Apple Can't Keep a Secret

Let me give you the tl;dr right up front. Apple can't keep a secret, and hasn't been able to for a long time.

Anyone that watches Apple, knows, deep down, this is true. I roll my eyes every time Tim Cook or other Apple wonk knowingly smiles and tries to feign a twinkle in their eye, and say they "don't comment on future products"—yea, that's because everyone else does, so they don't need to bother. As such, Apple should just give up on its pretense of secrecy. I know I have.


It's been forever since Apple has actually surprised us with a secret it could keep. Basically, almost every hardware update is known about with morbid accuracy well in advance of any announcements mostly because Apple's Chinese suppliers leak everything. One need only visit MacRumors (et al.) to confirm this is true. iPhone case manufacturers leak design details for crying out loud. Really!?! Case manufacturers!

A surprise these days, is the exception, not the norm, but this wasn't the case back during the Steve Jobs era. Steve knew how to control these leaks better. Remember when ATI leaked that it would be supplying a video card for the iMac a day early? No one really cared about it, but Steve did. He put them on a black list and stopped using them as a vendor to punish them for a few iterations. Yea, they kept their pie holes shut after that.

But no one at Apple seems to have the needed "asshole" and/or "vindictive" gene, much less vision to keep similar order. Well, except for crazy-eye Scott Forstall, but he's been ousted and relegated to wasting his tech acumen on producing broadway musicals, so that Apple could enter its kinder-and-gentler era. How sad.

Anyway, what's worse is that at least Apple could try to surprise us with software (since the Chinese supply chain shouldn't be able to leak that), but the company doesn't do that either. Most software features leak today as well. Partly, from developers that are too sloppy or lazy to remove details of the features in betas (including hardware releases), but, mostly, I suspect, because Apple has just resumed being a ship that leaks form the top.

Yesterday we heard rumor of Apple letting developers have third party integration with Siri along with an Amazon-Echo-like device. This would have been a great surprise announcement for WWDC, but not anymore. The inability to surprise just adds to the perception that Apple keynotes are becoming snoozefests.

Of course there are exceptions. The trashcan Mac Pro was a surprise, but it took Apple building a new freak'n plant in the U.S. and a six-month lead time till release to keep that under wraps. Also, even Steve Jobs had leaks, like the famous 'iPhone 4 lost in a bar' fiasco (although that supports the point of how draconian he was willing to be with police and goon intimidation worthy of a spy novel). But these are exceptions to the rule, which currently is, Apple can't keep a freak'n secret to save its life.

Apple needs to put up and actually surprise us, or shut up about its supposed "culture of secrecy," because right now, it comes off like they're talking to their imaginary friend. But I'm not holding my breath.

So since Apple cannot actually keep a secret anymore, with rare exception, it's time it stopped bothering. Why keep up the pretense. The management is too spineless to actually punish the leakers like Steve Jobs did. The only by-product is uncertainty that Wall Street punishes them for, and a huge waste of expense on security within the company that just hassles people.

Furthermore, it's far past time for the press to stop pretending like Apple can actually keep a secret, and treat such claims as laughable.

At this point, the only secret Apple is maintaining is its farcical portrayed "belief" that it can still keep a secret.