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This is Apple's new iPhone.
April 19, 2010 9:35 AM   Subscribe

What appears to be a next generation iPhone was found in a Redwood City, CA bar. Gizmodo get their hands on it. Oh my.
posted by hollisimo (353 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
My friend and I were trying to come with (unlikely) reasons why this would be an intentional leak on Apple's part. Perhaps they are running out of some critical part of the current iPhone and are trying to soften demand. Or, perhaps ATT is foot-dragging on something and trying to stall the new hardware release, and this is Apple striking back.

I think 'someone screwed up' is much, much more likely.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:37 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


While I've been as interested as anyone, watching the whole thing unfold this weekend, I can't help but feel a little sleazy about it. Gruber gets at why a little bit here. But basically there's every ethical reason for the person(s) who had possession of the phone to return it to its rightful owners. Instead they decided to be internet heroes ... or something. I don't know. Wonder how much they managed to get out of Gizmodo.
posted by sparkletone at 9:40 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah. I'm going all Hanlon's Razor on this one: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Steve Jobs is going to rip someone's balls of for this.
posted by SansPoint at 9:41 AM on April 19, 2010 [10 favorites]


Ouch. Poor person who dropped it. That's an awkward Monday morning at the office.
posted by jquinby at 9:42 AM on April 19, 2010


I'm just wondering which bar in Redwood City. City Pub, probably, but I like to think someone went to Sodini's for some morning karaoke and got a little too whiskey'd up to remember his or her phone.
posted by padraigin at 9:42 AM on April 19, 2010


Ha! I am entertained by this skullduggery!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:42 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is, coincidentally, the HTC Incredible launch day.

I still go with stupidity, probably, but ain't nobody talking about Incredible today, and they would have been if this hand't blown up.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:42 AM on April 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


I like to think that Steve Jobs is totally responsible for every Apple "leak" there is.

"Mr. Jobs! Have you seen Gizmodo? They... they somehow have pictures of the prototype!"
"Oh, yeah. I left it at some bar over the weekend."
posted by reductiondesign at 9:43 AM on April 19, 2010 [10 favorites]


Dubious.

"It was found lost in a bar"...
My ass, it was.

"Apple-connected John Gruber—from Daring Fireball—says that Apple has indeed lost a prototype iPhone and they want it back"
Uh huh. Apple would never participate in something like this to garner a bit of publicity. Nope.

I could see that it's all a story. But, if it's for real... yeah, they should totally return it.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 9:43 AM on April 19, 2010


I think Gizmodo will be citing precedent in Finders v. Keepers.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:44 AM on April 19, 2010 [96 favorites]


I saw this this morning. Looking at the very un-Apple-like details of the piece, I'm going with the idea that this thing is a test bed unit, and not indicative of the final design. I mean...the thing looks about as bad as any other Hong Kong knock-off.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:45 AM on April 19, 2010


As an iPhone user, I find a screw-up hard to believe. You will have to pry my iPhone from my cold dead hands. I cannot fathom forgetting it anywhere.

House keys, underwear, identification, left shoe? Absolutely.

iPhone? Never.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:45 AM on April 19, 2010 [17 favorites]


@greekphilosophy Well, luckily nobody found Steve's underwear in a bar. Now that would be a story.
posted by howling fantods at 9:49 AM on April 19, 2010


Ouch. Poor person who dropped it. That's an awkward Monday morning at the office.

Where awkward means "you have 5 minutes to pack your personal belongings." Poor person that lost their job because they dropped their phone.
posted by GuyZero at 9:49 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't see how anyone at Apple would let a prototype or a test unit out of the building.

Unless Steve Jobs himself took it to a bar, I'm calling shenanigans.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:50 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, luckily nobody found Steve's underwear in a bar. Now that would be a story.

Shots of a prototype iThong will be all over the tech. blogs in a matter of hours.
posted by sparkletone at 9:50 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


And it is likely that this was a test unit - I've seen engineering samples of other comparable phones and they always tend to look somewhat more crappy than the final product.
posted by GuyZero at 9:50 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who knows. But I have never seen Apple release a product that is less sleek and more bulky than the one it replaces.
posted by eperker at 9:50 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I called shenanigans at "found in a...bar." I'd believe a screwup like this from any organization, from Microsoft to the United States Government (but I repeat myself), but not from Apple.
posted by yiftach at 9:50 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Poor person that lost their job because they dropped their phone.

Clearly a mistake on their part to cheap out and skip on the 30-pin attaché wrist shackle dongle.
posted by cortex at 9:52 AM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


I like to think that Steve Jobs is totally responsible for every Apple "leak" there is.

