updated 04:05 pm EDT, Wed June 15, 2011
Accessory maker paid off Foxconn worker
A court in Shenzhen, China has sentenced three people to prison over leaking iPad 2 information, says the Wall Street Journal. The instigator is said to have been Xiao Chengsong, general manager of Shenzhen MacTop Electronics, who offered former Hon Hai/Foxconn worker Hou Pengna 20,000 yuan plus MacTop discounts in exchange for iPad 2 specifications. Hou in turn paid Lin Kecheng, an active Hon Hai R&D worker, for digital images of the tablet's back cover in September 2010. The product's launch was still several months away, on March 11th.
Xiao has been sentenced to 18 months and prison with a 150,000 yuan fine. Lin's sentence is 14 months and 100,000 yuan, while Hou will serve a year in prison and pay 30,000 yuan. Apple and MacTop have declined to comment, while Hon Hai has issued only a general statement. "We cannot comment on matters of internal security, but Foxconn takes its commitment to protecting its intellectual property as well as that of its customers very seriously and undertakes all appropriate actions to safeguard against any violations," it writes.
Leaks to Chinese accessory makers gave the public an early glimpse at the design of the iPad 2, which includes several upgrades from its predecessor like a thinner back, an improved speaker grill and front- and rear-facing cameras. For the manufacturers themselves the leaks were a way of getting a headstart on iPad 2 products. The Shenzhen court notes that MacTop started selling pre-release cases online, including through online trade service Alibaba. Listings by several companies for iPad 2 cases were pulled from Alibaba in December, after a request from an unidentified party, likely either Apple or Hon Hai.