History Of Apple Product Leaks And Apple’s Response
Apple is a company that is not just known for great products, but also for the extremely secretive nature of operations.
The company has traditionally shrouded its new products in mystery ahead of their official launch. Gizmodo's leak of the new iPhone earlier this week is one of the very few instances where intricate details about an upcoming Apple device made its way to the media even before it is officially unveiled.
Here is a look at some of the earlier instances when details about Apple's upcoming products were leaked ahead of the official launch.
2000: PowerMac, iBook and Mouse
In July 2000, a person only known by his online handle "worker bee" posted several details about an upcoming version of iBook on the AppleInsider forum. "Worker Bee" also followed this up by divulging more details about Apple's new mouse and a dual-processor PowerMac. Apple responded by filing a lawsuit even before knowing who the culprit was. "Worker Bee" was later identified as an ex-Apple employee named Juan Gutierrez. The case was settled outside the court.
At around the same time, Apple news website MacInTouch published pictures of a Cube-Shaped Mac that was apparently leaked to them by an anonymous tipster. Apple responded by issuing a "Notice of Infringement" asking for the content to be pulled down. A week later, Steve Jobs announced the cube-shaped Mac at MacWorld.
2005: iWork and Asteroid
Apple's launch of its iWork productivity suite in 2005 was preceded by accurate leaks on a Mac fans website Think Secret. The website also leaked information about the launch of a $499 Mac besides offering information on an upcoming music device codenamed Asteroid. Claiming that the company's "DNA is innovation, and the protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success", Apple filed a lawsuit against Think Secret. After three years of legal dispute, the company reached a settlement with the owner of Think Secret, Nick Ciarelli, who agreed to shut the site down.
2007: Fat Nano
In one of the more recent instances, CrunchGear, Gizmodo and 9to5Mac published leaked pictures of an upcoming model of iPod Nano that was nicknamed "Fat Nano". Apple's legal team soon responded by issuing cease-and-desist notices to these websites. While CrunchGear and Gizmodo replaced the pictures with mock renderings, 9to5Mac pulled the entire content down.
Apple's response to product leaks in the past have shown that the company has always been concerned about the source of leaks and the media publications are spared of legal action if they comply with the company's take down request. In the latest case however, the leak appears to have happened by accident rather than any deliberate attempt by the Apple employee. Under such circumstances, we wonder if Apple's legal team would take any action against Gizmodo or the person who sold the next generation iPhone prototype to them.
What are your thoughts? Do you think its the last we've heard of this story?