SAN FRANCISCO - Apple's 2014 World Wide Developer Conference kicked off earlier today with its highly anticipated keynote that included previews of their new operating systems and the launch of a product kept so tightly under wraps that even CEO Tim Cook does not know what it is.
"We’re so proud to tell you about a new product we’ve been keeping very near to our hearts," said a cheery Cook as he took the stage at San Francisco's Moscone West convention center. "Here at Apple, we understand what joy you get from our amazing new products. We never want to spoil that for you, and to show you how much we mean it, we’re not going to say any more about our newest release. I can’t even describe how excited I am to find out what it’s going to be.”
In recent years Apple has had difficulty maintaining the air of secrecy they rely on so heavily for their theatrical product launches. Ranging from the rumour to the real — perhaps most famously in 2010, a prototype iPhone 4 being forgotten at the Gourmet Haus Staudt beer garden by a young software engineer — there's a tremendous amount of speculation about what the tech giant's next step may be.
Recognizing that extreme measures such as the Worldwide Loyalty Team (known internally as the Apple Gestapo) can only do so much, Apple has taken the next step in secrecy: ensuring that nobody in the company — including CEO Tim Cook — knows a single detail about their upcoming project.
Except for one person, that is.
"Secrecy is a key component to Apple's success in this competitive [tech] environment," wrote Jeff Williams, Senior VP of Operations, in an internal email that was leaked to Gizmodo last Thursday. "Project Nebula shows what we have to do, to keep something quiet. Nobody in the entire company except for a transactional paralegal named Leo Alvarez knows what's going on. We've had 24-hour security on Alvarez for the last 6 months and he's had no access to telephone, internet, electricity, or running water. I'm pretty confident the secret's safe with him."
While a lack of any information whatsoever might decrease – or at least temper – interest in Apple's newest release, it seems to have had no effect whatsoever.
"I've already got a week of vacation booked off," said Damien Alward, a WWDC attendee from Syracuse who had to be resuscitated after passing out from a fit of hysteria following Cook's announcement. "Me and a buddy are heading down to Manhattan a few days before the launch to camp out and pick 'em up before anyone else does. If it's anything like it was for the iPad Mini with Retina Display, they're gonna run out quick. This is gonna be huge."
As always, Apple's choreographed keynote presentation delivered just the right balance of information and suspense to keep its 5000 attendees at the edge of their seats.
When Senior VP of Design Jony Ive spoke during the release video in his pensive British tone, he looked serious as ever, though somewhat exhausted. "It was an incredible design problem which we faced - that is: how do you incorporate cutting edge design into a product you don’t know anything about? We've had to reinvent the entire process of how we approach our work."
A release date has been announced for July 18, and although there is no information regarding its design, insiders suggest it will be available in 32, 64, and 128 gigabyte models. However, no one is certain whether it may rely on cloud storage and not have a hard drive, whether it will be available in multiple colours, what it will be made of, how much it will cost, if it is thinner than the MacBook Air, or whether it is a physical product at all.