Business Insider talked with a developer who had early access to an iPad, before it was even announced, and he revealed a intriguing tale of physically chained down devices, hidden behind frames, subject to spot checks.
Apple flew the iPads to the developers destination accompanied by at least one engineer. They had to be kept in a room with no windows. Apple changed the locks on the doors and took the names and social security numbers of the four people who were allowed access to it. The iPads were fixed to the desk with high strength security cabling, similar to the material used for cycle locks.
They had these custom frames built around them so we couldn't even tell what the iPads looked like. We could plug into them so we could code to them and we could touch the screen and play with that, but we couldn't see the form factor. Then they took pictures of the wood grain. If any pictures leaked out, they could trace it back to which desk they came from.
Not really all that surprising to me; you don’t keep a product like an iPad under wraps with very little leaked information, without taking some major precautions. Apple are extremely successful with minimizing product information leaks. We still have no idea what the iPhone 5 will feature, so the system certainly seems to work.
(Now all it needs is a way to lock down all the bars in San Francisco...)