New Apple Engineers Build Fake Products Until They Can Be Trusted



Becoming an Apple engineer could well be one of the most exciting careers currently available in the technology industry, but don’t expect to working on the iPhone 5 during your first week. It seems the Cupertino company is so obsessed with secrecy that new employees are made to work on “fake” devices for months, until they can be trusted not to leak them.

The story was published in Adam Lashinsky’s recently released Inside Apple book, and comes from a former Apple employee. The story was confirmed during a interview with Lashinsky, hosted by LinkedIn, which can be seen in the video below:


The former Apple staffer revealed:

A friend of mine who’s a senior engineer at Apple, he works on — or did work on — fake products I’m sure for the first part of his career, and interviewed for 9 months. It’s intense.

Having new employees work on fake products that were never intended for market kind of seems like a huge waste of resources. But that’s going to be little concern to a company with $97 billion in the bank.

The staffer als0 said that he believes Tim Cook has what it takes to become president. Not the president of Apple — but the president of the United States.

[via Business Insider]

  • Jonathan Ober

    I wish I could get paid to work on things that never see the light of day. I think the one problem I have with this is that while Apple has the money to spend on fake products, I wonder if that money could be used for something better, whether it would be something within apple or just in general to help the world. For instance if they put that money to help a country install a water pump so that a people could drink clean water, or something humanitarian.

  • vitaliyPrystupa

    Better give a fair payment to the chinese workers who do not work on fake products. Some need a country of the slaves to live like that and make billions. I hate such a way of life and thinking.

  • aardman

    Oh Jesus Christ let’s just ask Apple to solve all the world’s problems then shall we?  If you’re demanding that of Apple because it is extremely profitable, then why not include Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and many more out there?

  • DrM47145

    …and how about the government caring for its citizen’s health instead of “defending democracy” in Irak?

    Apple is not a humanitarian company, it’s a for-profit company, and there’s nothing wrong about it.

  • Jonathan Ober

    last time i checked this was, not, or … I’m not asking Apple to solve world problems, though I think they are obligated to help, with great power comes great responsibility, no man is an iLand (island). It’s been proven that once a poor country or small group of people get clean water they have a great potential for sustainability and profitability. I think a water pump costs somewhere around $1000 which apple could help put a dent in the billion or so without a source of clean water.

  • prof_peabody

    You left out the word “sometimes.” 

    As in there is some indication that *sometimes* this happens at Apple (whereas in your story you are basically saying that this happens to ALL new employees).  Try to be at least semi-professional.  

  • Mike Rathjen
  • packerrd

    Apple is a company, not a charity.

  • dwalker73

    Exactly, the comments of one employee does not mean it is the truth for all.  Many former coworkers of mine are at Apple, they knew exactly what they were to be working on and were recruited to do exactly that job (and many are in the iOS based product groups).

    Maybe that employee was not to be trusted because he came from a direct competitor? There are countless explanations.

  • John Howell

    IIt might be that he was just working on prototype designs. 8) Not everything sitting on Jonny Ives desk make it to an Apple store.

  • Brandon Dillon

    They have the RED charity.

  • HerbalEd

    Look at the big picture …. the massive leap in person-to-person international communication of ideas and information; a third-world villager in Africa being able to take a Harvard engineering course by downloading it from iTunes U; etc., etc. Of course, Apple is not the only company that’s creating this cyber renaissance, but they’re pushing it harder and smarter than everyone else. Just by creating and distributing their products, Apple (and the IT/computer industry at large) is doing great things for the poor, oppressed (Arab Spring), un/under-educated, rural hospitals, etc., etc. “Apple already gave at work.”

    Sure, poor people can’t afford Apple products. But even still, maybe their local free clinic links into life-saving information via their iPhone or iPad, or whatever.

    And, while I’m at it …. Apple is getting a bum rap on the NY Times muckraking. While, yes, there’s still lots of improvements to be made, the truth is that the Foxcomm workers in China are a lot better off than if Apple never came. But, if you’ve ever done business in someplace like China … or America for that matter … you know that things always move frustratingly slower than you want. Esp. if you don’t own the factory and have full control. It’s a slow painful process to make those factory owners, the Chinese government, etc. make the changes you want to see. Overall, I’d say Apple’s trying to do the right thing … but while dealing with the realities of the world.