Lengthy excerpt from ‘Inside Apple’ offers fascinating insight into secrecy at Apple

Fortune just published a long, fascinating excerpt from an upcoming book about Apple called “Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works by author Adam Lashinsky, Fortune’s senior editor-at-large. It reveals how far the company is willing to go to ensure its secretive culture. It also tells a tale of Apple’s organizational structure and what makes them tick. Interestingly, Lashinsky writes that Apple’s design guru Jonathan Ive is among the “untouchables,” corroborating claims laid out in the official Jobs biography book by Walter Isaacson. Apple’s late CEO told his biographer that he made sure nobody can touch his “spiritual partner” Ive at Apple. “That’s the way I set it up,” he told Isaacson. Speaking of Apple’s famous culture of secrecy and lack of corporate transparency (at Apple, everything is a secret!), Lashinsky writes it takes two basic forms —external and internal. Needles to say, many employees can hardly stomach security policies focused on preserving internal secrets:

Apple employees know something big is afoot when the carpenters appear in their office building. New walls are quickly erected. Doors are added and new security protocols put into place. Windows that once were transparent are now frosted. Other rooms have no windows at all. They are called lockdown rooms: No information goes in or out without a reason.

As you could imagine, this is “disconcerting” for employees. Organization charts are nowhere to be seen at Apple. There are no open doors as folks use badges to access areas that sometimes even their boss cannot. Only few people at Apple are allowed into Jonathan Ive’s industrial design bunker. People working on hot projects are required to sign “extra-special agreements acknowledging that you were working on a super-secret project and you wouldn’t talk about it to anyone – not your wife, not your kids.” Even former employees do not talk to press and some were reprimanded for talking too much. Apple goes to great lengths to prevent secrets from leaking and maintain discipline culminates with carefully orchestrated media events akin to a blockbuster Hollywood movie-opening weekend.

People working on launch events will be given watermarked paper copies of a booklet called Rules of the Road that details every milestone leading up to launch day. In the booklet is a legal statement whose message is clear: If this copy ends up in the wrong hands, the responsible party will be fired.

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AAPL passes all-time high of $427 a share, market cap closes in on $400B

An interesting occurrence happened this morning: In a run up to Apple’s Q1 2012 earnings call, and amid a steady flow of 2012 Consumer Electronics Show announcements where Apple traditionally does not exhibit, the company’s share reached an all-time high by passing $427 a share for a market valuation of $398 billion (Exxon Mobile is at $408.86 billion). As noted by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt, the company passed the $426.70 mark it hit briefly one day in mid-October

Interestingly, several analysts boosted their iPhone estimates for the December quarter. Goldman most notably upped their iPhone estimate to 31 million quarterly units, up from the previous 30.2 million estimate. Needham significantly increased their previous 28 million units projection to 32 million units.

By the way, the Apple iPhone turned 5-years-old today. On this very day five years ago, Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld Expo to announce the original iPhone. The rest, as the saying goes, is history…

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iCam concept turns your iPhone 5 into a point-and-shoot killer

When author of the official ‘Steve Jobs’ bio, Walter Isaacson, sat down for an interview with Fortune earlier this month, we learned that Steve Jobs had three key industries he wanted to reinvent: the television, textbooks, and photography. We’ve certainly heard a lot of rumors about an iTV in the works, and Apple has arguably already done a lot for the textbook business, despite Jobs having loftier goals for the industry as a whole. While the iPhone 4S’s redesigned camera might be good enough to get an endorsement from photographer Annie Leibovitz, the guys at ADR Studios have created this new ‘iCam’ concept imagining a separate accessory that would turn the iPhone 5 into a full-fledged point-and-shoot.

Keeping rumored iPhone 5 specs in mind, ADR’s concept would include a 10.1 megapixel sensor and provide an “ISO range from 100 to 3200 (extendable up to 6400 equivalent)” for full HD at 60fps. Imagined specs for the accessory include an aluminum unibody, interchangeable lenses, a small touch-screen on the front, LED flash, pico-projector, SD UHS-i slot, motion sensor, and bluetooth. We’re guessing a few companies are already at work on a similar accessory after seeing these gorgeous mock ups.