It's like when Obama was playing 3D, 60-level-deep chess against Republicans, by giving them what they wanted on heath care reform.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:52 AM on April 19, 2010 [22 favorites]


Can't link this enough - New Device Desirable, Old Device Undesirable.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 9:53 AM on April 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


OK, even if it wasn't "found in a bar," if Gawker is going to say that it was, they should provide a damned good explanation of why they didn't return it. You don't just take apart other people's lost property, no matter how shiny it is.
posted by desjardins at 9:54 AM on April 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Um. Sorry.
posted by Jofus at 9:55 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


other people's lost property
posted by desjardins at 9:55 AM on April 19, 2010


Pretty obviously an intentional leak.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:55 AM on April 19, 2010


If I find someone's lost property, and I know who it belongs to, is it okay to disassemble it? I thought there were legal requirements for lost items that probably include not breaking it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:55 AM on April 19, 2010


Well, if it's real, and it appears to be, I am still not seeing any reason I would replace my fabulous Droid. Which already has an incredible screen, is fast as lightening, is stacked with great FREE apps and today proved capable of playing everything I already have (a lot) or could normally access (a ginormous selection) on Rhapsody.
posted by bearwife at 9:56 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


It looks kind of like the other iPhone!
posted by anazgnos at 9:57 AM on April 19, 2010


But I have never seen Apple release a product that is less sleek and more bulky than the one it replaces.

I don't get this. This thing is thinner, so...?
posted by sparkletone at 9:59 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looking at the very un-Apple-like details of the piece, I'm going with the idea that this thing is a test bed unit, and not indicative of the final design. I mean...the thing looks about as bad as any other Hong Kong knock-off.
I think you're right that we'll see something different in the final product. The style on the device reminds of Japanese hi-tech aesthetics with it rectangular shape, round separate volume buttons and the combination of a silver metallic band against a shiny black shell. But man, I love this design way more than the current iPhone design.
posted by tksh at 9:59 AM on April 19, 2010


I can't help but feel a little sleazy about it.

There's definitely an element of schadenfreude about this, for sure. Reminds me of when that rich kid lost his phone and used the Internet's griefers to get it back.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:00 AM on April 19, 2010


Where awkward means "you have 5 minutes to pack your personal belongings." Poor person that lost their job because they dropped their phone.

This is very likely if the phone was indeed lost at a bar. I would say that Mac bloggers will be keeping an ear to the ground of any high-level product engineers at Apple that lose their jobs in the next few weeks.
posted by splatta at 10:00 AM on April 19, 2010


It's got to be a leak. Perfect site for it too, because Gizmodo does nothing but heap praise on Apple now, don't they?
posted by graventy at 10:01 AM on April 19, 2010


The editors at Gizmodo can go to hell; I've thought as much ever since I read about their mean-spirited prank (not withstanding the clearly insufficient "apology" attached) at the 2008 CES.
posted by The Confessor at 10:01 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, but, still no Verizon then?
posted by rusty at 10:02 AM on April 19, 2010


Cool Papa Bell: "I don't see how anyone at Apple would let a prototype or a test unit out of the building."

It's happened before and the Chinese worker who was blamed commit suicide over the pressure he received from security officials:

"According to Chinese media, 25-year-old Sun Danyong was responsible for shipping iPhone prototypes to Apple. Danyong reported the missing device to Foxconn after realizing that one of the 16 iPhones he received was no longer in his possession."
posted by sharkfu at 10:03 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


iPadmodo hasn't updated since they dropped this story. Then again, with a million page views, I guess they don't really need to.

(And I guess there hasn't been anything new about the iPad since then.)
posted by dirigibleman at 10:03 AM on April 19, 2010


maybe it escaped on its own...

*shudders*
posted by sexyrobot at 10:04 AM on April 19, 2010 [10 favorites]


My son has a Droid. He raves about it. Just sayin'.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:04 AM on April 19, 2010


I would say that Mac bloggers will be keeping an ear to the ground of any high-level product engineers at Apple that lose their jobs in the next few weeks.

Could just be put on paid leave to keep their mouth shut until after the product release in a couple months.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:05 AM on April 19, 2010


My son has a Droid. He raves about it. Just sayin'.

When he loses his phone, please do let us know about that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:06 AM on April 19, 2010 [16 favorites]


Where awkward means "you have 5 minutes to pack your personal belongings." Poor person that lost their job because they dropped their phone.

Yes, losing a proto (or "losing" it in exchange for a large sum of money) is usually a big deal, it could mean millions of dollars of lost revenue if competitors have more time to develop their strategy around rival products in response to it. And depending on where you live, getting fired probably isn't even the worst case.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:06 AM on April 19, 2010


So, everyone read that Oh my in George Takei's voice, right?
posted by paladin at 10:07 AM on April 19, 2010 [64 favorites]


This is like that one time that one band put that flash drive in the men's room at the concert and it like had a bunch of links and stuff that were like fake facebook or myspace people or whatever and links to fake websites and stuff and then it turned out it was just some viral marketing for their next album.

Or like that one time there was that one movie about a monster named Clover or something and they like leaked all this fake crap in the weeks before the movie and then when like the movie came out it sucked unless you'd spent 100 hours or something looking up the backstory of the fake viral bunch of crap.

Yea, it's just like that.
posted by TomMelee at 10:09 AM on April 19, 2010


Gruber believes the unit was stolen and that Gizmodo may be guilty of a crime.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:10 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, everyone read that Oh my in George Takei's voice, right?

You are not alone.
posted by sparkletone at 10:10 AM on April 19, 2010


Gawker is going to say that it was, they should provide a damned good explanation of why they didn't return it. You don't just take apart other people's lost property, no matter how shiny it is.

