So Much For That Secrecy (12/19/03)

Gee, does anyone remember back when Apple guarded the secrets of its upcoming products so thoroughly that the press practically chewed off its own limbs trying to figure out what "Columbus" was? It turned out to be the original iMac, which nobody expected-- and keeping a product like that under wraps was a true feat of godlike secrecy. Maybe it's just us, but when it comes to keeping secrets, it sure seems like the company is slacking off a little in recent years. There were all those accidental leaks by the gnomes running Apple's own web site, for example, and then there was Steve at the (spoiled) unveiling of the G5, coming right out and telling us all that it'd be running at 3 GHz within a year-- a move that made fine strategic sense, sure, but it just ran so counter to the company's whole "we don't comment on unannounced products" cloak-and-dagger approach to product development and release that it left us feeling slightly clammy.

And now, of course, it's like Apple isn't even trying anymore. Faithful viewer mrmgraphics forwarded us a job posting publicly viewable on Apple's own web site which advertises for a "Playback Firmware Engineer." Nothing too juicy there, but that's before you take into account all those rumors of video iPods coming soon. See, this "Playback Firmware Engineer" needs to have "experience in overall system design of audio and video products." Applicants also need a "thorough knowledge of multimedia file formats (MPEG-4, QuickTime)," a mastery of "details associated with audio and video codecs," and "familiarity with audio and video compression standards." Tell us that this doesn't all just scream "next generation iPod product."

Oh, did we forget to mention the fact that, in addition to listing all these video requirements, the posting specifically states that the focus of the job is "to develop [a] next generation iPod product"? Because, you know, that might be sort of revealing.

So there you have it: barring a massive shift in direction, future iPods will indeed have some sort of video capability built in-- and this fact has been all but confirmed by none other than Apple itself. So much for keeping details of unreleased products under lock and key behind the Silicon Curtain. Just about the only saving grace here is that Apple somehow managed to prevent that listing from showing up in a job search for "iPod" (despite the fact that the word appears in the job description), which might indicate that the company hasn't completely given up on protecting the secrets of its upcoming products. But if this sort of thing keeps up, someday we're going to see revelations on Apple's own site that'll make Hot News look nearly identical to Mac OS Rumors-- and we won't be a bit surprised.

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The above scene was taken from the 12/19/03 episode:

December 19, 2003: An Apple job posting lets slip that a future iPod will boast video functions. Meanwhile, the company also extends Mac OS X Up-To-Date in hopes of disappointing fewer squealing kids come Christmas...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4403: Legally-Mandated Joy (12/19/03)   And, of course, we just have to finish out the week before Christmas with a touching tale of the triumph of the holiday spirit. No, seriously, we have to-- it's actually mandated by the FCC...

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