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60 Minutes preview with Walter Isaacson touches on cancer treatment

The blurb from CBS seems to eerily echo a Quora post by a Harvard Cancer Doctor Ramzi Anri that basically said that his cancer was mild and treatable but spread while he was trying to treat it holistically.

While Mr. Jobs was trying all sorts of alternative [medicine] his tumor grew, and grew, and grew…

… and then it somehow grew beyond control.

  • Jobs waited so long before seeking normal treatment that he had to undergo a Whipple procedure, losing his pancreas and whole duodenum in 2004. This was the first alarming sign that his disease had progressed beyond a compact primary to at least a tumor so large his Pancreas and duodenum could not be saved.
  • Jobs seemingly waited long enough for the disease revealed to have spread extensively to his liver. The only reason he’d have a transplant after a GEP-NET would be that the tumor invaded all major parts of the liver, which takes a considerable amount of time. Years, in most neuroendocrine tumors. It could be that this happened before his diagnosis, but the risk grows exponentially with time.
  • We then saw the tumor slowly draining the life out him. It was a horrible thing to see him lose weight and slowly turn into a skin and bones form of himself.

Yet it seems that even during this recurrent phase, Mr. Jobs opted to dedicate his time to Apple as the disease progressed, instead of opting for chemotherapy or any other conventional treatment.

Isaacson also seems to imply that it spread during that time and obviously in hindsight, Jobs was regretful for not choosing to operate on it sooner. Isaacson said,

“I’ve asked [Jobs why he didn’t get an operation then] and he said, ‘I didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way,'” Isaacson recalls. So he waited nine months, while his wife and others urged him to do it, before getting the operation, reveals Isaacson. Asked by Kroft how such an intelligent man could make such a seemingly stupid decision, Isaacson replies, “I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don’t want something to exist, you can have magical thinking…we talked about this a lot,” he tells Kroft. “He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it….I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner.”

As Ryan Tate said,

In the end, may prove the most compelling reason to forgive the brilliant CEO his many faults: Of all the people who suffered on the dark side of his headstrong, iconoclastic decisionmaking, it was Jobs himself who appears to have paid the biggest price.

Jobs also told Isaacson:

Jobs had actually met the man who turned out to be his biological father before he knew who he was. He also talks about the discussion he had with Jobs about death and the afterlife, explaining that for Jobs, the odds of there being a God were 50-50, but that he thought about the existence of God much more once he was diagnosed with cancer. Another aspect of Jobs’ character revealed was his disdain for conspicuous consumption. He tells Isaacson in a taped conversation how he saw Apple staffers turn into “bizarro people” by the riches the Apple stock offering created. Isaacson says Jobs vowed never to let his wealth change him.

The full interview will air on Sunday.

Fortune releases ‘All About Steve’

Fortune just released a new Kindle eBook entitled All about Steve: The Story of Steve Jobs and Apple from the Pages of Fortune…

Steve Jobs’ legacy is clear: The most innovative business leader of our time, the man FORTUNE named CEO of the Decade in 2009. Now from the pages of FORTUNE comes an anthology of 17 classic stories spanning the years 1983 to 2011 about the cultural icon who revolutionized computing, telephones, movies, music, retailing, and product design. The stories lay out in unparalleled detail the career of a man with relentless drive and a single underlying passion—to carry out his vision of how all of us would use technology. Writes managing editor Andy Serwer in the book’s foreward: “In the end he was proved right a billion times over, and his company Apple became one of the most successful enterprises on the planet.” All these stories are the product of deep reporting. In many cases FORTUNE’s writers spent hours interviewing Jobs and delving into his mind. The result is a singular journalistic collection, which will leave you with a comprehensive picture of Steve Jobs and Apple, a picture that is complex in the making yet simple in its triumph.

The report includes Adam Lashinsky’s recent investigative piece, Inside Apple, which gives a behind-the scenes look at how the company really works. Lashinsky is also writing a standalone book on Apple due later.

Full Press Release and blown up ‘book cover’ follows:

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