Isn't this the media's job to some extent? I don't think corporate security should prevent them from reporting news when there is news to report. Maybe tech media is different though.
posted by Think_Long at 10:10 AM on April 19, 2010


Isn't this kind of thing liable for criminal charges? Seems like cut and dry receipt of stolen goods.
posted by empath at 10:11 AM on April 19, 2010


So, everyone read that Oh my in George Takei's voice, right?

Does anyone ever read "oh my" in any other voice?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:11 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Does anyone ever read "oh my" in any other voice?

Morgan Freeman, but only when the text is "My, my, my."
posted by jquinby at 10:13 AM on April 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Gruber believes the unit was stolen and that Gizmodo may be guilty of a crime.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:10 PM on April 19 [+] [!]


I just posted a question to ask.metafilter on the very topic.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:14 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


This seems design wise the direction that apple has been going lately to me, I like it. The iPad is a lot less rounded than the 3GS...

Anyway, yes, lately Apple seems a little more leaky, I can't remember the last time that there was a probable leak that didn't turn out to be real. And yes, it does suck for the person who lost it, and yes Gizmodo is and always has been reckless in their attempts at traffic.
posted by rhyax at 10:14 AM on April 19, 2010


Gruber believes the unit was stolen and that Gizmodo may be guilty of a crime.

Gruber believes whatever Apple tells him. If it wanted to plant an we-are-so-pissed story with the most credulous possible source it couldn't have chosen better. That's not to say it did, but come on.
posted by enn at 10:15 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Think_Long: "Isn't this the media's job to some extent? I don't think corporate security should prevent them from reporting news when there is news to report. Maybe tech media is different though."

This isn't news. It's someone's lost phone. That they took apart.
posted by graventy at 10:17 AM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


The style on the device reminds of Japanese hi-tech aesthetics with it rectangular shape, round separate volume buttons and the combination of a silver metallic band against a shiny black shell.

Yeah, this looks a bit like those super-blocky Japanese phones. I think it's pretty sexy, personally.

So, but, still no Verizon then?

I don't know how you can conclude that. This was a GSM model. There would have to be an additional CDMA model for Verizon, right?
posted by mr_roboto at 10:18 AM on April 19, 2010


If it's a leak why did Engadget post about it on a Saturday of all the times to leak a big story like that.
posted by furtive at 10:18 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So let's pretend for a moment that this wasn't a planned leak.

ahahahahahaha ok that's enough. Phew.
posted by mullingitover at 10:19 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, I thought it was ugly as hell and a huge step backwards until I saw the side by side photos with the 3GS, now it looks like a sleep brick that I'd love to have in my pocket. </fawn>
posted by furtive at 10:20 AM on April 19, 2010


It looks like a Zune.
posted by drezdn at 10:20 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


If it's a leak why did Engadget post about it on a Saturday of all the times to leak a big story like that.

Early adopters get up early on weekends, to stay in shape for future product releases.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:22 AM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ummm, shouldn't Apple just use their Find My iPhone service to get it back?
posted by DIYer at 10:22 AM on April 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Johnny come lately, there's a new kid in town.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:24 AM on April 19, 2010


Why must it be a planned leak? It's not like people aren't excited by Apple's new products. There's a huge hype machine going. People line up to buy the new iPhone or iPad on day one. Leaking a phone to get people excited about a phone they're already excited about seems pretty silly.
posted by 6550 at 10:24 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I continue to be amazed by how seriously people take this. I can't work up a ounce of give-a-shit for the features of a telephone that isn't yet on the market. And yes, I own three* Apple computers.

* 6 if you count the dead ones
posted by Ella Fynoe at 10:25 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So basically, it's sleeker, heavier, has a bigger battery and a forward facing camera. *yawn*

Call me when they come out with a hoverboard.
posted by zarq at 10:25 AM on April 19, 2010


furtive: "If it's a leak why did Engadget post about it on a Saturday of all the times to leak a big story like that."

Thing is, Apple is so secretive with their gear that engineers don't tell their own spouses what they're working on. This being the case, why would Apple ever let their golden goose off-campus, and at a freaking bar no less? If this were really a stolen device, why weren't the cops breaking down the door? It has a radio and a gps, after all, it's not like there's anything stopping Apple from getting it back.
posted by mullingitover at 10:26 AM on April 19, 2010


Gruber believes whatever Apple tells him. If it wanted to plant an we-are-so-pissed story with the most credulous possible source it couldn't have chosen better. That's not to say it did, but come on.

If what he posted is accurate though Gizmo seems to have intentionally misquoted him, which is a red flag of sorts.
posted by edgeways at 10:28 AM on April 19, 2010


This being the case, why would Apple ever let their golden goose off-campus, and at a freaking bar no less?

I thought they often tested prototypes out in the field. Other than falsifying what goes to a client detection script, every now and again someone will report seeing a newer version of Mobile Safari in their logs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 AM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


This being the case, why would Apple ever let their golden goose off-campus, and at a freaking bar no less?

