September 23, 2022
Apple Worked with US Department of Energy on Top Secret iPod

Former Apple software engineer David Shayer has shared an interesting insight on when Apple worked with the U.S. government on a “secret” modified iPod.

David writes how one day in 2005, the director of iPod software, his “boss’s boss,” showed up in his cabin and told him that he was going to help two engineers from the US Department of Energy for building a special iPod. This project was going to be highly classified and David was only ordered to report to his boss’s boss. In total, only four people at Apple knew about this custom iPod project — David, the director of iPod Software, the VP of the iPod Division, and the SVP of Hardware. No paper trail was ever left for this work and all communication happened in person.

The two engineers, Paul and Matthew, actually worked for Bechtel, a US defense contractor to the Department of Energy. They wanted to add custom hardware to the iPod that was not easily detectable so that it could record data and still function as a regular iPod. The entire work was done by the two engineers with David only helping them wherever required. The engineers were only allowed to connect to the public Internet at Apple and they were never given access to the source code server directly. Apple was not being paid for this stuff either, this was just the company doing an under the table favor for the Department of Energy.

READ MORE: Apple Will Now Give Customers an Entire Year to Buy AppleCare+ for New iPhones, Macs

READ MORE:  Apple Releases iOS 13.6 GM to Developers

Apple did not provide the two engineers with any specialized hardware or software tools as well and they had to purchase their own iPods for working on them as well. Since Apple would not provide the two engineers with badges, David had to go to the lobby every day and sign the two in as guests before eventually getting them vendor badges. Lastly, when the work was done, Paul and Matthew were allowed to keep a copy of the modified iPod OS they had made but not its source code.

So, what was the modified iPod used for? David guesses that Paul and Matthew were building a stealth Geiger counter that could be easily used by DOE agents in plain sight.

The entire story makes for a very fascinating read so definitely hit the source link below.

[Via TidBits]

%d bloggers like this: