Keeping the pre-release iPad a secret

Business Insider interviewed an unnamed “developer of a very successful iPad app” who recounted his first encounter with a pre-release iPad. It was being used for development, on loan from Apple.

“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.”

Photographing the wood grain on the desk was a clever move I wouldn’t have thought of. The bicycle cable would have prevented it from being removed from the desk and photographed elsewhere.