apple’s secrecy mode is really outdated.” Clearly it is, but what’s the solution?

These obviously aren’t the first product launches during which Apple has had to deal with leaks. Remember when Gizmodo got its hands on an early iPhone 4 that an employee left in a restaurant?

I’m just still surprised that Tim Cook has failed to plug the leaks after he said he would focus more on keeping everything top secret. And it’s surprising to me that a member of his own team joked about how everyone in the room knew that the iPad mini was going to be announced yesterday. Maybe it’s all planned, but Cheng’s report seems to suggest that’s not Apple’s intention.

I’m just curious when Tim Cook, who has extensive experience with supply chains, will back up his own statements.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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