The arrival of the original iPhone made Apple a major force in the tech industry. The company already has established a firm grip on the computing market segment and entertainment. However, the debut of the handset also signalled the eventual end of its iPod lineup. The iconic portable music player was a must-have gadget for consumers back in the day but has been displaced by smartphones. However, not many knew that the manufacturer purportedly crafted a special version exclusively for the United States government.

Over the years, the iPod had many secrets that were eventually discovered by users and tech-savvy fans of the device. A software engineer who claims to have worked for Apple in the past recently shared something interesting. The ex-employee – David Shayer – recalls a particularly odd event during his 18-year stint with the Cupertino-based tech titan.

His superior reportedly assigned him to a unique project with "two engineers from the US Department of Energy," reports the Independent. The task presented was to allegedly develop a "special iPod" that does not run regular hardware and could not be detected when operational. He later indicated that the two so-called engineers were connected with U.S. defence contractor Betchel which worked with the aforementioned government cabinet-level department.

Moreover, only the director of iPod Software, vice president of the iPod divisions, senior vice president of hardware, and Shayer was aware of this clandestine development. Exact details as to what was being crafted were kept under wraps and all communication was done in person. This was likely intended so there are no paper trails which renders the device virtually non-existent for those who were not involved.

He suspected that it might have been a portable and discreet "Geiger counter" possibly for covert operations within an urban location. "You could walk around a city, casually listening to your tunes, while recording evidence of radioactivity—scanning for smuggled or stolen uranium, for instance, or evidence of a dirty bomb development program—with no chance that the press or public would get wind of what was happening," said Shayer.

Apple iPod classic

He added that it was designed to remain inconspicuous even on the software level. Thanks to a special partition on the disk, only the operator would know how to access certain functions. Even if it fell into the hands of an unsuspecting individual everything about it would seem like a regular iPod. Plugging it into a computer would not show that is has been modified in any way as well. Finally, the iPod in questions was the fifth-generation model which was supposedly easy to modify courtesy of its unsigned operating system.