Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Leak Management

What is the story with firmware, software and hardware info leaks?

Clearly, in the midst of a big Christmas sales push the "leak" from ATT senior executive and Apple partner ATT about a 3G iPhone coming in 2008 would be a cause of concern from a number of different offices around the country. A leak of that magnitude could slow unit sales during prime gift-giving rush. I know a number of friends who got the iPhone flyer in their stocking rather than a black box under the tree on Christmas morning.

Was this leak contrary to Apple's interests? In Apple's interests? Or simply an ATT move to signal to cell phone users who contracts were coming due to hold on or switch now to ATT because Edge is on its way out and 3G is coming?

And what about the iPhone firmware 1.1.3 leak that came out to the public during the holiday recess? Was this a Cheney-style managed leak from Apple? If you think not, maybe you don't know Dick...

There has been some speculation the Gear Live firmware leak was a managed leak to give Apple developers feedback on things that weren't working properly. Call the leak an unofficial beta test.

Apple chose to leak this pre-beta version during the holidays so their employees and quality assurance testers could go home to their families but the testing would continue on the internet. The holiday season is an excellent time for a public leak release since geeks are at home with nothing to do and will eagerly grab onto a story like this and run with it by asking questions and sorting out the answers.

For instance, during the video, when Andru tried to demonstrate how you could remove an icon from the menu bar and replaced it, the firmware crashed. This is a good thing to witness prior to MWSF come mid-month or before they send out a beat version to developers in advance of SDK release.

Apple also gets to hear all the feedback and shout outs "why not this feature..." and "Where is copy and paste?" etc. Is the level of these screams rises, Apple knows to raise its ranking in the order of priorities.

I still believe that Apple has a few tricks up it sleeve and we've haven't seen everything Steve Jobs will reveal in his SF Keynote as far as iPhone upgrades are concerned. If anything was revealed by the leaks, it is simply the tip of the iceberg.

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