The iPhone 7 rumour river may flow a little slower than the torrent that's accompanied previous Apple launches, with the secretive Cupertino company taking drastic measures to ensure details of its future wares don't leak online.
It's asking third party case manufacturers to sign an agreement that would result in the potential loss of "future business opportunities that Apple and/or its affiliates may present”, should Apple discover its been seeking specifications and dimensions from unofficial channels. Remember, it's often early case designs that give the best indications as to what the next Apple mobile devices are going to look like.
And while Apple is mainly concerned with companies soliciting the leaking of components and details from factory production lines, its wording effectively bans the third-party case makers from reading rumour round-ups, too. According to the agreement:
[...] 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.
Apple's intentions here are clear -- it cannot stand another year of its top-flight gear being revealed ahead of an intended unvieling. But (tongue-in-cheek) conspiracy theorists may see it as an attempt to improve sign-ups to the Apple Care Protection Plan -- without prior knowledge to specs, third-party case manufacturers won't be able to get their covers and bumpers into stores until months after Apple products launch, leading to thousands of cracked screens and dented phones. [9to5Mac]