Apple, perhaps more so than any other tech company, appreciates the spectacle and excitement of a ‘big reveal.’ Whereas most tech companies tend to announce what they’re working on months — if not years — in advance, Apple has historically taken a completely different approach. Largely the doing of Steve Jobs, Apple’s penchant for making surprise announcements is why the phrase “one more thing” quickly took on a life of its own — in tech circles, at least — throughout the early 2000s. Apple, in short, has long been a notoriously private company which goes to great lengths to keep information about upcoming products completely cloaked under lock and key.
While Apple’s desire to keep upcoming products hidden from the public eye is immense and unwavering, it can only do so much given the public’s insatiable appetite for even the tiniest morsel of Apple related information. So while Apple product leaks have become more common in recent years, 2017 took things to an entirely new level. I think it’s fair to say that Apple in 2017 suffered from more significant product leaks than ever before. With 2018 on the horizon, we figured it’d be an opportune time to take a look back at a year of product leaks Apple would rather soon forget.
This past August, firmware from Apple’s HomePod was inexplicably posted online. In turn, developers began poring over the code whereupon they unearthed an avalanche of details about upcoming iPhone models. From wireless charging to the lack of a Touch ID sensor, many details surrounding Apple’s 2017 iPhone lineup were made public well more than a month before Apple’s iPhone event took place.
While features on upcoming iPhone models tend to leak from time to time, Apple in 2017 saw the form factor on its yet-to-be-announced iPhone X leak weeks ahead of time. With developers having unfettered access to the HomePod’s firmware, they eventually stumbled across glyphs of the iPhone X form factor, complete with the notch and everything. What’s more, developers like Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo confirmed that the iPhone X would incorporate infrared-based facial unlock software, a feature Apple ultimately dubbed FaceID.
Even more jarring is that the aforementioned leaks stemmed from leaks made available by Apple.
As if that weren’t bad enough, even the names of Apple’s 2017 iPhone models were leaked a few days before their introduction, with iCulture revealing the iPhone X and iPhone 8 names a full 11 days before Apple’s official event.
But wait, there’s more!
We also had advance notice about 4K streaming support on the Apple TV and a new way to activate Siri on the iPhone X.
And just when you thought Apple had already been through the ringer leak-wise, the weekend before Apple’s special iPhone X event saw a rogue Apple employee leak an actual iOS 11 GM to a handful of websites. Before long, additional details about future iPhone models and iOS 11 were unearthed by developers. The iPhone X has 3GB of RAM? We knew that in advance. The iPhone X rear camera is capable of shooting 4K video at 60 fps and 1080p video at 240 fps? We knew that in advance too. We even knew about Animojis ahead of time.
Beyond that, some of the iPhone X’s new gestures leaked as well, as evidenced via this tweet from August.
All in all, Apple released some great new products this past year, but the element of surprise that Apple values so dearly was nowhere to be found.