Print 84 comment(s) - last by Azure Sky.. on Apr 28 at 1:18 PM

Apple's fourth generation iPhone  (Source: Gizmodo)
Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

It's been a wild week for Gizmodo. The popular tech blog got what could be considered the tech scoop of the year (and possibly of the past decade) when it laid hands upon a prototype fourth generation iPhone.

According to Gizmodo's numerous stories on the topic, the phone was left behind at Gourmet Haus Staudt, a bar in Redwood City, California specializing in German suds. The person that found the phone tried to contact Apple directly in order to return the phone. The quest to find someone at Apple who could identify the lost prototype proved unfruitful.

Interestingly, the person who found the phone didn't hand the lost phone over to a bartender or appear to try to contact the person that actually lost the phone. The name of the person was gleaned from his Facebook profile on the iPhone and all of his pertinent information was available -- we know this because Gizmodo outed the Apple employee that actually lost the phone.

In the end, Gizmodo ended up paying $5,000 to the person that found the iPhone and ran with the story. Gizmodo later returned the iPhone prototype at the behest of Apple after it a finished a dissection.

According to Apple guru John Gruber, the iPhone in question is indeed a late prototype judging by its barcode:

One of the barcodes attached to the unit read “N90_DVT_GE4X_0493”. According to several sources (of mine) familiar with the project, “N90” is Apple’s codename for the fourth-generation GSM iPhone, slated for release this June or July. “DVT” stands for “design verification test”, an Apple production milestone. The DVT milestone is very late in the game; based on this, I now believe that this unit very closely, if not exactly, resembles what Apple plans to release.

Now, almost a week later, the police are involved according to CNET. Police in the Silicon Valley-area are now investigating whether the actions of Gizmodo and the person who found the phone were criminal and if there is enough evidence to file charges. The investigation is being headed by a computer crimes task force based out of the Santa Clara County DA's office.

CNET also reports that Apple has been in contact with the authorities regarding the incident.

The boys over at Gizmodo and Gawker Media are probably sweating a bit now that the police are involved, but the Apple employee who lost the phone may actually have a free getaway to Germany waiting for him. Lufthansa has offered the unlucky fellow a free flight to Germany where he can continue his love for great beer.

"At Lufthansa we also noted with great interest your passion for German beer and culture," said Lufthansa's marketing director for the Americas, Nicola Lange. "We thought you could use a break soon--and therefore would like to offer you complimentary business class transportation to Munich, where you can literally pick up where you last left off."


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RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By alifbaa on 4/23/2010 7:06:31 PM , Rating: 1
True. When he got the phone, he unlocked it and was greeted by the owner's facebook page, left up from the last time the owner used it. Without trying to contact the owner and waiting the obligatory waiting period for the then lost property to become his property, he sold it to Gizmodo. He stole the phone, and then sold stolen property. But those are not the only crimes here.

Gizmodo, who knew all of this, also didn't attempt to give it back to Apple and also didn't wait the obligatory time period. Thus, they received stolen property.

There's quite a bit to investigate here, actually. This theft deprived Apple of its marketing strategy and degraded its competitive advantage in a product that accounts for an enormous portion of profits in one of the world's most valuable companies. It absolutely deserves investigation and prosecution.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By mmatis on 4/23/2010 7:26:37 PM , Rating: 4
He also repeatedly tried to contact Apple to return the device, and they ignored him. Hopefully he did it from his cell phone so there's traceability of who he called when. Why should he contact "the owner", who obviously WAS NOT "the owner" of this particular phone? He TRIED to contact the REAL owner, and they didn't want anything to do with him!

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By Brandon Hill on 4/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By rs1 on 4/23/2010 8:46:44 PM , Rating: 4
Whatever happened to "finders, keepers"?

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By shabby on 4/23/2010 9:51:28 PM , Rating: 4
That only works between the ages of 4 and 10.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By thurston on 4/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By JonnyBlaze on 4/24/2010 5:01:27 PM , Rating: 2
Finding a next gen iphone does not make you a douche bag thief. It makes you lucky.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By thurston on 4/24/2010 5:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
Finding a next gen iphone does not make you a douche bag thief. It makes you lucky.

No, but living by the motto "finders keepers" does.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By mindless1 on 4/25/10, Rating: 0
RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By thurston on 4/25/10, Rating: 0
RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By jRaskell on 4/27/2010 8:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
Possession is 9/10ths of the law.

That's a catchy little cliche saying, but under REAL law, it's not even remotely true.

In other words, I will assume if you leave something behind that you didn't deserve to have that thing in the first place. It can't be very valuable to you if you can't bother to treat it as valuable.

