Deadly secrets of Apple’s new iPhone

July 23rd, 2009 - 3:54 am ICT by John Le Fevre  

Iphone 3G S In the days leading up to the release of Apple’s fourth-generation iPhone, Apple fanboys (and girls) would have almost died to be the first to get their hands on one. Tragically, a young Chinese factory worker did die – after loosing one of the prototypes.

Sun Danyong, a 25-year-old business management graduate from Yunnan province, leapt to his death from his 12th floor apartment in Shenzen, after one of 16 fourth-generation prototype iPhones he was responsible for went missing.

According to information only just now becoming public, Sun is alleged to have been beaten by security guards employed by giant Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, after reporting the loss of one of the phones.

The publication of the young workers death amidst accusations of assault by security staff forced Apple to issue a statement Wednesday, insisting that all the company’s contractors must treat workers with respect and dignity.

While Apple and Foxconn confirmed Sun’s suicide, both companies refused to provide any information about the circumstances of his death, with Foxconn executive Li Jinming saying in a statement that Sun’s death showed that the company “needed to do a better job helping its employees with psychological pressures.”

Foxconn said its head of security, Gu Qinming, has been suspended and handed over to the police investigating the circumstances leading up to the workers death.

Gu is reported to have told the Southern Metropolis Daily that Sun followed instructions and attended his office on July 15, after three security staff searched his apartment and did not find the phone.

“I got a bit agitated. I pointed my finger at him and said that he was trying to shift the blame. I was a little angry and I pulled his right shoulder once to get him to tell me what happened,” the paper reported Gu as saying.

Jill Tan, an Apple spokeswoman in Hong Kong, said, “we are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect.”

The iPhone has played a pivotal role in Apple’s recent success with more than More than 5.2 million of the devices being sold in the third quarter of this year — seven times the number sold at the same time last year.

Foxconn is owned by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics.

The company produces computers for Hewlett-Packard Co., PlayStation game consoles for Sony Corp., and mobile phones for Nokia Corp.

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