Apple escalates war against leakers in China

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.

iPhone 13 and 13 Pro dummy units (Photo: Sonny Dickson)
iPhone 13 and 13 Pro dummy units (Photo: Sonny Dickson)

Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai for 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.


  1. Good luck with that. Without additional and never-ending bribes to the communist party, Apple will never have the support of China’s police force or legal (hahahaha!) system. Apple may win a small victory here or there, but it is impossible to fight the commie system. Period.

    The Chinese companies on the ground in China have to have internal motivation to stop leaks that is more powerful than pressure from their peaceful but commie oppressors. Sure, Apple can cancel a contract with a few companies, but Apple is still “just an outsider” playing on someone else’s field with unfair referees.

    1. Like Newsom calling for Californians to mask up AGAIN while his kids run around summer camp without masks? Maybe they learned about daddy having a dinner party at the French Laundry when the French Laundry was closed because Newsom said that The French Laundry couldn’t be open? So, who leaked those photos of Newsom’s kids by posting them on… social media? Can’t stop the leaks. Someone at the Laundry leaked (probably a pissed lowly “commoner” employee). Who leaked the summer camp photos? That one, we know – it was the summer camp. Can’t stop the leaks. No wonder there is a recall vote against him.

      Can’t stop the leaks cause there are too many of them AND there is a desire to “scoop” those leaks.

      1. Just like Biden trying to stop Covid with more masks while bussing and flying illegals (with verifiable proof of full vaccination, of course) all around the US on our tab! Hmmm… for humanitarian reasons? I think not. For political reasons? I think yes. Now, what possible benefit could WIDE OPEN borders be to lefty democrats? Now THAT is a good question. Apple is trying to stop leaks. Biden and lefty Dems are not only making leaks bigger, they are busting down the dams to covid AND illegals. Way to go, kooks! The Dems running around screaming about masks while not caring about covid. Hahaha!!

  2. “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;…”

    Is MDN telling us they will never be reporting on or showing pictures of Apple product leaks like the iPhone or other Apple products that are coming out of China or anywhere else for that matter?

    There’s going to be a new version of iPhone next year?!? Boy, didn’t see that coming! Please… No one needs some leaker from China to spill the beans on a new version of iPhone. It’s anyones guess as to the inclusion of one or more of the following, launch after launch, year after year:

    Better camera (always seems a given)
    Different colors (innovative)
    New Technology (now we can hear from Apple the M1, M1X, M2, M2X, and so on or T2 is now T3)
    New Display Size (so much for operating phone in one hand argument, huh Apple)
    Foldable (like we haven’t heard that before)
    New Display technology (stunning)
    Better Battery Life (Always wanted)
    Bigger Hard Drive (Never Big Enough)
    Thinner and Weighs less too (Jony Ives is back boys!)
    Smaller Notch and Same Placement of Power On Button on the side (two of MDN’s facinations)
    And probably a few more that aren’t off the top of my head.

    “…much of the surprise has been drained out of it.”

    So, there really isn’t much to be surprised about. But IF Apple did wish to surprise it’s customer fan base, here are a few things…

    New lower price points to make ALL models more affordable. Especially with discretionary income being diminished by Build Back Better Inflation, not to mention price increases on Gas, Food, Health Care, etc.

    Extend Apple Care to double its current coverage time for the same price point. Because really, with Apple’s renowned quality, nothing will occur during those first three years, however, more possibilities of things tending to go south increase just about the time your ‘warranty’ coverage reached the end date.

    And most of all, plenty of stock available at product launch. I was never more disappointed in my enthusiasm for an Apple product when I tried to get my very first iPhone, the 6 plus. First disheartening event was the debacle of pre-orders online at Apple’s website, staying up at 3:00 AM only to have the Apple website freeze up two seconds into the pre-ordering. Then a week or so later, getting up at 4:00 AM to be in line with a bunch of others waiting for the special early opening of the Apple store in my local shopping mall, only to be told they didn’t have the size phone I wanted, for the carrier I wanted, in the color I wanted. But hey, I did get a consolation prize, an Apple tee shirt.

    Never, was my excitement and enthusiasm left so deflated about an Apple product that I truely desired to purchase and that disappointing experience was ALL ON APPLE, no “leakers needed”. And all this was well before the COVID ‘Shamdemic’.

    Work on those Apple and you’ll bring about some pleasantly surprised fans!

    1. Good point about doubling AppleCare. We really should have a 2-year warranty free as the EU does. Apple could still sell AppleCare for years 3 and 4 if they wanted. I suspect tech companies just make too much free money selling extended warranties, but 2 years might be the sweet spot for consumers.

      1. Check out UK consumer laws. Buy from manufacturer for easiest access to free, compulsory 6 year product coverage.
        Little known about. Used it I for a faulty washing machine.

  3. “Biden Adds Sanctions Against China for Escalating Hacks Into Thousands of US Computer Systems”

    Oh… uh… wrong headline. Biden didn’t do that.

    Could it be… collusion? Or just old fashioned blackmail? Maybe we will find out next time some huge system crashes is the US; banking, water, internet, mass transit systems, power grids, freight rail systems, fuel lines, sewage, Wall St, air traffic control, military, food supply chains, telecommunications, traffic control systems, airlines, etc… But, that’s ok. It will be worth it since mean Trump is gone.

  4. The only “escalation” of matter would be to pull manufacturing from China. Won’t happen, sadly, so this and other shenanigans will continue – will get worse in fact.

  5. People on here have no idea about China. I live here and it’s coming for the US which is a monster feck of a country and although one I admire… I can see that it has lost its way.

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