Apple CEO Tim Cook reveals hard line against leakers - in a leaked email

Apple CEO Tim Cook has apparently revealed the company is taking a hard line against those who leak information - which has become known through yet another leak.

The Cupertino-based tech giant is also showing no signs of backing down against Epic Games, makers of Fortnite, telling the company it would be blacklisted from the App Store until all court appeals are exhausted.

The stance comes as its new iPhone 13 range and iPads launch in New Zealand this week, with strong rumours about the iPhone 14 already surfacing.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known Apple analyst, wrote in a research note that his expectations for the 2022 Pro models include a hole-punch display and an increased 48-megapixel wide lens on the rear camera.

The hole-punch display would see the end of the notch on the front of the screen and bring the iPhone into line with Samsung's flagship Galaxy phones.

Kuo also reported that "lower than expected development progress" has meant the delay of an iPhone with under-display Touch ID until 2023. This would allow fingerprints on the screen to unlock the phone, rather than having to use a button on the edge.

Jon Prosser, another well-known leaker, released a YouTube video saying he's viewed images of the iPhone 14 Pro Max and it contains no camera notch, meaning the lenses are flat against the back of the phone.

Cook, in a reportedly leaked email to Apple's staff published by The Verge, wrote that people who leak confidential information do not belong in the company.

"I want to reassure you that we are doing everything in our power to identify those who leaked," he apparently wrote.

"As you know, we do not tolerate disclosures of confidential information, whether it's product IP or the details of a confidential meeting.

"We know that the leakers constitute a small number of people. We also know that people who leak confidential information do not belong here."

Given many of this year's hardware rumours prove to be less than accurate - there was no always-on display and the much-rumoured satellite calling functionality was nowhere to be seen - then the leaks may not be as wide as Cook anticipates.

Meanwhile Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games, took to Twitter to reveal Apple's stance against his company, saying it could mean five years before Fortnite is back in the App Store.

"Apple lied. Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they'd 'welcome Epic's return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else'," he tweeted.

"Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users.

"Late last night, Apple informed Epic that Fortnite will be blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals, which could be as long as a five-year process."

The companies are involved in a billion-dollar lawsuit over Apple's 30 percent commission for in-app purchases which applies to apps earning over US$1 million per year.

Those that earn less pay Apple 15 percent.

Epic tried to get around the rule by launching its own in-app payment system which Apple considered a breach of its conditions and kicked the game off its platform last August.

Apple confirmed the authenticity of the letter Sweeney posted on Twitter, but declined to comment further, Reuters reported.