I thought they often tested prototypes out in the field. Other than falsifying what goes to a client detection script, every now and again someone will report seeing a newer version of Mobile Safari in their logs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:30 PM on April 19

How freaky that must be. It's like catching the fingerprints of a time travelled.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:32 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Scenario I'm imagining if it really were "left at a bar"

You sit down, and see an iphone at your table. The people sitting there previously are no where to be found, and because you're a very tech aware person, you notice something slightly different about this phone despite its "disguise" case. You poop your pants, it's a 4G iPhone and your eyes turn into dollar signs. You ignore all calls from someone about to loose their job, then ring gizmodo, who knowingly and willingly purchases stolen property to profit from. There is nothing keeping Apple from calling the cops and getting Gizmodo bloggers to hand it over.

On the other hand, Jobs has taken new products out for a stroll before. The fact that it "found its way" to Gizmodo vs. Endgadget (AOL owned) vs. Boy Genius (Apple critical) is interesting. Which blog would have deeper pockets to purchase this, in a hypothetical bidding war?
posted by fontophilic at 10:33 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a design obsessive I admire the way that this design feels less vain and more functional.

When the first iPhone came out, it was sleek and tapered and looked like the future. Compare original iPhone to RAZR. It looks like it came from out of this world. It was such a radical departure for a phone not to have anything but a screen.

Now, however, the iPhone is old hat. Everybody has a phone with a big screen. All the designers are making their phones look weird and futuristic. And Apple's even undercut Apple, because the iPad and its tapers are way prettier than the iPhone, and bigger, and more futuristic.

So with this new design, Apple's going for a more industrial look. This new iPhone looks solid. That uncurved black back feels very clear when it's next to the tapered plastic of the 3GS. The buttons all feel more button-y. Very different from the iPad.

I like following Apple design and seeing how it moves in waves. The first iPhone beget the iMac with its black bezel, which then appeared on the iPad, and the iPad's more solid design has led to this phone, which looks more solid still.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:33 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


This being the case, why would Apple ever let their golden goose off-campus, and at a freaking bar no less?

Here's just one good reason that employees would need to take new prototype phones off campus: testing reception in the real world. Yeah, you can design and model and test and have it working perfectly on Apple's campus. But that still doesn't tell you how it will perform out where people are using it.
posted by 6550 at 10:33 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Totally unethical. Zero respect.
posted by polymodus at 10:34 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ummm, shouldn't Apple just use their Find My iPhone service to get it back?

Ah yes. With the remote wipe function to permanently erase your personal data you're virtually guaranteed to find your iPhone down the back of your sofa or in a jacket pocket precisely 30 seconds later.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:37 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've lost things in bars before. You know what almost always* happens? I wake up the next morning, call the bar, get the custodian guy on the phone, he finds my thing (or not), and I go down at opening time to pick it up.

Pretty sure that if I lost the Most Important Item I Owned in a drunken stupor, I'd be calling everywhere I went the night before, the minute my synapses allowed. If no one picked up, I'd drive there and wait until someone did. And unless I was Batman (not that I'm not), I wouldn't be too worried about anyone knowing my secret identity, so saying "I lost a funny-looking iPhone in your bar and if I don't get it back I'm screwed" would not be a problem; nor would "I lost my iPhone in your bar and if you found it and don't give it back to me I'm calling the cops, especially if you sell it to some geeks with a tech website and I lose my job because of it."

Which is all a way of saying that this story smells like a load of not-very-delicious baloney. Unless the person who lost the iPhone was whacked by Steve Jobs before he/she had a chance to call the bar, in which case it's awesome.

(*Except that time in college when a now-über-famous movie director stole my jean jacket.)
posted by turducken at 10:39 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


So when Engadget says "It was lost and found. We got it." does that mean they paid for it?

Have they admitted anywhere that they paid for what might be stolen merchandise?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:39 AM on April 19, 2010


So when Engadget says "It was lost and found. We got it." does that mean they paid for it?

This. I find it sickening, even more so when they are otherwise educated and smart and passionate enough to be involved in high-tech.
posted by polymodus at 10:42 AM on April 19, 2010


I came up with a topical joke about this news event:

So an iPhone walks into a bar. The bartender goes, "What can I get you?" and the iPhone says, "How 'bout a beer?" and the bartender says, "Sorry, we're out of beer." And the iPhone goes, "Well then... do you have any liquor?" and the bartender says, "Sorry, buddy, just ran out!" and the iPhone goes, "Okay. Well, what about wine?" and the bartender goes, "No, I'm afraid we don't have any wine." And the iPhone is all exasperated, and finally says, "Well, jeez! What DO you guys serve?" And the bartender says, "We sell fish!" and the iPhone goes, "But this is a bar! That doesn't make any sense!" And the bartender goes, "Take it or leave it, buddy! Do you want to buy a fish?" And the iPhone is so frustrated that he just starts SCREAMING

And then he walks into the corner and screams, for like, two hours straight

Just SCREAMING and SCREAMING

and finally he was so tired

then later someone from gizmodo found the iPhone and wrote an article
posted by Greg Nog at 10:42 AM on April 19, 2010 [66 favorites]


I came up with a topical joke about this news event

How do you plan to fit all of that into a New Yorker cartoon?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:44 AM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


A friend of mine worked for a supplier to Apple and assisted them with the development one of the iPod models. He said they were able to take technical samples out of "building five" but that the secrecy was mind-numbing and the item would look nothing like the final model that was shipped.

