When they aren’t just accidentally losing their prototypes in bars, the security around Apple’s prototypes can be quite impressive. Just listen to what some early-access devs had to go through to check out the original iPad before it was released. The only thing they didn’t have to acquiesce to is wearing explosive collars around their necks.
Business Insider has a look at what some devs had to go through in order for outside devs to code apps for the original, unannounced iPad at Apple’s invitations:
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.
Crazy, but as MacRumors notes, even with this level of security, Apple still couldn’t prevent photos leaking out to blogs. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I guess the will to see Apple’s next device will always be greater than Apple’s will to keep it totally hush-hush.