Five years ago, a mysterious story began, the protagonists of which were the US government and Apple, and the goal is to work on a project that allows the government to modify the Apple iPod device in order to develop a secret modified version of the iPod, and during the following lines we will get to know the story of the secret iPod and what Its purpose as this project is still a mystery that not many people know about.
Story by David Shire
David Shire, a former software engineer at Apple, began by saying, “It was a gray day in late 2005. I was sitting at my desk and typing a symbol for the iPod that will be released next year.”
Without knocking on the door, the iPod program manager – chief boss – suddenly entered and closed the door behind him and said in earnest and ambiguity, “I have a special mission for you, your boss does not know anything about it. You will help two engineers from the US Department of Energy to build a secret version of the iPod.” .
The next day, the receptionist called me to tell me that there were two men waiting for me in the hallway, I went down to greet them and they were Paul and Matthew, the engineers who would design the secret version of the iPod.
And I would have liked to add some excitement, like in mystery detective stories, where such people wear dark glasses and long coats with their eyes watching around them to make sure they are not being watched.
But they were regular engineers in their 30s, and I checked in and we went straight to the boardroom to talk about the secret project.
About David Shire
David says of himself, I was the second software engineer to be hired for the iPod project when it started in 2001, and the first engineer was the man who gave me that special task.
During my work with the iPod program, I wrote the device file system and then the database that tracked all the songs and I can say that I have done everything for the iPod except for the audio codecs.
Paul and Matthew business cards
“I arranged for them to have an empty office, as well as provide external internet away from Apple’s internal network,” says former Apple engineer David Shire. And it was my job to provide any help they needed at Apple, and they would do all the work.
And because Apple was doing them a favor, it did not provide them with any hardware or software, so the engineers bought all they needed from their own money and Apple did not contribute anything.
And the funny thing in the story is that Apple’s buildings need a card to allow you to pass anywhere, and I had to go to Paul and Matthew every day to open the closed doors for them until I finally managed to get vendor cards that allow them to enter the buildings without having to help them every day.
From David Shire’s point of view Paul and Matthew were smart guys, with a little help they understood everything and were running really fast, says Shire. I showed them how to set up development tools, build a copy of the OS from source, and upload it to the iPod.
They quickly absorbed everything and started their own path of adding special devices to the iPod which led to the generation of data that they wanted to record secretly and were keen to make sure that I had never seen those devices, and I really couldn’t.
And on one occasion, they were looking for a way to hide the data that they had recorded, and as a disk engineer, I suggested to them to hide it by creating another partition in the device and in this way if the modified iPod is connected to another device it will be read and treated as a normal iPod, and indeed they liked the suggestion and proceeded to Implement it.
The goal of the secret project
Paul and Matthew, they didn’t actually work for the Department of Energy, they worked for a division of Bechtel Corporation, a large US defense contracting company affiliated with the Department of Energy, and the goal of the secret project was to develop a secret version of the iPod that looks like a regular iPod but is able to record and store data in a way that doesn’t. They can be detected. Make something like a Geiger counter that measures photons and radioactivity.
And I think they wanted to create something that could record any radioactivity or data for developing a nuclear program and perhaps reveal uranium levels, but in secret.
Finally, if you try to verify this project by asking Apple, they will not tell you anything, because this project was confidential and all communications were face to face and there are no paperwork, only four people at Apple were aware of the matter and they are David Shire who told us the story and the director of the iPod program The Vice President and Senior Vice President are all no longer Apple employees, however he confirmed the authenticity of Shire’s story, iPod Vice President Tony Fadel, through his official Twitter account.