Having said all that, this iPhone looks pretty reasonable, and if the dimensions are accurate, it wouldn't surprise me if this was either a final industrial design, especially given that we're getting very close to when Apple would be announcing the next hardware revision of the iPhone (i.e. around WWDC).
posted by lowlife at 10:44 AM on April 19, 2010


I'm surprised it did have remote self-detonation.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:45 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


*not
posted by R. Mutt at 10:45 AM on April 19, 2010


If the noise-cancelling microphones are new (I don't know, don't have an iPhone) then it makes sense you have to take it out and test it 'in the real world': noisy bar, ballgame, etc.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:45 AM on April 19, 2010


Not sure why many are focused on the "lost in a bar story". If I was a thief, pickpocket, burglar, shady shipping company employee, or disenfranchised Apple employee, I'd use the "I found it in a bar" story to avoid, you know, admitting I broke the the law and enable myself to sell it to a media outlet.
posted by sharkfu at 10:46 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


People want to believe it was intentional because they like the idea that everything apple does it intentional, and well planned. While that is often true, they are humans, and shit happens.

mrgrimm, Engadget had the story first that it existed etc, but Gizmodo is the one that has the hardware now, and may have paid for it.
posted by rhyax at 10:46 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Finally we have a good reason to put Gizmodo on the terrorist watchlist.
posted by mullacc at 10:49 AM on April 19, 2010


I think the deal is that carrying around prototype phones has always been a standard procedure at a certain point in a phone's development cycle. telco execs always have some handset in test mode. Eventually you have to dogfood the device and ensure it works correctly when handing off between towers, etc. Handsets go through anywhere from a few days to months of this kind of shakedown testing.

What's changed is that people now know more than ever what devices look like and what they don't look like. The odds of a random person finding a lost phone and being able to tell whether it's a piece of junk or a next-gen prototype used to be basically zero. Nowadays it's trivial to go into a bar and find someone who can tell you the cosmetic differences between every successive generation of iPods & iPhones.

Much as celebrities can't take a poop these days without being photographed by a paparazzi with a 1200mm lens, the world of gadgets has become very driven by leaks and scoops to the extent that even crazy paranoid companies like Apple can't plug every possible leak.
posted by GuyZero at 10:49 AM on April 19, 2010


Has anyone seen Warren Ellis around Cupertino lately?
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:49 AM on April 19, 2010


Two or three weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were on a road trip back up Route 66 from Arizona to Chicago. It was awesome, and we were making horrible time because we were stopping everywhere and taking pictures and documenting it on my (finally newly upgraded from the original just prior to the trip) iPhone.

Then the trip took a tragic turn when we stopped in the Route 66 Casino outside Albuquerque to spend $5 on the penny slots. We were having a blast, having made $10 or so and as I was trying to convince him we should play a "real game" - blackjack with real-live people interaction -- I realized that I no longer had my phone. We initially thought absent minded me had lost it, and later came to decide that someone had snatched it from me when we were gambling, and even walking around the casino in a t-shirt where I'd scrawled "Lost phone with vacation photos - please return" on the front and back didn't work, so we hit the road a few hours later than planned, iPhone-less.

It sort of put a damper on the whole trip, and even though we were able to shake it off and enjoy the next few days, it still was a major bummer.


What I'm saying is, I sympathize.

I bet, if this is not a crafty intentional leak, I know what the guy feels like who did this -- if you multiply my feeling of gadget loss and anger by about 10,000 or so, it's probably how this person felt when he had to report this.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:51 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I have never seen Apple release a product that is less sleek and more bulky than the one it replaces.

I don't get this. This thing is thinner, so...?


The iPhone 3GS is two pieces. This alleged iPhone 4G has side pieces, a top piece, a bottom piece. It just looks less sleek and busier. Everything Apple makes gets thinner and simpler in its design from generation to generation. This one seems to be a visual back step. That's what I mean.
posted by eperker at 10:53 AM on April 19, 2010


There's no way in that's a final production model. Those buttons look so clumsy, very unApple like.

There's no way this was intentional, too low class for Apple. Hell, they reporters they feed info to at NYT and WSJ, you really think they're going to leave an ugly production model in a friggin' bar?! The mere inelegance of that has Job rolling his eyes as he tears off another piece of his on going Flash feast.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:54 AM on April 19, 2010


I've read of Jobs taking a prototype of the first iphone to soccer practice (there are pics somewhere, too lazy to look up) so I'm guessing someone would have to be high up on the food chain to not only get their mitts on one, but leave the compound with one. My money is on Ives.

I've also read that many of the lower level employees would be given dev units of the iphone that looked nothing like the final product (save for the hardware) in order to keep the final design secret.
posted by hellojed at 10:54 AM on April 19, 2010


I'm not having difficulty believing the design of this... it looks more like the iPad. Makes sense.

In any case, I like the design. It'd be nice to have the phone be less slippery and have some edges to hang on to. (I hate using a case on my iPhone)
posted by Fleebnork at 10:56 AM on April 19, 2010


I hate seeing Steve Jobs's paranoia justified like this, but hey, there you go.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:57 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


"How do you plan to fit all of that into a New Yorker cartoon?"

