Apple has issued an internal memo to employees asking them to stop leaking information to the press. This message was then promptly leaked to Bloomberg, where it can be read in its entirety.
These leaks come from direct employees, contractors, and suppliers and include information about future products and software features. In the strongly worded memo, Apple describes their commitment to stopping and punishing such leakers. They claim to have caught 29 employees last year and 12 of them were eventually arrested. Part of the memo reads as follows:
"Leakers do not simply lose their jobs at Apple. In some cases, they face jail time and massive fines for network intrusion and theft of trade secrets both classified as federal crimes. [...] Everyone comes to Apple to do the best work of their lives — work that matters and contributes to what all 135,000 people in this company are doing together. The best way to honor those contributions is by not leaking.”
To help stop leaks, Apple is urging its employees to be wary of reporters and media outlets who may try to befriend them in exchange for inside information. Apple warns that it "may seem flattering" to be approached for information, but that in end, "you're getting played."
With this memo, Apple has made it clear that they have zero tolerance for leaks of confidential information. They also state that once a leaker is fired, Apple will try hard to make finding employment elsewhere nearly impossible. The memo highlights how earlier this year, they caught and fired an employee who leaked details from an internal meeting. Last year they fired another employee for leaking details to 9to5mac.
Apple has historically been very secretive about their product cycle and they have generally done a good job of keeping things under wraps. Given their size and the number of contractors they work with, occasional leaks are bound to come out. Apple is not alone though as Google, Facebook, and the rest of Silicon Valley all deal with information leaks.