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
outed the Apple employee that actually lost the phone.
In the end, Gizmodo ended up
$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
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
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
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."
quote: I find this whole story so full of ineptitude it is incredible. Here is this "secret" phone being trialled and it doesn't have a "If this phone is lost then ring this free phone number for a reward" sticker on it. Then, when it was lost the employee presumably didn't try to contact the finder, nor did they have anyone to contact to report it without fear of dire consequences.