Go read how the US government built a top-secret iPod right under Steve Jobs’ nose

Go read how the US government built a top-secret iPod right under Steve Jobs’ nose

Go learn how the US authorities constructed a top-secret iPod proper below Steve Jobs’ nostril

For a time period beginning in 2005, Apple allowed two US authorities contractors to work in its places of work to develop a customized model of the iPod — however precisely what that iPod would do was a thriller, and stays so at this time, as shared on this fascinating story by former iPod engineer David Shayer that it’s best to go learn.

The story begins off like a novel:

It was a grey day in late 2005. I used to be sitting at my desk, writing code for the following yr’s iPod. With out knocking, the director of iPod Software program—my boss’s boss—abruptly entered and closed the door behind him. He reduce to the chase. “I’ve a particular task for you. Your boss doesn’t find out about it. You’ll assist two engineers from the US Division of Vitality construct a particular iPod. Report solely to me.”

That first paragraph units the tone for the entire story, which has an abundance of cool particulars that solely add to Apple’s legendary mythos of secrecy. For instance:

Solely 4 individuals at Apple knew about this secret undertaking. Me, the director of iPod Software program, the vice chairman of the iPod Division, and the senior vice chairman of {Hardware}. None of us nonetheless work at Apple. There was no paper path. All communication was in particular person.

As for what the engineers have been really engaged on, right here’s how Shayer describes it:

They wished so as to add some customized {hardware} to an iPod and file knowledge from this tradition {hardware} to the iPod’s disk in a approach that couldn’t be simply detected. Nevertheless it nonetheless needed to look and work like a standard iPod.

Shayer says he didn’t know what that customized iPod can be used for. However he guessed that they have been “constructing one thing like a stealth Geiger counter,” which may have theoretically allowed individuals to file radioactivity ranges whereas showing to make use of a normal-looking iPod.

All of it gave the impression of one thing out of a spy film, however former iPod chief Tony Fadell says it’s all real. He ought to know: Fadell was vice chairman of iPod on the time.

It is best to take a couple of minutes to learn Shayer’s complete story on TidBITS.

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