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No, the flurry of iOS 11 leaks hasn’t ‘spoiled’ the iPhone X launch

Updated Sep 11th, 2017 3:34PM EDT

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Apple just went through what’s probably the worse product leak in history, arguably even worse than the iPhone 4 leak from 2010. But it’s not like someone just stole the Christmas, or that the iPhone X and iPhone 8 will suffer greatly because of it.

Apple isn’t a company that needs babysitting. It’s got a top team of security enforcers that have years of experience working for various intelligence agencies. If they can’t prevent these leaks, nobody can.

To suggest that it’s wrong for anyone to cover the leaks (or enjoy reading them) because it spoils Apple’s surprises is also wrong. It doesn’t mean that Apple engineers do not get the respect they need. Guess what? Millions of Apple users pay their respects in cash, regardless of what the leaks say before the event. Apple will go ahead a sell millions of iPhone X and iPhone 8 units in the next year in spite of what just happened.

Many people are very interested in iPhone leaks above any other device, and that’s one other form of showing respect and admiration for those engineers. They want to know everything there is to know about the newest iPhone months before Apple reveals it. There’s no other smartphone in the business that can generate so much buzz like the iPhone.

At the same time, not all iPhone users follow the tech news as closely as reporters, bloggers, and analysts. And everyone will still tune into Apple’s Tuesday press conference with the same excitement.

Apple enthusiast John Gruber said over the weekend that “the story no one seems to be talking about is how these GM builds leaked, including the build for D22, which revealed all sorts of heretofore unknown details.” That’s not the story that people want to hear first when talking about this week’s leaks. They want to hear about the phone’s name, its brand new features, and how much it’ll cost.

Gruber rightly points out that this must have been an inside job. The iOS 11 GM leaks were released for anyone to use. That means someone at Apple did it, and Apple has to deal with that matter internally.

“Someone within Apple leaked the list of URLs to 9to5Mac and MacRumors,” he said. “I’m nearly certain this wasn’t a mistake, but rather a deliberate, malicious act by a rogue Apple employee. Whoever did this is the least popular person in Cupertino. More surprises were spoiled by this leak than any leak in Apple history.”

Later, the BBC confirmed Gruber’s suspicions. “BBC has independently confirmed that an anonymous source provided the publications with links to iOS 11’s golden master,” the report says.

Woah, the story no one seems to be talking about now is how the story about how it happened leaked to the BBC.

You know what people also do not talk about? “The people familiar with the matter” who keep leaking stuff on Apple’s behalf to tech or news sites that Apple adores. These are controlled leaks that occur in the months and weeks that precede an Apple keynotes, leaks that Apple’s top security team can’t seem to kill.

Like I said, nobody should deplore the leak, or worry about what Apple does next. Yes, Apple has to figure out what happened and eliminate the threat on its own. Disgruntled employees are bad for business, and bad for iPhone. They could be happier elsewhere. And it’s Apple’s own fault. Something happened within the company that turned that iPhone engineer into a disgruntled one.

But that doesn’t mean you, and I should not talk about all these iPhone X and iPhone 8 rumors before Tuesday, and then enjoy the press conference while fully knowing everything that was leaked about it.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.