Apple’s secrecy policy and the social web


I read with great interest Brian Appleyard’s article in the Sunday Times this week about the threats Apple faces if it loses Steve Jobs.

There is of course no doubt of Jobs’s influence on, not only Apple’s success but that of Pixar, and the fact that he is the man behind the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone (and possibly also the iPad). But there is doubt over whether Apple will survive if it continues to maintain it’s uncanny ability to stimulate the rumour mill.

In a digital world where boundaries are constantly being knocked down by the seemingly relentless human desire for knowledge – all and any – Apple’s transparency and openness seems diametrically opposed.

Appleyard’s article cites avid Apple journo’s and their lust for anything Apple, notably fed by the endless files for patent for new technology. Indeed this seems like the main source for the rumour mill. To them it’s almost like reading the latest science fiction novel – the fantastic creative ideas are then held aloft by the collective brain of the masses, pushed through the corners of the envelope, and driven to the high street by a beta bus of network-driven ideas!

This reality seems at odds to the social web world we live in. A world in which we the consumer are involved in the process of research, evolution, marketing and PR of products and services – a world in which only the most open and transparent companies will survive.

So isn’t the rumour mill effectively the same thing? Aren’t Apple listening? Don’t the ultimate desires and experiences get fulfilled and even superceded by the latest Apple gadgets? Well yes, but Apple is the most closed secretive company there is in the digital world.

Appleyard concludes that Apple may one day merge with Google. I can see it happening, but maybe the next chapter in Apple’s book, if it is the departure of Steve jobs, should be to open the doors some more so we can see inside more, to make more of some of the other stars in the company. To turn over a new leaf and allow us lot to help design the future.

What do you think?

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Not in the least bit copyrighted by Tim Aldiss 2012