back to article Ex-staffer: Apple assigns new workers to made up projects

Get a job at Apple and there's a very good chance the company won't tell you what product or project you're working on, says author Adam Lashinksy. According to one ex-employee, Apple may even make up products in order to test your loyalty. In Lashinksy's new book, Inside Apple - described by Apple fansite TUAW as "a quick, easy …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Inside Apple - described by Apple fansite TUAW as "a quick, easy read... with large, readable type"

Nothing to add.

4
2
Silver badge
Thumb Down

With 36 billion in the bank I guess hiring someone for nine months on an engineers salary to work on cream filled headphones in the shape of a duck makes perfect financial sense.

They do tell the shareholders that they do this instead of giving out a dividend, right???

11
4
Anonymous Coward

It does not matter

The development for made up projects is often portable to real projects. You can tell the people you are developing a new ipod (or whatever) when you're really developing a new phone (or whatever). Most of the hardware and OS and a lot of the UI systems are common and only the phone-specific UI is different.

Only a very small number of people working on the first iphone saw the UI until a week or so before the announcement.

It is not wasted work so why would the shareholders be bothered?

3
3
Anonymous Coward

"Only a very small number of people working on the first iphone saw the UI until a week or so before the announcement."

Any citation for that?

You're saying there was no usability testing for one of their most important launches ever, outside of the engineering team? No marketing, no promotional material, no videography, photography? The suppliers of the parts, the assembly line workers in Asia, none of these knew about the product until a WEEK before?

4
0
Facepalm

Awwwww...

...It's one reason why Apple has a downer on this very site - and a number of other publications we could mention, including the UK's - and the world's - first ever Mac magazine....

You poor website, not getting what you want. Shame about that, care to throw another tantrum?

Seems to work for Apple tho...#2 in market cap for the WORLD.

4
46
Trollface

Lol - Popcorn on hand for this one...

1
0
Happy

IIRC

Everything was copacetic until Mac OS 10.2, when the Reg staffers noticed and mocked Steve's Jagwire pronunciation.

Do not mock happy fun ball.

3
0
WTF?

@Awwwww

Steve! Welcome back - everyone told us you were dead!

9
1
Anonymous Coward

I bloody told you all there'd be a second coming of Their Lord Jobs...

2
0
Bronze badge

zhah-zhuar... Jeg-yoo-uh...

Some famous US or other/somesuch actress pronounced the car as "zhah-zhuar"...

Around 92, or so, (or maybe 90?), I was watching TV and the announcer said something like "Introh-doo-sing the nine-teen-NINEty jheg-yoo-wuh"...

I think i amost spat out whatever it was I was eating at that moment...

I don't recall "jagwire", but that pronunciation makes me think of Boba Fett, or someone named Jagpinder Suprahak or somesuch....

How many counter-pronunciations did El Reg offer/proffer up to Jobs? Was it several, or just one, single cut? It must've hit Jobs like a paper cut, and sometimes paper cuts are nothing, and other times send you into a rage how fast you responded and how deep it went, and if it ws on a cuticle... (never had one on the frenulum yet, thank you very much...)

0
0

There was me forgetting

that because it WORKS that means it's RIGHT.

0
0
Childcatcher

There actually is a Jagwire

But they make cable for bicycles so I'm guessing it is an intentional pun http://www.jagwireusa.com/

icon chosen for the bike helmet

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@Fai111F

New here?

5
0
zb
Trollface

He has been around for a while ...

... but I think he is trying to beat his personal best for thumbs down. At 30:0 and still rising I think he must be getting close. He does have a natural talent for pissing people off:)

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Ideal for Cameron's cabinet then...

0
0
Silver badge

Shareholders more than happy with rise in stock value.

Apple have billions in the bank BECAUSE they work this way. R&D is an investment, and you pay to protect it.

Besides, some of these 'dummy' projects might turn up gold, a patent or a design. Y'know, like buying a graphics workstation company that doesn't manage to sell any workstations to hospitals or meteorologists ... but wins Academy Awards and makes you a billionaire.

3
4
Anonymous Coward

Hardly suprising.

Cults do strange things especially when money is invoved.

