Shenzhen Worker Commits Suicide over Missing iPhone Prototype - Foxconn Investigating, Apple Comments

apple-iphone-3gs-prototype

As has been widely covered on the net, Foxconn worker Sun Danyong of Shenzhen, responsible for 16 fourth-generation iPhone prototypes, committed suicide on July 16, after reporting one of the prototypes missing three days earlier.

Foxconn is the Taiwanese company that has long manufactured Apple iPods and the iPhone. Colleagues informed the Chinese media that Sun notified them over internet chat that he was confined, abused during interrogation, and had his property searched. Foxconn chief of security, Gu Qinming, who refutes the allegations, has been suspended.

Apple released the following statement to CNet:

"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."

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 19 comments. Add yours.

Ted says:

If this was someone who worked on MS products I could just imagine all of the negative comments about this.
It's okay though, Apple's a good company!

Dmys says:

I don't think Apple is one to blame rather Foxconn.

AgBand says:

Apple is a GREAT company!

A.J. says:

Wasn't it apple that chose foxconn as a supplier? No? Apple is GREAT company then! Lol.

evie says:

Apple may not be "to blame," but they are definitely responsible. It's their product and their vendor.

Joe McG says:

Are you kidding me? Steve Jobs probably flew over there himself and tortured the guy.
Seriously though, it's really a hard truth that we enjoy inexpensive electronics at the price of peoples freedoms and, in this case, lives.

Big Pimpin says:

evie......all apple did was contract an outside vendor to produce a product for them. It is what that company does, and not just for apple, if you bothered to read the complete article. While this is sad, it is in NO ways apples fault nor is it in their control. Your reasoning makes it apples fault everytime an employee gets fired. While I am sorry (and a little weirded out) that this person chose to do this, I AM excited that 16 (now 15) FOURTH GEN iphones are out there. Bring on next summer (and the months of leaked / made up stories) about it. Can't wait.

Poop Smells Good says:

When you're under the thumb of communism, you evidently aren't clinging to much. Everybody in America remember that the next time you go to the poll to vote.

JK says:

"Vere iz de iPhone!?!?"

Matt B says:

I wonder where that prototype is? Maybe someone found it and well see it on the web soon! (hey you never know..)
Maybe foxconn set up his murder to look like a suicide (and apple is in on it to lol)
but this is unfortunate

icebike says:

The overlooked item, amid all the tragedy and finger pointing is that there exists a 4G phone. (Some news sources actually use the term 4G rather than 4th generation).
Further, this 4G phone is at the point of being prototyped in sufficient quantity (16 units) for real-life testing. (One does not typically build prototypes in a high volume factory.)
This brings up some questions:
1: Were some of those leaked photos running around when we were awaiting the 3Gs really 4G leaks?
2: Was the use of "4G" in the earliest press accounts meaningful or simply clueless reporters? (Is the term "4G" even sufficiently defined: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4g )
3: Why is Apple having prototypes built by Foxconn? Are their in-house capabilities so anemic they can't even produce their own test handsets?
3 again: If Foxconn is producing them in field test quantities does that mean they are closer to production than we might think?
3 even more: Are these the Chinese market iphones sans WiFi, or a CDMA version, or, LTE, etc)? Seems too soon for them to appear if they are meant for release in june/july 2010.
4: I don't have a four.

jtorrebl says:

4th Gen iphone? If this is a prototype. when could it come out? As soon as December in time for apples next big announcement or is this the timeline for an debut next summer as expected.

SpiceRak2 says:

No doubt, a tragedy. Does anyone feel an ounce of compassion? What a senseless end of a life. I certainly hope measures are being taken to prevent future occurences and that this man's family finds some peace.

Kraot says:

Man who comitted suicide deserved killing himself. How the hell is he going to lose such a beautiful phone. It's a good thing security roughed him up before he took his own life. He brought some honor to himself.

MikeCN says:

I'm sorry about what Kraot said.
You guys don't know what this means to him and his family. He is a fresh college graduate (started work a year agao), a 24 years old life with all the hope on his shoulder of his very poor family in a remote village in Yunnan province, China. You don't know how hard his parents in debt to put him through the four years college. He worked so hard after school to earn some extra pennies to support himself finishing his degree. Sometimes he can only afford to buy half meal when in college, but he never take things for free from others sympathy. One Iphone was missing during a factory floor shift transition, still don't know where it goes. You can imagine what an insult to him when he was suspected and interrogated like a criminal. He just wants to clear his innocence, but a stupid move. Is it more important you enjoy a beautiful iphone than a young man's life? All his family's hope gone, all his dream for a successful career and beautiful life gone. We should at least show some appreciations for the millions of ordnary Chinese workers with minimium wages while we enjoy those beautiful products in USA.

Yikes!! says:

No, Kraot. The likes of you, like your own words, "deserved killing himself".
Is your last name Lucifer? or Is that your first name?

Malorie Vanoy says:

If I were Giz, I would be playing this exactly the way they are. And so would all of you. I don't dislike Giz one bit. They scooped the planet. And for that, they deserve to make their business grow. Just like Apple did with the iPhone in the first place.