I imagine Tim Cook is furious.
And I imagine that employees in Apple’s marketing department are filled with a gut-wrenching mix of just anger, paranoia and fear.
What can cause such discomfort in the pristine glass walls of Apple’s spaceship HQ (or in external employees’ home bubbles)? Tuesday morning, photos of the entire iPhone 12 series and HomePod mini leak just hours before Apple’s “Hi, Speed” event.
The photos were published by longtime leaks Evan Blass and revealed the new iPhones̵
One can only imagine the impact of such leaks. (Apple certainly does not talk about them. We asked for a comment, but have not heard yet.) But while they spoiled the day’s big event a bit, I bet they will lead to serious consequences in Cupertino’s inner circle.
Apple leaks must cause paranoia
Can you wrap your head around the great turmoil that must be brewed inside Apple in the midst of such a wave of leaks? Can you imagine participating in Group FaceTime after the mortem about how the “Hello, speed” event went?
I envision an atmosphere that is just a little less tense and toxic than the Antarctic base in Things.
After all, Apple is a secret $ 2 trillion dollar company that prides itself on the privacy of its products. Cook himself promised to “double down” on secrecy in 2012 (and warned employees in 2018 of harsh punishment for leaking Apple secrets). And yet Cupertino can not protect the crown jewels of the product range – iPhone.
The implications seem astonishing.
Who spilled the beans?
Were these leaks the craft of a hacker? In many ways, it will prove to be more detrimental to Apple’s image and morals than the likely source (s). After all, if Apple’s PR department files can be hacked, what about iCloud?
More than likely, however, these leaks flow directly from one or more Apple insiders. And if you’re struggling with Apple’s marketing team, the knowledge that someone you work with must actively seek to undermine your company’s largest product launch of the year must eat your psyche.
In some ways – and this is not encouraging news for Apple executives – Tuesday’s leaks at the last minute did not seem so surprising. When we welcomed serial leaks Jon Prosser CultCast Earlier this year, he told us shocking stories about receiving C-suite-level information in virtually real-time about upcoming Apple press releases.
Ahead of Tuesday’s “Hi, Speed” event, the sheer amount of leaks about new Apple products gave us a Nostradamus-level vision of basically everything that was destined to come out of Cupertino’s magic pipeline.
Still, Tuesday morning’s dripping, dripping, dripping of fresh leaks must surely have rattled Apple’s management team.
Apple ‘Hi, Speed’ arrangement delicious
Blass’ post on Voice the site followed a decent template. He used declarative headlines and colorful images, apparently pilfered directly from Apple’s marketing materials (and embellished with a Voice watermark):
- This is iPhone 12 in black, blue, green, red and white
- This is iPhone 12 mini in black, blue, green, red and white
- This is iPhone 12 Pro in blue, gold, graphite and silver
- This is iPhone 12 Pro Max in blue, gold, graphite and silver
- This is the Apple HomePod mini in Space Gray and White
As the “Hi, Speed” event approached Tuesday morning, it was Voice the site went offline, presumably cracking it under the weight of Apple fans’ interest.
What’s next for Apple leaks?
Cook and other Apple workers must have felt offended by the revelations. For decades, Apple has been trading on secrecy. The company deftly erected a monolithic wall around its projects, and used the resulting secrecy to drum up the excitement about the devices at the time of launch.
After today’s event showed that the leaks were accurate, you can only imagine the excitement ahead in Cupertino.
If you, as an Apple employee, regularly handle the company’s most precious secrets, you’ll have to be rattled. Is the person sitting next to you one of the moles leaking to the media? Believe your boss you are the one that leaks?
Like Cook, Prosser appears to have its own magic pipeline. His predictions for what would and would not be revealed on Tuesday again proved incredibly accurate. (And once again he gets to keep his eyebrows.)
For Prosser, sharing Apple’s most precious secrets brings pure joy. “No one else makes leaks so funny, and you know it,” he tweeted early Tuesday. Then, as the incident unfolded, he tweeted a link to the entire video conference.
No one else makes leaks so funny, and you know it #AppleEvent
– Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) October 13, 2020
And afterwards he promised that there would be even more on Wednesday.
For longtime leaker Blass, Tuesday’s coup proved successful. He said he gathered more than 1,000 new Twitter followers in two hours.
“I want to say this, though: I love leaking iPhones,” he tweeted. “We need to work together more often, @apple (that’s a joke, guys).” ->
How can Apple squeeze itself down?
Maybe we should not be too surprised that Apple is facing the problem of continuing leaks. For Apple leakers, who turn valuable secrets into viral tweets and videos, accurate predictions represent the kingdom’s most valued coin. For Apple News sites, included Cult of Mac, the steady stream of rumors and leaks provides a data stream ripe for evaluation and utilization.
For everyone, including us, there is money in Apple leaks.
In Apple’s defense, the Pentagon and the National Security Agency cannot stop leaks. And the entrepreneurs who smuggled classified info out of these organizations were dealing with life and death data that is far more sensitive than a product image. Whether you view the leakers as heroes or traitors depends entirely on your view of the world. ->
For Apple insiders, each leak must feel like another suction in the gut. And I guess it’s the kind of body type that leaves traces – and a lingering feeling of fear and paranoia – that only gets worse the next day.
Now the only question is what will Tim Cook do with it?