9
1

Apples cloak and dagger doesn't really lend itself to the business IT market. I was recently at a tech seminar called deploying iPad and iPhone in your business. However they refused to provide any details or roadmaps of future projects which from a business point of view makes them a very unattractive proposition. Unfortunatly for IT managers many companies end up supporting Apple devices because senior management buy them in because of their image only later on to find out their huge cost of ownership and lack of business level support. If Apple are interested in getting themselves into the enterprise business market like the inclusion of exchange support indicates, then they are going to need to change their methods.

6
2
Silver badge
Linux

Why would apple want to get into the enterprise market?

Businesses aren't going to upgrade every year, they are going to demand backward compatibility for longer and interoperability (which is a resource drain), they would be fighting a very well entrenched competitor with massive resources and even if you manage to get a mac into the enterprise, what are you going to run on it? Apple don't want their systems associated with all the inherent complexity and trouble of managing large numbers of devices.

Once you start buying lots of units, price sensitivity increases, that isn't what apple wants either.

All the execs are going to buy their products anyway and no-one is going to have a personal ipad and a work ipad or a personal iphone and a work iphone.

Part of Apple's appeal is that it is nicer than your work system. A relief to see a lovely 27" imac after looking at a rubbish 14" dell laptop all day.

Apple don't need and don't want the enterprise at the moment. There is still plenty of scope left in the home market where they are comfortable and doing well.

Keeping new hires in the dark probably costs peanuts compared to the cost of a leak.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Appacle

Sounds like Snoracle and their "We don't discuss unreleased products" bull$hit answer to every question I ask.

What do you think about OpenFlow? => "We don't discuss unreleased products"

What's your take on 12G SAS external flash storage? => "We don't discuss unreleased products"

Do you want to take all the money from my wallet? => "Sure"

Apple + Oracle. Think about it.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Raises hand

Actually, I have two iPhones; one for work and one personal.

Don't have two iPads though.

0
0

Cloak and Dagger

Apples cloak and dagger doesn't stop there. At a recent tech seminar named "Deploying iPhone and iPad in your business" the Apple SE's refused or were unable to give any details of future releases or product road maps. That's fine for regular consumers, but if Apple wants to expand in to propper enterprise business like their inclusion of exchange support and WPA2 enterprise encryption implies then they are going to need to rethink their ways of doing business. Not enterprise company in their right mind would spend $100,000's on a system which they don't know which way it is heading.

4
3
Anonymous Coward

"if Apple wants to expand in to proper enterprise business like their inclusion of exchange support and WPA2 enterprise encryption implies then they are going to need to rethink their ways of doing business."

Somebody downvoted this?

I really really really don't understand the fanboi cult.

Of course Apple and enterprise don't really go together now anyway since Those Who Must Be Obeyed decided there would be no more Apple Server business.

Weird.

2
2
Unhappy

@ AC - Apple and enterprise?

...except iPads are the next big thing on the corporate front. I know quite few companies looking at MDM's and corporate-only apps.

Shame it's just the execs wanting shiny toys...doubly annoying is It detracts (financially and politically) from the serious bread and butter work needing done in the heavy-lifting data centre.

0
0

Oh..

We did. 1000+ iPads and 100s of iPhones. The current technology served the purpose we needed currently and has paid for itself.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

"...........a quick, easy read... with large, readable type"

Perfect for the Apple user! Make it as Fisher-Price as possible so they can understand.

6
5

Like this...

Like this...

Fisher Price Apptivity Case - http://www.firebox.com/product/4664/Fisher-Price-Apptivity-Case

0
0
Coat

Lik this?

Kindof a neat cover. Still wouldn't let my 18-24 month old (as pictured on the site) unattended with my phone, or attended with my phone.

I was pretty astonished that www.firebox.com was a toy site though! yeah, I'll get my coat...

1
0
Silver badge
Devil

Its true

All those wasted months in the triangular corner team. I often looked across the hall at the squared off corner guys, wondering how the look and feel of their designs would sit with the work we were doing. Until ... Bam! Secretly, in another building unbeknown to either of us, the round corner team announced their work could at last be made public and the rest, as we all now know, is history.

8
0
Silver badge
Alien

iPhone 5

To be followed by iPhone 5S.

Why is there a helicopter hoverin...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

They sound about as "Security Concious"...

