US Government Ordered a Secret iPod Development from Apple

Apple has created a secret iPod for the US government. This was reported by CNN , citing a former company engineer ⏤ David Scheyer.

What Is a Secret iPod?

David Scheyer said that at that time (in 2005)  only two employees of the corporation knew about the project who were the vice president of the iPod division and the senior vice president of hardware. He noted that since that period, these workers had already left the company. According to Scheyer, Apple employees, together with employees of the American defense contractor Bechtel, were to create a special iPod ⏤ outwardly normal, but a data recording device had to be inside it.

The task was quite understandable ⏤ the developed iPod had to look like a normal device outwardly, but the inner part had to be different. Namely, additional data besides music stored on the hard drive should not be detected at all.

Two representatives from the Department of Energy approached Apple developers with a proposal to fulfill an unusual order. As part of it, it was required to add several additional components to the iPod that would be able to discreetly write data from these components to the player's disk. The rest of the device was supposed to work like a regular iPod.

Customers took great care to prevent Apple engineers from seeing the components in question. As a result, the developers of the device were unable to determine what exactly they were creating this modified iPod for. According to the director of the division of software development, David Scheyer, they believed that they were designing "something like a hidden Geiger counter", which would allow measuring radiation levels quietly. Such devices would make it possible to search for dirty atomic bombs or stolen uranium in any cities in the world without attracting the attention of residents.

How Did It Happen?

David Scheyer had been working at Apple for 18 years and was the second software engineer hired to work on the iPod project in 2001. At that time, the device was known under the code name P68. The first engineer later became the iPod Software boss who gave me this unusual assignment.

He wrote a file system and database for the iPod that kept track of all the songs and was somehow involved in every aspect of software engineering and development of the device except for codecs that had converted MP3 and AAC files.

The operating system of the iPod is different from the operating system of other Apple Unix-based devices (macOS, iOS, iPad OS, watchOS, and tvOS). The fact is that the original iPod's hardware is based on the PortalPlayer platform that Apple licensed to develop the player. Along with the PortalPlayer stuffing, the lower levels of the operating system, which include the power distribution system, drivers, and the kernel, came to the iPod developers.

Apple licensed the upper levels from the Pixo startup ⏤ along with it, an interface, systems for working with Unicode, memory allocation, and processing complex events got into the iPod OS.

Moreover, the iPod OS was developed on Windows, and since the device did not support third-party applications, there was no documentation for working on the operating system.

Compiling the iPod operating system from source, booting the operating system onto the iPod, and testing and debugging were all quite complex processes. When new engineers joined a team, workers usually gave them a week to figure it out before giving tasks. By the way, engineers from any part of the world could join the Apple team. More often than not, experienced engineers are found on international platforms. For instance, global engineering services at Engre can be provided day and night and in any engineering sphere. So it is possible to join a big international team for a true professional.

What Is an iPod?

The iPod was introduced in 2001 as an audio player. Initially, the device included only functions for playing music, but with each subsequent generation, the developers expanded the capabilities of the gadget. Thus, for 2020, the iPod combines the functions of a tablet and a player, that is, it serves for entertainment purposes. Depending on the model of the device, the functionality may differ, but the main purpose ⏤ playback of tracks ⏤ is performed by any of the devices.

The main function of the iPod is to play music, however, depending on the model, using the device it is possible to perform the following actions:

● access the Internet through a browser when connected to a wireless network;

● view media files (videos, photos, e-books);

● shoot video (subject to a camera);

● listen to the radio and use a voice recorder;

● work with applications that were installed via a PC or wireless connection;

● use the player as a pedometer (Nano only).

Only the iPod Touch has this wide range of capabilities thanks to its touchscreen, and some features are available on other devices. The functionality of the Nano is somewhat narrower, but it contains additional options, like a pedometer. The "simplest" one is considered to be the iPod Shuffle since it only supports the playback of tracks, creation of playlists, and the ability to connect VoiceOver (the program allows you to listen to the names of artists and other information about the device).

Besides, it should be noted that iTunes (a program for working with iPod), being an Apple software product, works equally well both in the native Mac OS and in Windows, which makes life much easier for PC-owners of iPod.

Moreover, we should not confuse the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, as these devices are radically different from each other both in external parameters and in "stuffing". The main differences between the considered iPod type, in addition to the main function of the device, are:

● the absence of a SIM card slot makes the standard exchange of calls and SMS impossible;

● less memory in comparison with smartphones and tablets from Apple;

● Retina display even on older iPods

● narrowed range of applications for the line of iPods that support Internet access;

● the lowest cost among all devices of the Apple brand;

● better sound quality compared to other devices.

Thus, the iPod is just an improved modification of the popular brand's audio player.