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Apple sues former iOS engineer for allegedly leaking confidential product details

Apple has taken legal action against a former employee, Andrew Aude, for allegedly leaking confidential information to journalists and employees of other companies. The lawsuit, filed in California state court, accuses Aude of divulging undisclosed details about Apple's Journal app, the development of the VisionOS headset, regulatory compliance strategies, employee headcounts, and other product hardware characteristics.

According to the lawsuit, Aude reportedly communicated extensively with a Wall Street Journal journalist, referred to as "Homeboy," over 1,400 times using an encrypted messaging app between June and September 2023. He also shared a final feature list for an unannounced Apple product with "Homeboy" over the phone and exchanged over 10,000 text messages with another journalist at The Information, even traveling across the continent to meet her.

Apple alleges that Aude leaked a list of finalized features for Apple's Journal app in a phone call with a reporter in April 2023, leading to a story about the app's features appearing in The Wall Street Journal that same month.

Aude, who joined Apple in 2016 as an iOS engineer focusing on battery performance optimization, had access to sensitive information regarding numerous Apple products. The leaks were only discovered in late 2023, and during initial discussions with Apple representatives in November of that year, Aude allegedly denied involvement and lied about having his Apple-issued iPhone. Subsequently, during a break in the meeting, he allegedly deleted significant evidence from his device, including the Signal app.

In a second meeting in December, Aude reportedly confessed to leaking information about Apple's strategies, unannounced products, development policies, and hardware characteristics to at least two journalists. He was terminated three days later.

Apple's lawsuit seeks a jury trial, damages, restitution of bonuses and stock options, and an order prohibiting Aude from disclosing Apple's confidential information without written consent.

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