Apple have always marched to the beat of a different drum, the think different drum. While this results in unique and oftentimes, revolutionary products, there are times when their dread of conformity is sinister. The particular angle that I am throwing is their insistence on absolute secrecy, a secrecy that can largely be to blame for the death of a 25 year-old Foxconn employee, Sun Danyong.
Recently, the company have come under fire for hiding CEO Steve Jobs’ serious health problems as a mere hormonal imbalance, when in fact, Jobs’ situation was much worse; he received a liver transplant in the American State of Tennesse. Secrecy at Apple exists at all levels. Their partners are under strict NDA’s which stipulate that nothing must get out, ever and Apple have gone as far as seeding fake information to suss out leaks within its own organisation.
The most recent example of Apple’s secrecy comes indirectly, from Foxconn, manufacturer of much of Apple’s iPhone. On 16 July, Sun Danyong, a recent engineering graduate who handled product division and communication for Foxconn, committed suicide after a prototype of the 4th generation iPhone, which was under his charge, vanished.
It is reported that his apartment was illegally searched by Foxconn employees after he reported the missing prototype to his boss. He may have also undergone physical harassment. Apple’s modus operandi of secrecy is obviously sending ripples along its manufacturing supply line abroad, as well as its distribution at home.
Sad as it is, this instance is likely to repeat itself if Apple don’t mend their ways. The fact of the matter is that no matter how desperate a company in this economy will be to make the perfect launch, the perfect product, and the perfect profit; no piece of new hardware remains new once launched and no hardware is worth the price of a human life. Demanding ultra-secretive practices from manufacturers, especially in countries that are not in the same jurisdiction, is a fathomless crime of the hubris.