Apple’s annual iPhone update has become a geeky feeding frenzy – with ‘leaks’ and rumours springing from sources as diverse as the chip foundries used to solder Apple processors to well-refreshed Californian employees leaving prototypes in bars.
In previous years, people have even used high-powered scanners to look inside Apple’s headquarters in California for ‘suspicious’ devices.
So Apple’s new job listings for managers of ‘new product security’ should be challenging positions, to say the least. The company describes working for Apple as ‘less of a job… more of a calling.’
An EFF spokesman has said, ‘I am not aware of another technology company that is so strongly opposed to pre-release news coverage of its products.’
So far, Apple has not even confirmed that an iPhone 5 exists, despite widespread reports, from credible analysts and telecoms CEOs that it not only exists, but is already being manufactured in advance of an early October release.
A ‘developer version’ of the new operating system, iOS 5, appears to be nearing completion, which hints strongly that release may be imminent.
Other companies in the field are preparing for war. A Samsung executive told the Korea Times, ‘When the iPhone 5 arrives here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents.’
This is in response to Apple’s continued legal action against Samsung’s Galaxy family of touchscreen tablets and smartphones – some of which are currently illegal in Europe, thanks to Apple lawsuits. In such an environment, the job of ‘product security’ seems more akin to being a Wild West lawman.
The much-hyped ‘losses’ of prototypes – there have been two occasions when employees ‘lost’ prototype iPhones in California bars – are not the leaks Apple would be most worried about, however.
Once a new device has reached the point where employees are field-testing it, a competitor who obtained one wouldn’t have enough time to analyze it and do anything to take advantage of that insider knowledge, Stickley said. Technology products take months or years to go from the blueprint stage to production.