4th-gen Apple iPhone prototype goes missing; Chinese worker investigated, commits suicide

“Last Thursday, 25 year-old Sun Danyong committed suicide after a fourth-generation iPhone prototype he was responsible for went missing,” Eric Eldon reports for VentureBeat. “Sun was a recent engineering graduate, and had landed a job handling product communications for electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn in Shenzhen, a leading city in the industry-heavy Guangdong province near Hong Kong. He was tasked with shipping iPhone prototypes from Foxconn to Apple.”

“On Thursday, July 9th, Sun got 16 prototype phones from the assembly line at a local Foxconn factory. At some point in the next few days, he discovered that one of the phones was missing. He suspected that it had been left at the factory, but couldn’t find it. On Monday, July 13, he reported the missing phone to his boss. Then, that Wednesday, three Foxconn employees searched his apartment — illegally, according to Chinese law. Accusations are flying that Sun was detained and physically abused during the investigation, although this has not been substantiated,” Eldon reports.

“On Thursday — a little after 3 a.m. according to surveillance videos in the apartment building — he jumped out of a window in his apartment building to his death,” Eldon reports. “Taiwan-based Foxconn makes Apple’s iPhones and iPods, along with numerous other hardware devices for other international technology companies. It faces cutthroat competition from other manufacturers around China and the world. A leak of the next generation of Apple’s crown jewel, the iPhone, could badly hurt Foxconn’s business relationship with Apple. The pressure within Foxconn to maintain Apple’s secrets, then, is not surprising.”

Full article here.

Kit Eaton writes for Fast Company, “Is Apple to blame for this? Of course it isn’t… but it’s an accusation you’ll hear leveled all over the Web. There are two factors to think about: Apple’s product security, and how Foxconn handled its employee. As far as the first is concerned, Apple’s level of secrecy doesn’t compare a jot to that which millions of employees of defense companies the world over endure. It may all sound very cloak and dagger, and it’s clearly part of Apple’s business mojo–designed so that innovative products really make a big splash when they hit the marketplace–but it’s not when you consider the secrecy which wraps employees of companies that build missiles, do secret military research or work in the nuclear weapons industry. As far as Foxconn is concerned, we don’t know all the facts yet.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “qka” for the heads up.]

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