Apple's obsession with secrecy regarding their highly lucrative consumer electronics has led to a strange, albeit effective strategy: hiring real employees to work on fake products.
The revelation came to light during a LinkedIn talk, where the audience was allowed to address Adam Lashinsky, the author of "Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired— and Secretive— Company Really Works."
A former Apple employee told Lashinsky that "a friend of mine who's a senior engineer at Apple, he works on— or did work on— fake products I'm sure for the first part of his career, and interviewed for nine months."
The Cupertino, Calif. company's commitment to secrecy— while "intense," according to the unnamed former Apple employee— is also incredibly effective; entire sites like 9to5Mac and MacDailyNews are dedicated to detailing the latest rumors precisely because the company is so tight-lipped.
Another way Apple achieves this is by constantly changing the access and design of its campus, according to Lashinsky.
To keep whispers of new products down to a minimum, the company has teams of carpenters installing new doors, frosting windows, and changing employees' access cards so that they can (or can't) check out the new areas.
In an era where many Silicon Valley businesses are pushing towards more transparency between the company and their consumer, Apple is doing just the opposite.
While working at Apple, the atmosphere may be difficult, but it all follows one simple rule: "If it hasn't been disclosed to you, then it's literally none of your business," wrote Lashinsky.
This attitude extends even to those being considered to work at the consumer electronics behemoth. Even when prospective employees don't officially work for Apple yet, they were not told exactly what position they were needed for— simply to come in and be interviewed.
"They wouldn't tell me what [the position] was," one former engineer told Lashinsky for the book. "I knew it was related to the iPod, but not what the job was."
Bob Borchers, a product marketing executive in the days of the first iPhone, confirmed that the secrecy made his work environment a little more strenuous than others.
"You sit down, and you start with the usual roundtable of who is doing what," he said. "And half the folks can't tell you what they're doing, because it's a secret project that they've gotten hired for."
Apple enforces their policies too: any employee or executive heard talking too loosely about Apple's projects, products, or the company's structure is quickly fired.
To see some of Apple's secrets exposed, click below: