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Apple’s Latest Major iOS 11 ‘Gold Master’ Leak Said To Likely Be An Inside Job
By Yoon Sann Wong, 12 Sep 2017
Apple recently experienced its most major leak in history, where two Apple-related news sites were given access to an unofficially-released version of the operating system.
The information laid bare intriguing details that the company would’ve likely revealed during its iPhone 8 debut on 12 September at the Steve Jobs Theater. In addition to two new iPhone 8 models, Apple could introduce a higher-end model dubbed iPhone X. To add, there was news about its 3D animated emoji that mimics facial expressions, and how its Face ID feature would work. Images of a new Apple Watch and AirPod headphones surfaced as well.
While initially thought to be a mistake, the leak is now suspected to have likely been an inside job.
In a report by the BBC, John Gruber—a blogger known for his coverage on Apple—explained, “As best I’ve been able to ascertain, these builds were available to download by anyone, but they were obscured by long, unguessable URLs [web addresses].”
“Someone within Apple leaked the list of URLs to 9to5Mac and MacRumors. I’m nearly certain this wasn’t a mistake, but rather a deliberate malicious act by a rogue Apple employee.”
Although Gruber and the two Apple-related websites did not disclose their sources, BBC indepedently confirmed that an anonymus source had indeed provided the sites with links to iOS 11’s ‘Golden Master’ (GM) code. GM is commonly used in the software industry to refer a version of a product that is ready for release. This code enabled the sites to download the software from Apple’s own computer servers.
“More surprises were spoiled by this leak than any leak in Apple history,” said Gruber.
A recording of an internal meeting held in June revealed that Apple had hired ex-employees from the US National Security Agency (NSA), FBI, and Secret Service to crack down on tattletales in an effort to curb leaks.
During the meeting, a senior Apple executive was heard saying, “I have faith deep in my soul that if we hire smart people they’re gonna think about this, they’re gonna understand this, and ultimately they’re gonna do the right thing, and that’s to keep their mouth shut.”
“There will be an unbelievable effort within Apple to determine how this happened and I don’t envy the person that did it because there will be no forgiveness for it,” expressed Ben Wood from tech consultancy CCS Insight about this recent incident.
Despite the leak right before launch, Wood believes that it will have little affect on Apple’s sales.
“For other companies this might have huge impact on the effectiveness of their grand official launches, but for Apple there is such insatiable demand for even the smallest details and such an obsessive fan-following of its products that even a very detailed leak will do little to dampen the enthusiasm of bloggers and others to report its news.”
Apple’s iPhone 8 unveiling happens 12 September at 10am PDT.
Find out the smartphone brand that’s surpassed the iPhone in global sales, and the US$500 bezel-less rival that Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has unveiled one day before the iPhone 8’s debut.
[via BBC, image via Wikimedia Commons]
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