Apple's secrecy policies are a legend in the industry, and the launch of the iPad is unlikely to change that. BusinessWeek reports that iPad developers are being forced to abide by insane security procedures in order to get an early shot at Apple's tablet. Testers can only use the iPad while isolated in a room with blacked out windows.
At all times, the iPad has to remain tethered to an immovable object. Apple requires photographic evidence from all of their partners that these requirements have been complied with before they will even ship out the iPad. People familiar with the matter say that Apple is also known for sending out altered versions of their products, in order to track back any leaks to the source.
No one can argue that Apple is one of the top designers in the tech industry. They build high-quality, reliable, attractive products that people love to use. Unfortunately, it also seems like a growing focus of their corporate culture is keeping the strictest security possible. As Apple devotes more and more resources to maintaining this secrecy, it is possible standards will start to slip in other areas.