Why Apple Will Never Surprise Us With ‘One More Thing’ Ever Again

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The iPad mini, leaked months before it debuts.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook famously said that Cupertino was going to “double down on secrecy” this year. It hasn’t worked. Apple — once a company known for the surprise “one more thing” — had every single detail of the iPhone 5 leaked to the public before the actual event. Can Apple ever get its secrecy back?

Probably not. A new report talking to a number of Apple employees under the condition of anonymity suggests that while Apple HQ is as secretive of new products as ever, Cupertino can do nothing about leaks that come out of the Asian supply chain.

“Apple’s security practices are targeted at making sure US employees don’t leak stuff, but everything comes out of China now,” one Apple employee told Ars Technica. “I think Apple’s secrecy mode is really outdated.”

Why is it so outdated? While people who work directly for Apple look upon the company’s secrecy as a point of pride and as a way to show respect for other employee’s hard work, few workers at, say, Foxconn have any interest in keeping the details of new products secret. And since Apple must now build products up to half a year in advance of a new launch to supply demand, these workers have an extremely long time to leak details of upcoming products to the outside world.

And the leaks? They’re just going to get worse.

“You’ve got thousands of people working on manufacturing something who have no vested interest in keeping it secret,” one employee said, adding that he believes leaks will continue to increase as Apple ramps up overseas manufacturing operations. “It will be increasingly hard to hide the industrial design we do because we manufacture things overseas. Since we don’t do it in the US, it’s may be hard to surprise people over anything in the future.”

In other words, say goodbye to the surprise “one more thing.” Apple’s secrecy is a victim of the company’s own massive success. No one’s happy about it, but it’s not a failure from the top: Apple employees reportedly say that Tim Cook’s Apple is actually more secretive than it was under Jobs. Apple’s just too big to keep a secret anymore. There are too many links in the chain, too many people interested.

Source: Ars Technica