So an iPhone walks into a bar. The bartender goes, "Christ, what an asshole."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:58 AM on April 19, 2010 [21 favorites]


The one thing that REALLY trips me out, and that no one in this thread has mentioned thus far, is this little tidbit :
According to the person who found it, this iPhone was running iPhone OS 4.0 before the iPhone 4.0 announcement. The person was able to play with it and see the iPhone 4.0 features. Then, Apple remotely killed the phone before we got access to it.
iPhone OS 4 was announced on April 8th. If this sucker was running OS 4 when this person "found" it, that means they've had it for about a month. Furthermore, Apple remotely disabling the phone has some pretty huge implications. Why would they simply disable the functionality of the phone but not track down its location? Clearly if they were able to send out a kill-switch to an unauthorized OS 4 phone prior to its announcement, they could just as easily figure out where the phone was at. Hell, I can do that with my phone (via MobileMe) and I don't have any multi-billion-dollar company's airtight product announcements to protect.

It leaves more questions than answers, but I'm surprised that what could be the crux of this mystery is passed over in a simple paragraph that everyone (including Der Gruber) seems to have ignored.
posted by revmitcz at 10:58 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Interestingly, comments seem to have been disabled on that Gizmodo post in the last hour or so. And there were plenty.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 10:58 AM on April 19, 2010


So long as I keep finding ways to make my 2G better I'll stick with it for now. Just within the past week or so I've discovered:

--a bookmarklet that adds search with a webpage functionality
--Winterboard, which let me get rid of the slide-to-unlock crapola
--that Opera came out on the iphone, and is better in some ways than Safari
--the Downloads app, which makes the phone significantly more like a real computer

I figure I'll do with this version what I did with the 2G: wait till it's a year old, and it's been fully hacked/jailbroken/unlocked/made useful, and buy a no-contract refurb from AT&T. Let the uber-fans sign those 2-year contracts.
posted by aerotive at 10:58 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


So an iPhone walks into a bar. The bartender goes, "Christ, what an asshole."

To be fair, he says that to everyone who walks into a New Yorker cartoon bar.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:02 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


.... I don't understand why none of the media outlets are talking about the possibility that this might in fact be an iPhone from a PARALLEL TIMELINE.
posted by webmutant at 11:02 AM on April 19, 2010 [19 favorites]


No fucking way Apple did this on purpose. The release of every Apple product is already like a holiday across the entire media. Someone is going to get thrown into an active volcano over this.
posted by Damn That Television at 11:03 AM on April 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


iPhone OS 4 was announced on April 8th. If this sucker was running OS 4 when this person "found" it, that means they've had it for about a month.

More like 10 days. It's only April 19th, right?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:04 AM on April 19, 2010


This is Just to Say
---------------------

I have taken
the Apple
that was left
at the bar

and which
you were probably
saving
for future release

Forgive me
it was irresistible
so shiny
and so cold
posted by mazola at 11:07 AM on April 19, 2010 [92 favorites]


"How do you plan to fit all of that into a New Yorker cartoon?"

Here you go.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:09 AM on April 19, 2010 [108 favorites]


Also, for those wondering why Apple hasn't just used GPSA to locate it - the device is in recovery mode. They bricked it. It's can't phone home because it's locked and had its brain turned off.
posted by GuyZero at 11:09 AM on April 19, 2010


It seems very possible to me that this wasn't an intentional leak, but also that the phone was not found in a bar. More likely, it was literally stolen by someone, probably an insider, and subsequently sold to gizmodo. The bar story just makes it sound less illegal.
posted by Edgewise at 11:10 AM on April 19, 2010


More like 10 days. It's only April 19th, right?

Yeah - 11 days since the announcement. But, I'm adding at least a week or so onto that since it would make little sense to remotely disable an OS you're announcing in a matter of days.
posted by revmitcz at 11:12 AM on April 19, 2010


"My friend and I were trying to come with (unlikely) reasons why this would be an intentional leak on Apple's part."

Uh. Maybe because it generates a ton of free publicity and stokes the hype over a soon-to-be-released product?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:14 AM on April 19, 2010


But, I'm adding at least a week or so onto that since it would make little sense to remotely disable an OS you're announcing in a matter of days.

Heh. Screw the OS leak, it probably had some employee's corporate email on it which is probably much, much more sensitive. Standard company policy (generically, I dunno about Apple specifically) is that the second you think your phone is lost you tell the admins and they brick it. If you find it, bring it back to them and they un-brick it.
posted by GuyZero at 11:15 AM on April 19, 2010


How is that not left? Just because someone left it in a bar, finding it doesn't make it yours.
posted by Laen at 11:16 AM on April 19, 2010


As long as no one kills themselves over this, I don't really care how it happened.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:18 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


this might in fact be an iPhone from a PARALLEL TIMELINE

A timeline where Applecom cannot use GPS to retrieve the phone, but must send Jean-Claude Van Damme through the transdimensional reality distortional field that Steve Jobs keeps in his office. On his mission to retrieve the secret device, our hero meets his future wife in our reality, who dies ten years later in a mysterious web search "accident" planned by his timeline's nefarious Dr. Googles.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's not really an OS leak if the beta's already out there, right? People have been using OS 4 on iPhones in the wild since the developer announcement.

