First and foremost, obsessive secrecy was to work for the original iPhone

How was work on the original iPhone? That is precisely what one of the engineers of Apple who took part in the so-called ‘Project Purple’, an ultra-secret project in which it was only possible to work if one accepted not only endless days, but also an environment in which the Secrecy was absolute.

So much so that as detailed this engineer, named Terry Lambert, had to sign a confidentiality agreement (NDA) not to ensure that he was not going to tell anything about that project: he signed it to know the name of the key project. That was only the first measures of security obsessional who managed to protect that secret until the end.

Original iPhone
Image Source: Google Image

Engineers never really knew what they were working on

Lambert’s experience appeared in answer to a question in Quora in which he wondered how he had been working on that original project. This engineer was responsible for about 6% (in number of lines) of the kernel code (or kernel) of OS X according to his calculations, which accounted for about 100,000 lines of code per year, and as he himself pointed out, the same core also iOS used.

The first thing this engineer recounted that when he was offered work on that project led him to an area of the seat where everyone dressed in black : it already was a sure sign that he was working on something top secret.

In fact, Lambert joked that if you wanted to create a nice Halloween costume at Apple, you just had to put on a black sheet, cut out a couple of eye holes and go “secret project”. During that project he never saw the iPhone for which it was programmed and debugged code:

I could only see the machine doing the remote debugging, not the actual device, but obviously it was a system based on ARM architecture.

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After signing the NDA that enabled him to know the codename of the project – and that of course could not discuss anything with anyone, including his family would end up working on something that was not even sure what it was, especially since Apple kept groups totally independent where they worked in small goals that were not allowed to know what is working together.

Another of the things that Apple does is give different code names for different groups. Or what is the same: you could be working on the same project as another person or group without knowing it. No discussion or comment.

Another engineer named Jerry Wang also answered that question on Quora indicate how effectively he, who also worked on the documentation of that device and work with operators who launched the iPhone in the US, did not know the project as ‘Project Purple’ but as ‘M68’.

From that moment I had access to a “secret laboratory” that was inside the main laboratory. Only a select few had access to the secret lab, but “never llegabas to see product design, because when you’re doing the initial work, all are prototypes Plexiglas”. A curious detail: Lambert confessed how the cables used to “talk” to these pre-production units were indeed purple.

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