Why Apple Keeps its Magic a Secret

Updated: Nov 23, 2018

Apple keeps its secrets about new products wrapped so tightly, it has since become a model for other tech companies to follow. Vogue’s Anna Wintour grills Apple about its secrecy.

Apple is notorious for being obsessively secretive about what its working on, keeping its unannounced products tightly under wraps by hiring an army of ex-NSA agents like the FBI, the US Secret Service and in the US military, to police its workforce for leakers. Even its headquarters in California looks like a villain's lair out of a James Bond movie. The tech giant's insanely secretive practices have become a model for other tech companies to follow.

“Why is Apple so secretive?” Apple’s chief design officer, Jony Ive, was asked by Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of fashion magazine Vogue and artistic director for publisher Condé Nast, at the Wired 25 conference in San Fransisco yesterday.

“I think it would be bizarre not to be,” Ive replied. “I don’t know many creatives who want to talk about what they’re doing when they’re halfway through it.”

“I know lots of PR departments who want to talk about something that’s been worked on. I've been doing this for long enough where I actually feel a responsibility to not confuse or add more noise about what's being worked on because I know that it sometimes does not work out. And so I think it’s just in our nature to stay quiet about a project until it’s done.”

“When were working on a difficult problem – and so many of the problems we’re working on now are so complex – it just seems rather odd to be telling everyone what you’re doing,” Ive added.

Apple’s Global Security team employs an undisclosed number of investigators around the world to prevent information from reaching its competitors, counterfeiters and the press, as well as hunt down the source when leaks do occur, according to an internal briefing at Apple in 2017, obtained by The Outline

Apple takes its business seriously and its leakers even more seriously.

Steve Jobs ran a notoriously secretive ship during his tenure as Apple’s CEO, and in 2004 the tech giant even unsuccessfully tried to subpoena a group of tech bloggers to unmask their sources. Apple takes its business seriously and its leakers even more seriously.

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