Apple May Ban iPhone, iPad Case Makers Who Design Based on Leaks

Apple is reportedly targeting a frequent source of leaks i.e. third-party accessory makers, in order to step up the secrecy surrounding future iPhone and iPad releases, by threatening to ban them if they design any more iOS device cases or accessories based on product leaks, 9to5Mac is reporting. The source has learned that just ahead of iPhone 6’s launch, Apple demanded that a number of leading accessory makers sign agreements barring them from seeking out information about future Apple devices.

Case iphone 6

Apple reportedly used the Apple Store vendor agreement to ban accessory partners from seeking, obtaining, or relying upon advance specifications for future Apple products. Vendors who didn’t sign the agreement were told that their products would be banned from Apple’s stores in the absence of a signature. Furthermore, some vendors that did sign the agreement were subsequently dropped from the stores anyway, but say that they believe they remain contractually bound by its terms.

The agreement reads in part:

“…should Apple find that, prior to the release of a product, you have sought, obtained, or relied upon specifications of that product from sources other than Apple, Apple may choose to exercise its right to take action against you, which penalties can include, but are not limited to, Apple choosing not to stock your product in our stores.”

The report also reveals that Apple has recently removed between 60-70% of third-party cases from its retail stores, possibly to make room for the upcoming Apple Watch.

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  • Tim

    They’re really a cut-throat bully of a company when it comes to it, eh? On the surface, they craft this facade for the consumer, but their business to business relationships are pretty ruthless. They make no attempt to inject any humanity into the whole thing. Perhaps if Apple reliably released dimension specs under an NDA ahead a good time ahead of launch, case-makers wouldn’t feel the need to design off of leaks.

  • hub2

    Basic dimensions like width/length/height are pretty useless to a case maker. They need to know with millimetre (or better) accuracy where things are located, like the Apple logo, volume switches, camera lens and LED flash, Home button, whether sides are rounded or square, etc…. and if that leaks, that’s more than enough for someone to do a rendering of the actual iPhone that’s pretty accurate except for colour and material.

    From Apple’s perspective, an NDA with a single company means dozens of potential leaks within that company, from designers and testers to to manufacturers (if they want to have cases ready on release day). Multiply by 10 or more case makers and… well, you get the idea.

  • Chrome262

    I noticed in the apple store the large number of their own cases now. Which is good, because then end up fitting really well.