You can assume all you want, but I guarantee you that if I were to leave my car running with the doors wide open, anywhere at all, and you drove off with it, the police won't give a rat's ass what you assumed if they catch you. They will arrest you. You will be charged with auto theft, and you can cry to Bubba about how possession is 9/10ths the law and you assumed nobody wanted the car anyways while you receive night after night of buttseks from him.

The only difference between a car and a cell phone is the cost of the item. Nothing else.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By Azure Sky on 4/28/2010 1:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
actually here, they would at minimum give you a ticket possibly even arrest you for leaving your car running with the keys in it, no, im not kidding, I watched them arrest a lady at the convenient store near my house after some kids stole her car (she left it running when she went in for coffee)

they arrested the kids as well, but the kids just got a slap on the wrist, cant remember what the crime is called but its a form of negligence and I dont feel sorry for the car owner for having her car totaled (on a USPS mail box), If you value something you take care of it, I am VERY careful not to leave my stuff behind or leave stuff where somebody could get access to it easily(example i lock the car doors when im not in it.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By Patrick Canney on 4/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By Patrick Canney on 4/24/2010 9:25:45 AM , Rating: 1
Lot's of bitter people here I take it.
It's a phone, get over it.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By MartyLK on 4/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By crystal clear on 4/24/10, Rating: -1
RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By MartyLK on 4/24/2010 9:35:02 AM , Rating: 1
I agree, and Apple should do so.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By HrilL on 4/24/2010 2:56:56 PM , Rating: 3
I highly doubt that. What they did wasn't illegal. Buy a stolen phone is probably the most they have to worry about. If it even was stolen.

From the sound of it he tried to return it to the owner. Apple. Since it was a company owned phone. They didn't want it until after the news came out.

Apple is completely in the wrong here. And they should have paid the 5000 to get the phone back if not more if they wanted it back. The phone was bricked by them making it impossible to find out who the rightful owner was when gizmodo finally got access to the phone from what I've read. So only the person that found it who still had access to the OS could have known who the rightful owner was. And maybe be the time he went to return it was already bricked as well. So he tried the only way he knew how and that was to contact apple who didn't take him seriously.

Apple should stop acting like a baby...

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By MartyLK on 4/24/2010 3:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
Tell that to yourself the next time you lose something, hoping someone who finds it returns it to you. If you would apply your own personal ethics to all parts of life, you would prosper. But to pick and choose what is good and right and what is bad and wrong isn't prosperous.

If a crime is a crime to one, it is a crime to all. If you hope and expect someone to return your property, that should be the same for matter that Apple is a company.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By Azure Sky on 4/28/2010 1:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
poor poor apple, i mean they have been harmed so much by somebody fiddling with a beta phone, it probably cost them alot to get that warrent to raid his house after all.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By dark matter on 4/25/2010 5:26:21 AM , Rating: 2
What they did was buy stolen property. You DO know how property law works don't you? You don't have to be touching your property or have it in your pocket to claim ownership. My car is out on the street right now can someone come along and simply "find it" and then sell it on to someone else who knows the car has been "found".

How about if I came into your house and "found" lots of your stuff. Or what if someone came to me and offered to sell me your stuff what they "found".

Wouldn't be so glib then would you.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By mindless1 on 4/25/2010 10:20:42 PM , Rating: 1
You can't steal something that is technically abandoned. If the phone was picked out of someone's pocket it would be different, but it was not in the employee's possession so it is not stealing, unlike if you went into someone's house and "found" stuff.

If someone came to you and offered to sell you something they found abandoned in a bar, by all means buy it if you want it.

Remember that if someone finds something you abandoned, there is no obligation for THEM to go to extra effort to FIND YOU! Whether they keep what they found or sell it is rather irrelevant, just as it would be irrelevant whether you kept or spent a $100 bill you found lying on a sidewalk.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By MartyLK on 4/25/2010 11:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
This last post was meant for you and was put in the wrong spot.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By MartyLK on 4/25/2010 11:36:50 PM , Rating: 4
That's exactly what crooks tell themselves. That is exactly the anti-social and greedy attitude. Find any way possible to justify keeping something that doesn't belong to you. To keep something rather than be neighborly and return what was lost.

First off, your attitude goes directly to the "abandonment" scheme. You see abandonment so you can feel "okay" about keeping the item. Secondly, you never consider common sense in that items like this are rarely abandoned and always either fall out of a pocket by accident or are forgotten. That, in no way shape or form, says the owner abandoned it. But you frantically see "abandonment" that you may profit from the loss and misery of another person.

People like you firmly believe you are more clever and wise than all others. But that's another delusion people like you suffer from. You want something for nothing. You spend more energy trying to get all you can without providing compensation. You believe nobody sees your real motives.

