We all know that Apple is paranoid about secrecy, but sometimes that paranoia borders on the laughably absurd. Case in point - BusinessWeek reported recently that Apple lent iPads to a few select developers in anticipation of the April 3rd launch. But even though we've already seen the iPad demoed up on stage, and even though we're already 100% familiar with everything the iPad can do, Apple has taken what can only be described as ridiculous measures to ensure that those blessed with pre-release versions of the device don't go toting them around town.
"Apple has always required developers to keep prerelease versions of its devices under lock and key. The company is known to alter products it sends out so that it can trace the source of leaks should product details or photos end up in the media. 'They are very serious about the NDAs,' says Edward Eigerman, who was a senior systems engineer with Apple from 2001 to 2005, when Apple terminated him for providing unreleased Mac software to a customer."
According to BusinessWeek, selected developers must keep the iPad in a room with blacked out windows while also ensuring that it remain firmly tethered to a stationary object like a desk. Moreover, Apple reportedly won't send out any test devices until developers send in "photographic evidence" that their anticipated workspace conforms to Apple's stringent demands. Naturally, there's also a 10-page contract developers must sign wherein they promise not to reveal any info about the iPad.
Do they really need 10 pages for that?
But seriously, the iPad launch is just over a week away, and again, the public at large is already quite familiar with all things iPad. I suppose some habits are just ingrained in corporate culture, but that's not to say that they always make sense.
A few weeks ago, a Wall Street Journal executive reportedly got into hot water with Apple after sending out a tweet from a test version of an iPad that simply stated, "This tweet sent from an iPad, does it look cool?" Upon learning of the WSJ executives tweet, Steve Jobs reportedly lost it, leading to the subsequent removal of said Tweet.
Such is life in the world of Apple.
This story, "Developers Get iPads and Stern Warnings from Apple" was originally published by Network World.