Three people in China are going to prison for leaking information about the iPad 2. It's a sad and pathetic story, but also one that we're going to be telling again and again in the coming years.
As the Wall Street Journal reports:
The Shenzhen Bao'an People's Court, in announcing its decision, said the head of a Chinese electronics-accessories manufacturer allegedly paid a former employee and a then-active employee of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. for information about the iPad 2 in order to produce protective cases for the device. Hon Hai, known by its trade name Foxconn, makes the iPad 2 and other gadgets for Apple in its factories in China.
That's right. iPad cases. Those Foxconn employees weren't selling information to iPad counterfeiters or competitors, they were selling them to an accessory maker. Three people are going to prison in sentences ranging from a year to a year and a half for helping a case-maker get a jump start on the competition. The stiffest sentence was handed down to Xiao Chengsong, general manager of Mac Top Electronics, who paid the other two co-conspirators to get him the iPad 2 specs.
But of course, that's not really the whole story. Interestingly, the case in question is one Gizmodo covered in December 2010, long before the iPad 2 itself was announced. Its early appearance fed the iPad rumor mill. As Jesus Diaz noted at the time: