Apple can't seem to keep its new phones under wraps to save its life: there are leaked images, phones left in bars, you name it, and an Apple employee has done it. So how the hell did Samsung keep the SIII a secret?
In truth, there were a few leaked photographs just before its launch, but it was impossible to work out how the phone would look from them. In an amusing post on Samsung's own blog, the company explains how it keeps its cards close to its chest. Largely, a lot of hard work. WooSun Yoon, a Principal Engineer, explains:
"There were many prototypes and yes, it takes more time and effort to make more working prototypes. It's even more difficult when you're sending those to different places for testing and yet at the same time hiding it from everyone. Time constraints pushed me to take a lot of helicopter rides back and forth. I'm glad we were able to keep the new GALAXY S III under wraps to the end, but I can't stress enough how hard it was."
They also seem to take hiding the phone from prying eyes very, very seriously too — even within company buildings. Another engineer, WooSun Yoon, continues:
"We had to make three types of the GALAXY SIII to prevent the design from leaking. And on top of that, whenever any of these had to go out for testing, we put them inside 'dummy boxes', which are cases that hide the design of the device, to disguise it. Even if people, inside or out of the campus, saw the device, I doubt they would have known what it was."
But perhaps most importantly, there seems to be a very strict sense of keeping work in the workplace at Samsung. ByungJoon Lee, yet another engineer, explains:
"My eldest son is in 6th grade. He knew that I had worked on the GALAXY S and SII.So I guess he assumed that I'd do S III also. Every time he saw an article on the internet about the GALAXY S III he'd ask 'Dad! You're making the SIII, right?' But all I could say was 'I don't really know.' It was really awkward."
All of which makes you wonder what the Apple company policy is. At one point, it clearly included taking prototypes to the bar and proceeding to drink a lot. [Samsung]