Now, if it was a new version of OS 4, that might be different, but I somehow doubt they've pushed a new version yet.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:19 AM on April 19, 2010


I don't see what the big deal is. Pretty much every iPhone has looked slightly more sleek and slightly thinner than the last. It's not like it's doing something new and awesome.

Now, where's my 'I don't get it' t-shirt?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:22 AM on April 19, 2010


Craigslist Lost and Found from last night.
posted by tula at 11:25 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


rusty: “So, but, still no Verizon then?”

Nope, looks like they're still stubbornly refusing to support the dying network standard of CDMA. How silly of them.
posted by koeselitz at 11:25 AM on April 19, 2010



Also, for those wondering why Apple hasn't just used GPSA to locate it - the device is in recovery mode. They bricked it. It's can't phone home because it's locked and had its brain turned off.


Um..what? They bricked it. What's to stop them from figuring out where it is before bricking it?
posted by juv3nal at 11:28 AM on April 19, 2010


Yeah what the hell is wrong with Verizon?
posted by Mister_A at 11:29 AM on April 19, 2010


While we couldn't get it past the connect to iTunes screen for the reasons listed earlier, the USB cable on that screen was so high quality that it was impossible to discern individual pixels.

This is ridiculously lazy - they don't own a fucking ruler and a magnifying glass?
posted by odinsdream at 11:30 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have an HTC Desire (which is the Incredible but with a 5 MP camera and less built-in storage) and it's a fantastic device, one that really does give Apple some serious competition. So I'm not surprised they would "lose" a bricked phone at a "bar".
posted by cmonkey at 11:30 AM on April 19, 2010


Even "top secret" phones like this are tested in the wild, as others have said. A friend of mine works on the Microsoft Kin and was using his for the last three months, with varying methods of hiding it from people. Steve Wozniak brought the iPhone 3G, several months before its announcement, to an event I was running in Boston. He refused to show it to me and a mutual friend, but didn't deny that it was a prototype he was testing. It's perfectly reasonable, even for Apple, to do this -- and at first glance in its 3GS case, that "4G" phone looks exactly like all the other iPhones I see out and about. I wouldn't have given it a second thought. So I think it's 100% possible that some poor engineer just screwed up bigtime.
posted by olinerd at 11:31 AM on April 19, 2010


Here you go.

Genius.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 AM on April 19, 2010


So the idiots at Engadget have a new iPhone, which they take apart, for photos, and don't even tell us if the processor is an Apple A4 or not?

Everybody should stop calling them "tech news" and instead call them "photographers of electronics" because they're doing it wrong.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:35 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um..what? They bricked it. What's to stop them from figuring out where it is before bricking it?

Because what are they going to do with the location? It may get moved obviously. It's not like they send ninjas to retrieve it. And all that they care about is that the important data doesn't get leaked. I mean, that's all they care about under normal circumstances. If this was a 3GS they'd just write it off as a loss and get a new one.
posted by GuyZero at 11:36 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I RTFA & all of the posts here to see if they fixed the major flaw I found with the iPhone. Nope, still 100% AT&T & 100% on my no-buy list. Wake me up if they fix that glitch.

On preview,koeselitz, I am a Verizon customer and no huge fan of CDMA, so it doesn't have to be Verizon friendly for me. However, it has to be anyone-but-AT&T.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:37 AM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another thing, while we're speculating -- GuyZero points out the corporate email stuff. I think it is safe to assume that anyone who had this out in the wild was probably pretty goddamn high up the corporate ladder, which means that it likely had sensitive documents. What it MIGHT have had are various drafts of government filings saved on it, which would make whoever stole/found it in very fucking hot water, and same with Gizmodo.
posted by Damn That Television at 11:38 AM on April 19, 2010


I found a whole pile of cash in my local 7-11's cash register. I'm totally depositing it!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:39 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not like they send ninjas to retrieve it.

How cool would that be, though?

The new iNinja™ (忍者) Corporate Edition.

Comes with his own set of caltrops, happo, vial of poison, shikomizue and blowgun.
posted by zarq at 11:40 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So the idiots at Engadget have a new iPhone

Gizmodo, you mean.
posted by nitsuj at 11:41 AM on April 19, 2010


Nope, looks like they're still stubbornly refusing to support the dying network standard of CDMA. How silly of them.

The iPhone 3GS is available for both Telus & Bell in Canada. And their network standard is... CDMA. Although, yeah, technically the Canadian iPhone is HSPA+. Eventually Verizon will be on LTE although we'll probably see a EVDO iPhone eventually.
posted by GuyZero at 11:42 AM on April 19, 2010


Um..what? They bricked it. What's to stop them from figuring out where it is before bricking it?

Who's to say they didn't, but that it did the person wasn't home when they were trying it out? If they get a location, think it's devices location and the decide to brick it and the device has moved, well they're out of luck aren't they? I'd wager bricking it was decided to be the most important part, rather than leaving it on for a while and getting a fixed location.

And really, if anyone was going leave behind a prototype, the bar sounds like the obvious place in that they have a few too many or get distracted by sexy looks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:43 AM on April 19, 2010


juv3nal: "Um..what? They bricked it. What's to stop them from figuring out where it is before bricking it?"

