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 tantalising 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”.
Shayar, 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 US Department of Energy is responsible for nuclear weapons and nuclear power programmes, Shayar guesses that he helped build a stealth Geiger counter. Something that could hide in plain sight whilst DoE agents could record radioactivity, scan for uranium, find evidence of a dirty bomb without being detected.