I’ve had several dozen prototype phones in my mucky paws over the years, either by accident or as a result of companies testing the water, so this story really hit me where I live.
Sun Danyong, 25, worked in product communications at Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese firm that makes many Apple products at a massive factory in the southern city of Shenzhen. Sun was responsible for sending prototypes for possible iPhones to Apple, and on July 13 he reported that he was missing one of the 16 units in his possession.
His friends said company security guards searched his apartment, detained him, interrogated him and beat him. In the early morning of July 16, Sun jumped from the 12th floor of his apartment building and died.
Jill Tan, an Apple spokeswoman in Hong Kong, issued a statement about the incident. “We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death,” Tan said. “We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect.”
All employees at Foxconn are under enormous pressure from Apple to keep details of their gadgets secret.
For the record, none of the companies I’ve dealt with has ever put me under any pressure over the phones I’ve handled (including the most recent when two prototype Samsungs were sent to me by Nokia instead of back to Samsung) and some of them have even encouraged me to keep them or show them off to friends. This is a shocking insight into the treatment these people go through in order to keep Apple’s latest gadget mysterious enough to build the hype and gain a few extra sales.