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This Story Perfectly Illustrates How Insanely Secretive Apple Was Under Steve Jobs

Apple Secrecy

The Apple of 2015 is a brand new Apple, with a culture that appears to be vastly different from how it was just a few short years ago. We’re not saying it’s any better or worse, but it’s clearly different. Steve Jobs’s Apple appeared from the outside to be all business all the time, and countless accounts we’ve read mirror that sentiment. Today, Apple executives are quite literally dancing in the streets.

It would be hard to argue that either approach is a bad one. Jobs’s Apple grew from the brink of bankruptcy to the top of the world, and Cook’s Apple has continued to grow, with a market cap that now sits at more than $720 billion.

Sometimes we forget how closed and secretive Jobs’s Apple really was though, and now a new story illustrates it perfectly.

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These days, we know everything about just about every product Apple launches long before it’s unveiled on stage. Leaks pour out of Apple and its suppliers like a waterfall, and it’s almost impossible to stop — leaked info about unreleased Apple products is far too valuable to far too many people for it to stop.

But ahead of the original iPad’s debut in 2010, not much was known.

Yes, we knew Apple was working on a tablet, but no one outside the company had seen it, and most of the details were a mystery. As it turns out, the mystery surrounding the iPad wasn’t just outside the company… some people working on teams responsible for creating the iPad didn’t even know the device was in development until Steve Jobs unveiled it on stage.

A former Apple intern identified by Business Insider only as “Brad” recently recounted his time with the company, and he shared the story of one Apple employee who worked on the iPad’s display. Though he was on the team responsible for this key iPad component, the employee had absolutely no idea the iPad was being developed, nor did he know why he was working on a 9.7-inch display.

“They didn’t know if it was a big phone or a small laptop,” said Brad. “They had no idea. It wasn’t until the product release where Steve Jobs went on stage and showed the iPad that they realized this is what we worked on for the past two years.”

He continued, “It’s super crazy that they can make this work, because the different teams are siloed.”

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.