Apple, in a sign of escalation in its war against leakers, has sent a cease and desist letter to a Chinese citizen who advertised stolen iPhone prototypes on social media, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Motherboard.
In 2019, a Motherboard investigation revealed the shadowy market for stolen Apple prototypes. The little-known market is allegedly fueled by mysterious Chinese Apple or Foxconn employees who sneak the hardware out of factories like Longhua in Shenzhen.
At the time, Apple did not respond to requests for comment, and it was unclear how much the company knew about this gray market or what it was doing or planning to do about it. This cease and desist letter shows how Apple is going after resellers and how it’s trying to clamp down on the gray market they’re part of.
The letter was sent by Fangda Partners, Apple’s law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. In the letter, Apple asked the seller to stop acquiring, advertising, and selling leaked Apple devices, and requested a list of anyone who provided them with the leaked devices. In other words, Apple wants the reseller to say who gave them the devices. Finally, the company requested the seller to sign a document promising to comply with the request within 14 days of receiving the letter.
MacDailyNews Take: Due to leakers, there is so little that’s unknown about future iPhones (and iPads) that, when they’re unveiled by Apple it’s more of a confirmation even than anything else; much of the surprise has been drained out of it. Hopefully, Apple can somehow cram the genie at least partly back into the bottle and curtail the leaking of Apple’s trade secrets.