Read: PARANOID as most of the Foreign Intelligence agencies and Mafias out there being that they stick new hires into fake security compartments, then terrorize them a little by threatening their jobs, families, and anything else they can to try to get them to crack. Its cruel, but its sound counterintelligence practice. Ive never heard of anything but a mob or the Ultimate Mob (The Guv'mint) doing it though. Perhaps they dont go quite as far as the other examples I listed, but it sounds awful close.

It seems damned rare in the Civilian World to actually run CI process on at-will or even Contract employees, especially those under binding NDAs and Non-Compete Agreements, but Apple's an aberration in many ways, which are beyond the scope of this comment, so in a way Im not at all surprised. However, I am surprised noone's come unhinged and taken a potshot or 10 at their fake project's "PM" or "Principal Engineer" yet.

I wonder if Apple's looking for former Counterintelligence people with technical expertise enough to bullshit and act like a project manager or engineer for this, I have alot of unemployed friends who need jobs and excel at this sort of thing.

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Working on a fool's errand?

Now that's gotta be motivating.

1
0
FAIL

Fools errand indeed

Well, in the real Corp Engineering world: Working on a project, only to have it cancelled can be a bit demotivating. To have a couple of those is really de-motivating. But at the same time, you know the projects were started in good faith to go to completion, you shrug and start on the next (hopefully even cooler) project hoping your work doesn't get wasted there. It happens...

Now to be working on a project that has been started in bad faith to never see the light of day? I myself would quit and find something else to do. Like most people, I don't like to have my chain yanked like that.

Yeah, I don't get it. If the employees are paid sufficiently, and have NDA clauses in their contracts, why is Apple really worried about it? The rumour mill has done more "perceived" damage to their product line in the last couple of years than actually having a good leak now and then.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

"With 36 billion in the bank"

Where do you get that from - it's actually just topped 100bn dollars in cash.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

The irony is Samsung would kill for people to leak / publicise their products like this...

0
1
Silver badge

Not that crazy

New blood usually bring new initiatives and ideas into existing projects and organisations. While these new idea are often very useful and sometimes lead to new possible devices and features for the future they tend not to help with established and properly planned project schedules.

I'm sure some of Apple's (new) staff will have known the details of what they are working on, however more junior staff tend not to be given the big picture and instead be given a narrow project target aim that is carefully documented and limited in scope. For example, if your task is to design a physical press button that fits into a particular form and is easily manufactured, reliable and hits the appropriate budget targets you don't really need to know the exact full product that it will be used on as it could be used on many.

0
0

Its a little crazy

The kids I've worked with/mentored want to be working on something real. If they get "crap" projects(their definition of crap), they pretty much just quit. Give them fake projects? I don't want to know what they'd do then.

1
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Perhaps that's the real test.

I'm guessing Apple doesn't want quitters, any more than any other company. Having people queue up to work for you means you can be a bit cavalier about how you induct them, I guess.

GJC

2
1

Bad test though

@Geoff,

You might be right, but what Apple would ultimately get are the engineers with low self-esteem/low motivation/low innovation potential that don't think they can get a job somewhere else. That's just as bad as letting MBA's run an engineering company. The good engineers will quit under those conditions and go somewhere else where they can feel like they are actually making a difference rather than working on bogus projects. If the project might be bogus, how much good effort are they going to spend on it, and they're probably more likely to leak every project because they think they're fake and don't matter?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@admiraljkb

I suspect that wouldn't be the case at Apple though, I reckon Apple would be one of the dream jobs for a new graduate of the right inclination..

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Is that actually true?

I'm not an engineer, but back when I was programming full time, I couldn't give a stuff about whether or not my code made a difference to the world. I simply had an obsessive, tunnel-vision focus on producing the tightest, neatest, downright *coolest* code that I could. I wonder if Apple are searching for that sort of obsessive mono-mania in their engineers, people who will work for 72 hours straight to achieve a slightly neater button, just because they can?

Just a thought, I have no idea how it works in practice.

GJC

0
0

Next thing you know, failed project managers will be dropped into shark tanks during meetings, and Apple will merge with Google and change its name to SPECTRE.

I guess I'm a bit more mercenary than most, but I don't much care if I'm working on a fake project or not - they'll get their 8 hours and not a second more. If a company's got no respect for you, don't give them any.

"Could you work on this project tonight?"

"Sure!" *deletes email, goes back to Skyrim*

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums