Employee takes prototype home, goes for a drink to celebrate his birthday and the device ends up at a leading tech blog. Wow. This doesn't sound like Apple.
After a week reading all the stories, twists and analysis, I have to admit this is a proper leak. Why?
Apple is known for its hardware or mobile devices as they call them. When Bill Gates saw the Xerox inspired OS for th Macintosh in a visit to Cupertino in 1982, Jobs learned a valuable lesson. If you don't want to get screwed by competitors, keep things secrets. And since then, HR and management have come up with protocols to protect the company from leaks. From giving false leads to employees to find who talks to the media to strict working policy at Chinese manufacturers. Come on, last year we read about a Foxconn employee comitting suicide for losing an iPhone prototype. Isn't Gray Powell scared as well? I can imagine the jokes around the office.
Apple enjoys its position as leader in several markets releasing stuff that will be copied yes or yes.
Any tech company with the prototype Gizmodo had could have a massive competitive advantage. Why were we able to see the model publicly and wasn't hidden in a lab in China?
I believe Apple allows certain people to take beta products home (see post aboub this list supervised by Jobs himself) just to show, comment and tease. All those first line columnists, mavens, influential people hav a look at these things before everyone else. Just count all the people that saw the iPad and said its like a massive iPhone.
That's the PR spin Apple wants. Because a product might have limitations that customers are not expecting and just launching a product without testing public opinion can be a big bummer. This is known as launching a hot-air balloon to test the waters. The fat nano, the thin nano, the iPad name, they were all tested with leaks using this method. This time, it went out of hand. Maybe for the PR calendar, Apple didn't want to have this info out because people are talking about the iPad and the 4.0 OS. iPhone is trending topic on Twitter and that new model is two months away still. What will we talk about now?