Had you chosen a social and caring life, one that looks out for others and befriends and defends others, you would be what you want to be. But instead, you want what you want without paying for it. You tend not to get any of it...because you put yourself above all others.

Regardless of the many layers a person like you devices for their lifestyle, there is only the simplicity of common sense that remains. And that is: The item wasn't yours and it wasn't abandoned. You have absolutely no right to it by any means. Can you steal it? Unfortunately, yes, you can. Can you get away with it? Unfortunately, maybe. Is it right to to do either of these things? Absolutely not! The simplicity of life dictates that you would be a criminal and wholly matter how many people you gather around you to defend your actions.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By cheetah2k on 4/24/2010 7:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
Giving the phone to the bar tender would have been worse than taking it to an Apple employee. So Brandon, would you trust handing over a lost wallet or phone to a bar tender? Someone who's most likely a tourist earning the bare minimum wage?? LOL!

The only crime here is that he elected to sell it to Giz at a profit, however if the Authorities are smart, they will ask Apple why they didnt put a notice out to employees world wide in search of the prototype - and reminding them of confidentiality agreements if it was handed in. The fact that the Apply employee that was contacted had no idea what the guy was talking about just shows how much Apple really did care about loosing the prototype! I mean the damn thing was in the wild for almost 2 weeks, and only now does Apple get the police involved????

Apple should have been offering rewards straight away to maintain the strictest of confidentiality on the phone, and they should also be praising the guy that found it because it could have ended up in more serious hands - eg China!! KIRF to the max baby!

Maybe Apple need to have a specific hotline for returning lost prototypes? Maybe they should have offered rewards, either way, prosecuting this guy will only do more harm than good for Apples image.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By Jalek on 4/25/2010 6:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
You've apparently not worked in service, the bar probably gets several phones a week. Everywhere I've worked, that's one of the things you do when it's slow in the morning, try and locate owners of phones, credit cards, purses, clothing... I mean there's no serious searching, usually calling "Mom" on the phone will get to someone that can identify the owner if it's not in the phone display.

A tourist as a bartender? You must visit some odd places, a tourist behind the bar would be robbing the place blind.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By mindless1 on 4/25/2010 10:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
In many service industries they do not go through, open or access the property, except maybe to look at a drivers license in a wallet or purse.

They just put it in a box behind the counter or back office in case someone comes back asking if they left XYZ behind and can positively describe the item.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By WinstonSmith on 4/24/2010 11:43:33 AM , Rating: 2
"There's quite a bit to investigate here, actually. This theft deprived Apple of its marketing strategy and degraded its competitive advantage in a product that accounts for an enormous portion of profits in one of the world's most valuable companies. It absolutely deserves investigation and prosecution."

Oh, come on. This is so obviously a publicity stunt by Apple to leak the iPhone specs in a more spectacular and "newsworthy" way than a typical release or leak just prior to the pending release of the Droid Incredible and the multiple Dell releases. I mean, just look at all of the media coverage that has been _wasted_ on it. And I have no doubt that Apple was involved in bringing the police into this thereby milking the farce for even more _free_ coverage. And, in the end, Apple will appear magnanimous when they don't press charges. "Gosh, what I nice company."

Come on people, don't be such manipulated lemmings.

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By Brandon Hill on 4/24/2010 1:04:37 PM , Rating: 3
While the skeptic in me would love to believe your commentary, one simply has to look at Apple's track record when it comes to product releases and how secretive they are. So secretive in fact that some Chinese workers have committed suicide (or been murdered, however you want to look at it) with regards to product leaks or missing devices.

Heck, even the rather routine recent upgrade of the MacBook Pro line was kept a secret until the morning of the launch.

So if what you are saying is true, then Apple just undid a decade+ of secrecy surrounding its product launches -- and to top it off, on probably their most important product.

And what possibly does Apple have to gain by leaking this early anyway? Not a thing. The launch of a new iPhone is frontpage news in every major and local newspaper, not to mention every tech blog on the planet from news stories to liveblogs so Apple would have gotten massive coverage anyway.

So again, what exactly is Apple gaining here by "leaking it" two months before launch? You could say that it was to stifle the reviews of the Droid Incredible, but Apple usually doesn't react to other people's product launches -- they march to their own drum beat. And there have been plenty of superior-spec'd phones that have come and gone since the iPhone has been on the market, yet the iPhone still continues to gain in sales.

So it definitely wasn't done out of fear, so what could possibly be the motivation from your viewpoint?

RE: Way to go, Lufthansa!!!
By mindless1 on 4/25/2010 10:25:04 PM , Rating: 2
Brandon wrote "The launch of a new iPhone is frontpage news in every major and local newspaper..."

No, it really isn't.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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