Why Apple Developed a Secret Version of the iPod

The former senior engineer in the iPod software group spoke about his involvement in a top secret defense project 15 years ago. It turns out that Apple did not refuse the government of its country in all possible assistance. Roughly because of this, Huawei fell out of favor, although in the case of Apple, it seems, there was no talk about collecting personal data of users and sending it to the American special services, although much in this story remained unsaid. But the level of technology development at that time seemed to make it impossible. The secrecy label has been removed from this project only now, but who knows what Apple, Google and other monsters of the IT world have been doing in recent years? And what are they working on now?

It looked like an ordinary iPod. But not really

David Shayer joined Apple Computer (the company changed its name to “just Apple” in January 2007, the day the first iPhone was announced) in 2001, becoming the second software engineer in the iPod group, although the iPod was also called P68. … The marketers came up with a name for the device later. An epic, insane and doomed to failure project, which unexpectedly for everyone (including Apple itself, except for Steve Jobs and a narrow circle of his associates, no one believed in the success of the project) became the company's first step towards its current capitalization of almost $ 2 trillion. …

But this has nothing to do with our history today. Our story began at the end of 2005, on a rainy autumn day. If not for some circumstances, we would never have known about it, since at Apple, classified information, as a rule, remains secret forever. And any nonsense related to the country's defense or protection from a nuclear threat will be declassified 15 years later, in accordance with the requirements of federal law. That is, from some point on, they are not prosecuted for its distribution. The duration of the secrecy label can be extended, but this is rarely done and in the most interesting (serious) cases.

Secret iPod Classic 5G

The main differences were hidden inside

Its designation looks surprisingly modern, but 5G in it denotes only the fifth generation of the device itself. In 2005, even 3G cellular networks had not yet entered the market, although they had already been written about a lot. They say that they are deadly to health, because of them bees will surely die out, and passenger liners will go astray and sink en masse in the oceans. The top secret project was supposed to use the most common fifth-generation iPod with some kind of sensors – about which David knows nothing.

Все, что от него требовалось – добавить в операционную систему iPod утилиту для создания на диске устройства секретного раздела, невидимого при его подключении к PC или Mac'у.

He did not even have to write this utility – it was directly handled by engineers at Bechtel , which worked under a contract with the US Department of Energy. David only advised them, helped them figure out the operating system of the iPod, and even gave training. The iPod system was closed, there was no public documentation for it, and without the help of one of its authors it would have been easier to rewrite it. The engineers at Bechtel, Paul and Matthew, grasped everything on the fly and was easy to work with.

IPod Classic 5G Mini 60GB Hard Drive

Some data should have been written into the secret section (David is sure that it was data from a Geiger counter), which were somehow tied to a geo-location and read by some device unknown to him. Outwardly, the iPod was no different from its "civilian" counterparts, and regularly performed all the functions of an ordinary fifth generation iPod – playing video, downloading music from iTunes, playing it – all its secret functions were completely disguised.

Кстати, даже iPod Classic 5G не были предоставлены Apple – Bechtel покупала их в обычной торговой сети .

Does Apple Work for the US Government?

DoE , the US Department of Energy, is closely related to the country's defense. He is in charge of all US nuclear weapons (development, production, maintenance and storage), protection against them, and so on. In fact, it is a partner of the Ministry of Defense and the special services. But according to David Shayer, the secrecy in Apple Computer was much more serious and strict than that of Bechtel, admitted to state secrets, and its powerful customers.

Business cards for Paul and Matthew, engineers at Bechtel

О проекте, его предназначении и о других его деталях в этих организациях знали десятки, а то и сотни человек. В Apple о проекте знали только четыре человека : Дэвид, директор по программному обеспечению iPod, вице-президент Apple, возглавлявший подразделение iPod , и старший вице-президент компании по аппаратному обеспечению (хардверу) Apple.

Probably, the head of the company ( Steve Jobs ) was also aware, in this case the number of dedicated people would increase by a quarter – up to 5 people. No one else at Apple had the slightest clue about this project.

When the project was completed, everything that had to do with it was immediately destroyed in the presence of both parties. Apple has no information about the project. Did David invent this story? It would be possible, of course, to address questions to the Department of Energy – but, probably, it is better not.

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