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Claims of Apple Putting New Hires to Work on 'Fake' Projects Questioned, Found Unlikely

apple_lock_faceJust over a year ago, a LinkedIn Q&A session with Inside Apple author Adam Lashinsky generated some attention for an exchange with a former Apple employee in the audience who reported that new Apple hires are sometimes placed on "fake" projects during a probationary period. The audience member's comment was sparked by Lashinsky's discussion of employees being hired into "dummy positions" where they do not know what they will be working on until they start at the company.

Ars Technica has now followed up on those claims of new hires being placed on fake projects and found that the claim is unlikely to be true.
I spoke to Apple employees from various areas of the company at differing levels, some who are still at Apple and others who have moved on, but all expressed the same sentiment. No one reported any direct experience of being put on a fake project at Apple, and no one knew a friend or colleague at the company who had. A single former employee acknowledged having heard about fake projects—but only from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, and the employee was quick to acknowledge that the rumor should be treated with a skeptical eye.
Sources noted that virtually all work at Apple is heavily covered by nondisclosure agreements, meaning that there is little need to resort to putting employees on fake projects as tests of their loyalty.

The report also describes how Apple works to track down suspected sources of leaks, occasionally putting an entire room on lockdown with security personnel working quickly to download data from computers and other devices. Such incidents are said to be rare, but they do leave lasting impressions on employees.

Top Rated Comments

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16 months ago
they must be working on a fake of a fake project, so they don't realize they are fake. fakeception. its friday night here, so cheers :D
Rating: 21 Positives
16 months ago
Siri was a fake project that got rubber-stamped by accident.
Rating: 13 Positives
16 months ago

Siri was a fake project that got rubber-stamped by accident.


Along with Apple maps.
Rating: 10 Positives
16 months ago
I didn't think so. That would be waste of Apple resources. And COOK wouldn't let that happen.
Rating: 8 Positives
16 months ago
Actually, :apple: rather notably runs multiple competing projects, in the end selecting the best of the bunch and dropping the rest. This could be construed as "fake projects".

I'd be pissed that I did all that work to never see a product hit the market.

Might be more the norm than the exception. :apple: is looking for the very best, so it's worth a policy of running many high-cost projects and killing most of them.
Rating: 4 Positives
16 months ago
I'm going to preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Apple products.

People care too much about this company.

A couple of examples stick out in my mind. The first being when I purchased my iPhone 5, an employee told me that cases weren't available yet in order to let Ive's design be seen by the world for a few days. I stared at her for a while after that one before finishing my purchase and heading over to the AT&T store for a case that was readily available for me.

The second example would be this nonsense. What business in their right mind would pay people thousands of dollars on fake projects just in the HOPES that they might gain a little bit of secrecy? Has anyone heard of an NDA? I imagine the folks that conjure up this sort of stuff also believe in chemtrails, low wave emissions from cell towers, and that Obama is a Kenyan.

Stop thinking about what Apple does and go outside.
Get a life.
Rating: 3 Positives
16 months ago

I'd clean the restrooms for a chance to work behind the walls of 1 Cupertino Loop :apple:


Cleaning the 1 Cupertino Loo huh? At least you'll know there's nothing fake about those jobs.
Rating: 2 Positives
16 months ago

But that's clearly not what the articles last year talking about this meant. They were bogus rumors based on misunderstandings (even if something like competing projects does take place).


Well, knowing that misunderstandings and rumors often stem from some core element of truth, that's probably the closest explanation.

Apple likely has multiple projects in the pipeline, many of which are experimental. Curved glass iWatch? Apple Television? Smaller iPhone? Larger iPhone? Touchscreen Macs? New Mac Pros? Apple gaming console? I bet all of those rumors are true in the sense that somebody, somewhere, was working on them. Which ones of those will ever become shipping products... that's another story.
Rating: 2 Positives
16 months ago

If I were the employee, I'd be pissed that I did all that work to never see a product hit the market. This would be a terrible policy, and there's no way apple does it.


Lol, imagine pouring your heart and soul into a project to make it truly amazing, staying up late, working early thinking that this project is your chance to shine and show your mark and then find out you were working on a dud.
Rating: 2 Positives
16 months ago
If I were the employee, I'd be pissed that I did all that work to never see a product hit the market. This would be a terrible policy, and there's no way apple does it.
Rating: 2 Positives

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