Apple engineers: Work on fake gear, earn company trust?

That's the claim made by a former Apple employee speaking to author Adam Lashinsky about a similar assertion in his new book, "Inside Apple."

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Apple engineers don't start working on these products, according to Adam Lashinsky.
Apple engineers don't start working on these products, according to Adam Lashinsky. Apple

Apple's issues with trust and obsession with secrecy have been well-documented. But now we're hearing of particulary tricky tactical twist.

In his new book, "Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired--and Secretive--Company Really Works," author Adam Lashinsky writes that Apple puts new employees to work on "dummy projects" to see if they can be trusted. After earning their stripes with Apple brass, those employees will then be put on real projects to help the company.

Although the claim sounds extreme, at a LinkedIn event where Lashinsky was speaking recently, an audience member took to the microphone to corroborate the author's story. The person, who said he'd worked at Apple for six years, recounted that he has a friend "who's a senior engineer at Apple" and that person "works on--or did work on--fake products, I'm sure, for the first part of his career, and interviewed for nine months."

As one might expect, Apple hasn't commented on the claim, and there's a good chance it won't, given the company's penchant for secrecy. CNET has, however, reached out to Apple seeking comment on the claim.

Apple has been similarly tight-lipped on other claims that have come out of the Lashinsky book. The author argues in his book that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was working on a major refinement to the iPhone's camera just months before he died last year. A key component in that idea was enlisting the help of a small company, called Lytro, that has developed cameras that let users change the focus of a picture after it's taken.

In addition, before the book was released earlier this month, an excerpt from the title was released, saying Apple Senior Vice President for iOS Software Scott Forstall is already making it clear that he wants to be the company's next CEO.

"If there's a knock on Forstall," Lashinsky wrote in his book, according to Fortune, which obtained a copy, "it's that he wears his ambition in plainer view than the typical Apple executive. He blatantly accumulated influence in recent years, including, it is whispered, when Jobs was on medical leave."

(Via Business Insider)