Back in 2001, a young engineer at Apple received a mysterious brief to help the US Department of Energy develop a secret iPod. Only four people at Apple knew about it and to this day, no record exists of the top-secret project. The mission for David Shayer began with the following tantalizing words…
“I have a special assignment for you. Your boss doesn’t know about it. You’ll help two engineers from the US Department of Energy build a special iPod. Report only to me”.
Shayer, who at the time worked as a desk engineer at Apple, helped the DoE operatives add custom hardware to an iPod and record data in a way that couldn’t be detected. Crucially, the iPod had to still look and behave just like a regular iPod.
Looking back on the part he played and given that the DoE is responsible for nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs, Shayer guesses that he helped build a stealth Geiger counter. Something that could hide in plain sight while DoE agents could record radioactivity, scan for uranium and find evidence of a dirty bomb without being detected.