According to Vice
, a cease and desist letter sent by Apple
demands that a person living in China stop advertising leaked and stolen iPhone prototypes. The company gave two main reasons why it is asking for the practice to end noting that leaks take away the excitement of a new iPhone release by giving away surprises Apple wanted to reveal itself. As a result, when Apple introduces its next-gen iPhone, the public won't be surprised and such surprises, Apple writes in the letter, are part of its "DNA."
Another reason that Apple gives for demanding the end to leaks of prototype iPhone models is that "third-party accessory manufacturers may develop and sell mobile phone cases and other accessories that are not actually compatible with the unreleased products." Now we have to wonder whether Apple is really concerned about the welfare of these third-party case manufacturers because ill-fitting cases from third-party firms would tend to improve sales of Apple's own cases.
Apple suggests that the blame for poorly-fitting third-party iPhone cases should be put on those leaking info about unreleased models
The letter written by a Chinese law firm on Apple's behalf states, "Such situations harm the interests of consumers and Apple. Therefore, it is obvious that when the unpublished information about the design and performance of Apple's products is kept confidential, it has actual and potential commercial value." In the letter, Apple says that the leakers are giving away "a large amount of information related to Apple's unreleased and rumored products," which translates into "widespread recognition and a large number of followers."
In approximately six weeks, Apple could unveil its next line of iPhone models
The tech giant calls the seller's posts an "illegal disclosure of Apple’s trade secrets." And the company has taken legal action before against accessory providers. In 2016, it sued Mobile Star LLC for manufacturing counterfeit adapters, cables, and other products. The lawsuit "revealed that Mobile Star's supply chain includes entities that are known counterfeiters and infringers of Apple's intellectual property and source large quantities of Apple-branded products directly from entities based in China."
Apple CEO Tim Cook is known to despise leakers; Samsung also looks to fight back
Last month, Apple threatened legal action against leakers
who are disseminating posts about unreleased iPhone units. And in March, Apple demanded that its top assemblers including Foxconn and Wistron do background checks on all of their assembly line workers. Overworked and underpaid doing boring repetitive jobs, these employees could be more amenable to receiving easy cash in exchange for information, images, or actual hardware from unreleased iPhone models.
While Apple CEO Tim Cook is known to despise leaks, it seems that getting rid of them is easier said than done. In 2017, Apple convened an internal seminar on leaks
. Meant to be a non-public "secret" gathering, word about the seminar leaked.
Many of these leakers are what we call "Twitter tipsters" who use the social media app to get the word out about the information that they have somehow acquired. Many of these individuals are looking to make a career from these tweets and indeed, some have gone on to build huge followings by releasing accurate information before a company like Apple officially unveils it.
Apple isn't the only company looking to fight back against leakers. Earlier this month, we told you that Samsung has started to copyright leaked images and videos of unreleased products in an effort to have them removed from the internet. This plan hasn't seemed to work as just about every major device we expect Samsung to introduce at its next Unpacked event on August 11th, has been fully leaked including devices such as the Galaxy Z Fold 3
, Galaxy Z Flip 3
, Galaxy Buds 2, Galaxy Watch
4, and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.