Good journalists don't pay for secrets -- even Apple's

They might, however, promise one story in return for another.

From The Verge's "Apple sues 11-year veteran MacBook designer for allegedly stealing trade secrets for a journalist"

Apple is suing Simon Lancaster, a former product design architect at the company, accusing him of selling trade secrets and details on unreleased Apple products to an unnamed media correspondent. Lancaster apparently did this in hopes of gaining publicity for his next venture after leaving Apple. AppleInsider first reported on the legal filing.

From the legal filing:

November 1, 2019 was Lancaster’s final day of employment at Apple and his credentials to log into the secure Apple corporate network were set to expire at midnight. But at 10:24 p.m. that same day, Lancaster used his credentials to log onto Apple’s secure corporate network from a location outside Apple facilities. On information and belief, Lancaster used this access to download additional SAI before his login credentials expired. In particular, Lancaster downloaded confidential information that would assist his new employer.

Mere days after Lancaster’s final day at Apple, Lancaster had a call with the Correspondent and later congratulated the Correspondent about the success of an article that disclosed SAI [Secret Apple Information about "Project X"] that Lancaster had misappropriated in his final weeks of employment at Apple.

My take: The guessing game begins.

From Daring Fireball's John Gruber:

Project X could be anything, but it sure sounds like Apple’s VR/AR glasses project. There just aren’t that many secret Apple projects that have been written about, and Project X does not sound like Project Titan (the car). There aren’t that many candidates for the “correspondent”, either. The Information ran a piece bylined by Wayne Ma, Alex Heath, and Nick Wingfield on 11 November 2019, “Apple Eyes 2022 Release for AR Headset, 2023 for Glasses”. That seems like it’s stretching the meaning of “mere days” after Lancaster’s November 1 departure.

Then there’s Bloomberg, which ran a piece solo bylined by Mark Gurman on 21 October 2019, “Apple’s Smart Glasses Could Make 2020 the Year of AR”:

Such applications are central to Apple’s long-awaited AR glasses, which are expected to have holographic displays in their lenses. Apple has targeted 2020 for the release of its AR headset, an attempt to succeed where Google Glass failed years ago. The glasses are expected to synchronize with a wearer’s iPhone to display things such as texts, emails, maps, and games over the user’s field of vision. The company has considered including an App Store with the headset, as it does on Apple TV streaming devices and the Apple Watch. It’s hiring experts in graphics and game development to establish the glasses as the leader in a new product category and, if all goes perfectly, an eventual successor to the iPhone.


  1. George Row said:
    For anyone else who was, like me, curious as to what was meant by “SAI”, the legal filing includes the following:
    ‘All of this material comprises Apple trade secrets. In this Complaint, Apple will refer to this information collectively as “Secret Apple Information” or “SAI.” ’.

    March 12, 2021
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    Ken Segall shared an experience he had with Jobs in his book “Insanely Simple.” During a particular meeting there was a woman whom Segall had never seen before. Jobs arrived & began the meeting & then stopped in his tracks. His attention turned to the newcomer in the room. “Who are you?” He bluntly asked. She replied that she had been working on some of the marketing materials & asked to attend. “I don’t think we need you in this meeting,” came Jobs’ curt reply. Then he continued his meeting without her. Segall says there is a lesson to be learned here. If something isn’t absolutely necessary, it doesn’t belong. Such as headphone jacks on iPhones. Pineapple on pizza. DVD drives on laptops. And “non-essential” people at meetings.

    Lancaster no longer was an Apple employee. Additionally, Lancaster was told by multiple people not to show, but still showed. Whoever ran that meeting should be held accountable for allowing Lancaster to sit in on the meeting. And why did other employees who told Lancaster not to show make a point of his being in attendance? Steve Jobs’ tips for success has high merit. Steve Jobs would have asked Lancaster, why are you here?

    March 12, 2021
  3. Jonny T said:
    One must wonder if Mark Gurman is going to be dragged into this…

    March 12, 2021
  4. Aaron Belich said:
    What was the spring 2019 rumor that Lancaster allegedly became upset about regarding Arris Composites (his startup / soon to be new employer)?

    March 12, 2021
  5. Loose lips sink chips. If you want ideas about future Apple products/features it’s easier to look at patents awarded.

    March 12, 2021
  6. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Anytime someone tenders their resignation and or gives a two week notice, the better practice is to escort them back to their office and have them pack up all of their belongings in the presence of security.

    That prevents company property and coded passes from ever being utilized.

    Then show them the door and let them know their final check or direct deposit will be sent to them accordingly.

    That eliminates this type of last day skullduggery from ever happening.

    March 12, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      If that’s the company’s practice, then the crooked employee will have transferred everything he wanted to take before handing in that 2 week notice.

      Personally, I found that practice to be a tremendous insult to the large majority of -honest employees-.

      March 12, 2021

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