How a Developer Leaked Pictures of Apple’s ‘iPhone XS’ and Apple Watch Series 4

Last month, it was not a good day for someone at Apple headquarters. Why? iOS developer Guilherme Rambo, who recently started working for 9to5Mac, had discovered a huge leak from Apple: ‘iPhone XS’ and Apple Watch Series 4.

9to5Mac quickly published Rambo’s discoveries, which were product images for two large iPhone models in a shiny gold. Immediately afterwards, the same thing happened for Apple Watch Series 4, taking away the surprise element from the September special event—which had invites sent out that morning to media outlets.

As Rambo started sharing his Apple leaks with his 9to5Mac coworkers, the reaction of the team took to Twitter, sending confusion for those following them:

At the time, many suspected (including ourselves) Rambo had somehow snapped the pictures of these unreleased products from Apple’s live event test stream, which was taking place that day. But Rambo later denied this was how he had figured out the leaks.

Today, on the eve of Apple’s September iPhone event, Rambo has shared how he managed to unearth product images for the company’s next iPhone models.

The developer explained, “So, about those marketing images: they came from the recap section of the special event website. I used the URL pattern from the last event and guessed the device’s names. Apple took them down immediately after we published.”

So basically, Rambo looked at a URL as follows:

Then, he further explained what he did:

Looking at the naming for past events, sometimes they combine multiple things into one recap image, which makes them harder to guess. We managed to guess the iPhone and Watch ones because they are “hero” shots.

So there you have it. Somebody at Apple made it too easy for someone to “guess” what the URL scheme would be for “hero” images, and Rambo was the one that figured it out.

When asked on Twitter why he didn’t include this backstory in his original posts detailing the leaks, Rambo said: “Because I didn’t feel like it.” Most likely he didn’t share how he found them, to prevent other publications from replicating his scoop.

Tomorrow, we’ll find out what official names are of Apple’s new iPhones, suspected to be ‘iPhone XS’ and ‘iPhone XS Max’ for new OLED models, and possibly ‘iPhone XR/XC’ for the 6.1-inch LCD model.