In a sad news story from the Far East, a Foxconn employee in China has reportedly committed suicide after a 4th generation iPhone prototype he was responsible for went missing. Foxconn is the Taiwanese based company that manufacturers a number of Apple’s most successful products, in addition to a number of other devices like the Wii and Amazon’s Kindle.
According to reports, Foxconn employee Sun Danyong was responsible for 16 iPhone prototypes when one went missing. Apple’s obsession with secrecy and preventing leaks undoubtedly carries over to its manufacturing partners, and Foxconn’s security department subsequently conducted an illegal search of Danyong’s apartment. He was also detained, and some reports have noted that Danyong had even been physically abused. With the mounting pressure of the missing iPhone resting on his shoulders, Danyong committed suicide last Thursday by jumping out of his 12 story apartment building.
In the wake of Danyong’s death, Foxconn issued a statement apologizing for what transpired and promised to investigate the matter. Danyong’s death, however, underscores how ignorant we in America tend to be when it comes to the working conditions and internal pressures placed upon those tasked with manufacturing the products we love to use.
Update: Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet confirmed the story and issued the following statement to CNET: