Just Call Me Jobs. Steve Jobs.

by Tanner Godarzi Mar 30, 2007

Steve Jobs has been known to be the king of secrecy when it comes to all things Apple. Something slipping through his grasp is rare, but still he stays one step ahead of the competition. Does the secrecy of Apple generate free publicity?

Years back, AppleInsider and a few other Mac news outlets reported on the possible release of an external Firewire audio device for Apple’s Garageband software. The device was code named “Q97” or “Asteroid” and the specifications were quite elaborate. Once Apple got wind of this, AppleInsider and O’Grady’s Powerpage were subpoenaed in order to learn the identity of those who leaked the yet-to-be-announced Apple product.

While the Firewire audio device was never announced or heard from, Apple tied up loose ends at the company by weeding out those who were leaking rumors. Steve Jobs isn’t the type of person to have rumors about Apple floating around, because other companies could steal the idea, and since the type of products Apple works with need to be kept under wraps, all leaks of rumors need to be kept track of. That’s what Asteroid, err, Q97 did, making the first few steps in tracking leaks (and it did hit hard like an Asteroid). The idea of giving out false information to people and seeing where it shows up is nothing new in tracking leaks, but this method was used heavily throughout the development of the iPhone.

Actually, the timing of this false leak and the development of the iPhone are very close, which would explain why Apple would need to see how many holes would need to be plugged before the iPhone could be conceived.

Before I go on, let me ask you this: show me a Dell rumor site, or Nokia, Asus, Alieneware, Voodoo, Samsung, AMD, nVIdia, ATi, Intel rumor sites. You might find some, but compare them now to the massive amount of blogs, forums, and sites dedicated to Apple rumors.

Now, if Apple is so secretive, how can these rumor sites sustain a reader base? Because the basis of their claims, what powers most of the sites, is just a false leak to weed out those not totally loyal to Apple. The other part that sustains them is no longer rumors but analysis of the current market, what Apple has right now, and what emerging technologies are becoming widespread. if you find a touch screen then chances are you’ll find a rumor about new MacBooks with multi touch.

The massive amount of buzz generated by Apple-dedicated sites is partly due to a devotion to Apple and the intense level of secrecy Apple is surrounded by. Wired reports that Steve Jobs has been known to uphold this level of secrecy and hold key members to it. Employees were only told what they needed to know to finish their part of the project, having what they were working on in massive boxes, the less they knew the better. Throughout the entire production of the iPhone, Cingular didn’t even see or know what the final device would be until the very end of putting on the final touches. When Ron Johnson of Target was hired by Apple to work in Apple’s retail effort, Ron was asked to use an alias for quite some time which was listed in the phone directory.

It’s human nature to desire things we don’t yet know about it. It boggles our mind and Apple just feeds off of that. The intense desire to know what Apple has behind that black curtain or that next “Oh, and one more thing” has powered the Apple community greatly. So much so that the noise we generate wanting to know about this yet-to-be-announced white box of wonderment generates so much free marketing for Apple it’s unbelievable.

Yahoo! reports that 400 million dollars worth of free advertising may have been generated due to anticipation of the device. To put that in perspective, the film “300,” which broke box office records, had a budget of 60 million dollars. And that was just for the iPhone; who knows how much Apple has generated from other outlets like the iPod Halo effect (me being a prime example and you will find out why next week) or even people seeing a Mac and just saying wow. The aurora of a Mac grabs you in; my friend was hooked instantly on the iMacs because of Photobooth and iSight. Who knows, maybe Photobooth was conceived as a marketing campaign for new and simple-minded users.

Regardless of the secrecy Apple has employed and the massive amounts of buzz generated, one horrible marketing tool for Apple is the Beta of Leopard releases. Also, as Chris Howard mentions, what if there are no top secret features for Leopard? What we need to consider is that Leopard is all hype and no show right now, and that Apple is doing a massive internal Beta while only providing enough of Leopard for programming and to give some faith to us that is being worked on. With rumors circling around and being squashed about the delay of Leopard, a delay does not seem surprising due to lack of features, but we are over-hyping Leopard.


  • I think the secret parts of him and Apple date back to the early years when MS did a total one off of their work. Keeping eveything a secret just keeps the cat in the bag and keeps every other company 5 years back.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Mar 30, 2007 Posts: 172
  • And beyond the knowledge of everyone watching Jobs in that Keynote. The macmini in his hand is actually running without cables, without a battery, all on the power of his thoughts.

    Kaiser Machead had this to say on Mar 30, 2007 Posts: 10
  • The idea that Apple guards its secrets because its the only company that ever creates anything new and that every other company is 5 years behind them is delusional.

    As just one case in point, Time Machine is ALREADY a feature in Vista and has been in Windows since 2003 and was developed as early as 2001.

    Maybe Microsoft should learn the lesson after being so open with its beta release, eh?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 30, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Time machine isn’t as revolutionary as say the GUI… Unless you throw in ZFS… And let’s not forget Windows Restore doesn’t work on 3rd party applications. Time Machine however works with EVERY SINGLE file on your system. Windows restore was also hit or miss as until Vista only backed up (by making a copy and using up more HD space) registry and system files.

    Vista can be setup to selectively backup data and certain data sets by extension. However neither come close to the capabilities of Time Machine which allows you to not only go back on every file, but browse the contents of the file after every save. It’s really drawing on the power of a newer file system where as Vista draws on the available HD space to bloat up.

    xwiredtva had this to say on Apr 02, 2007 Posts: 172
  • There is no *easy* way to use Windows restore functions that completely restore lost files, and they were fairly inconsistent or just didn’t work at all. Older versions of Windows (up to XP) didn’t have any *real* way for you to have a full backup of your entire system which could be used to restore your main drive if ever it broke.

    Time Machine itself is not being touted as something they invented, but rather something with the easiest interface for what it is, and is easily accessed through the dock. I’ll bet the average user will be more inclined to backing up data more often with this over windows restore, which sucks. Period.

    Kaiser Machead had this to say on Apr 02, 2007 Posts: 10
  • To compare System Restore Points to Time Machine is like comparing a Ford Focus to a BMW M6 Convertible. Sure, they both drive on a road, but there are features the BMW has that the Focus can only dream of.

    Compare the way Time Machine actually works to System Restore Points.

    Everyone knows SRP only repairs a Windows box to a previously usable/bootable point when it gets corrupted. System Restore DOES NOT RECOVER USER DOCUMENTS.

    2 minutes on Wikipedia tells you that:

    As a matter of fact, it can delete user documents if the user routinely stores personal files outside of the “My Documents, My Pics, My Other Shit” directory structures.

    So it can actually cause you to LOSE files. Time Machine, on the other hand, allows you to restore any file anywhere on the system, even within applications that are Time Machine aware.

    Beeblebrox, you *know* that comparing the two is total bull crap since they work completely differently… but you just can’t resist those straw man arguments.

    vb_baysider had this to say on Apr 02, 2007 Posts: 243
  • Time Machine is for those who are incredibly lazy about Backups, that is what was being stressed at WWDC. To compare Time Machine and what Windows offers is ludicrous, they are not the same. They may do similar things but are intended for different people and different purposes.

    Tanner Godarzi had this to say on Apr 02, 2007 Posts: 70
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