In the latest build of iOS 5.1, now beta 2, Apple has finally decided to take steps against the popular rumor site tactic of rifling through iOS code to find references to new hardware models.
These references, typically something like iPhone3,1, were a great way for rumor sites to predict forthcoming hardware devices, accurately assuming that their inclusion in the iOS code meant they were being tested.
With Apple's release of iOS 5.1 beta 2, things have changed. Apple has now included device references for dozens of new devices including AppleTV10,3 and iPhone11,3. By adding all these references now, it makes it hard for anyone to predict which devices Apple might actually be working as betas are released.
Honestly, I am impressed.
Apple has always been a stickler for privacy, but in the last few years, rumor sites have been all over Apple, accurately predicting and leaking most of Apple's game plan along the way. Post-Steve Jobs, many where expecting the tight-lipped Apple to loosen up a bit, but with this step it appears new CEO Tim Cook is having none of it.
It will be interesting to see how the typical rumor-slinging sites (yes, CNET included to some degree) handle this once-stable source of information being shut down. And, will Cook's Apple continue to throttle information leaks?
Only time will tell, but I think the information secrecy is a fantastic part of Apple's culture and I hope it keeps it going. Would you prefer Apple to put all its cards on the table or do you enjoy the cat-and-mouse games it plays with media types like me? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!