You might be amazed how often large corporate IT skips rather important steps when the sequence of execution really matters. That goes even moreso when it's a high-priority situation and umpty levels of management are all involved. Telephone-game miscommunications pile on top of middle management misapprehensions pile on top of simple human errors. Ninety percent of anyone who works IT has said, at least one time or another, "Oh, what did I just do? I'm an idiot!" (The other ten percent are liars.)
posted by Drastic at 11:43 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why the fuck was this announcement cross-posted Deadspin? The "Ben Roethlisberger has a gray penis" story wasn't cross-posted to Gizmodo.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:44 AM on April 19, 2010


Gizmodo, you mean.
Whatever, they're the same thing.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:45 AM on April 19, 2010


It looks wrong, Apple doesn't design that way. The story is just silly (Fund in a bar, it just stopped working, no videos? And now it's disappeared?). It's a hoax.
posted by PenguinBukkake at 11:47 AM on April 19, 2010


Nope, still 100% AT&T & 100% on my no-buy list. Wake me up if they fix that glitch.

They've sold 6.5 million iphones in the US, so enjoy your nap!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:47 AM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I meant no videos of its OS.
posted by PenguinBukkake at 11:49 AM on April 19, 2010


Meh. For all of its features, I'll bet you anything it still can't tell me how magnets work.
posted by jbickers at 11:51 AM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, let me re-iterate how silly it is to state that CDMA is "dying". perhaps you saw that Netcraft confirms it or something. As a generic signaling technique, CDMA is basically at the core of every future wireless protocol under development. Now, if you're saying IS-95 is dying, yes, but by that logic so is GSM. NA carriers are moving to HSPA/HSPA+ and/or LTE. In the meantime they continue with their existing 2G & 3G implementations. Sprint's 4G is, oddly enough, neither LTE nor HSPA+ but WiMax. Which isn't that odd perhaps considering that Sprint continues to sell iDEN handsets. Now, an iDEN iPhone with push-to-talk... heh. That's funny.
posted by GuyZero at 11:52 AM on April 19, 2010


I meant no videos of its OS.

IT'S BRICKED. It doesn't get past the "I got bricked" screen. They queried it via USB but that's about all it responds to.
posted by GuyZero at 11:53 AM on April 19, 2010


I meant no videos of its OS.

They can't get to the OS.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:53 AM on April 19, 2010


But, I'm adding at least a week or so onto that since it would make little sense to remotely disable an OS you're announcing in a matter of days.

If the phone was stolen and the finder did play with it in OS4 as reported, Apple could have sent the remote wipe code, or I'd expect the phone to have a mandatory security lock. (my company had required iPhones to have the security lock enabled but the user could extend the time from every time you opened it, to up to an hour). If the person let the phone go past whatever time limit that was set for asking for the code, the person could have had to guess passwords. There's a setting to wipe the phone if the wrong number was put in too many times.
posted by birdherder at 11:55 AM on April 19, 2010


zarq: "The new iNinja™ (忍者) Corporate Edition.

Comes with his own set of caltrops, happo, vial of poison, shikomizue and blowgun.
"

The only problem is they only dress in white or black-and-silver, so you can see 'em coming from a mile away.
posted by barnacles at 11:58 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I first saw it, I thought it was far too ugly to possibly be real. Now it appears I was incorrect: it is in fact real and therefore SO PRETTY OMG WANT!!!!1!
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 11:59 AM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, I wonder if any major online tech bloggers will be conspicuously missing from the June keynote presentation?
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 12:01 PM on April 19, 2010


great. now steve has to pull something else out of his pocket. and you know what? i don't want to see that.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:01 PM on April 19, 2010


Now, an iDEN iPhone with push-to-talk...

It would be at least four times as thick, have a big aerial sprouting out of the back and come in either puke green or international safety orange.

But they would sell a bunch. Telus does a tidy business selling iDEN blackberries.
posted by bonehead at 12:01 PM on April 19, 2010


From the story it sounds like the finder was able to explore the phone's os prior to it being bricked up. A smart person would have shut it down immediately and only booted it up in known areas/rooms with no cell phone coverage. Then again, given the location, the finder was probably not entirely sober. On the other hand... Leaking a bricked phone would be a good way to test acceptance of a new design without giving away OS features.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:03 PM on April 19, 2010


"test acceptance of the new design"?

??

This is Apple we're talking about, right?
posted by GuyZero at 12:04 PM on April 19, 2010


Gizmodo, you mean.
Whatever, they're the same thing.


no.
engadget=no sense of humor.
gizmodo=no sense of decency. also, LEGOs.

(i read the gizmodo, yes)
posted by sexyrobot at 12:05 PM on April 19, 2010


re: all the talk about Find My iPhone and GPRS tracking, only dumb people would steal a phone and leave it on, plus our enterprising thief was probably too paranoid to plug it in to recharge it, at least to a computer. if it was me, i would first exclaim 'holy shit look what i found' and then power it down, in that order.
posted by Mach5 at 12:06 PM on April 19, 2010


Comments back at Gizmodo; guess it was a server issue. Still, I feel like their lawyers must be earning their retainer today.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 12:12 PM on April 19, 2010


This story was crossposted to freaking jalopnik. Looks like I need to leave the internet to escape this story.

Also: iPhone prototypes are a terrible subject for smalltalk. I have already made someone yawn over this.
posted by hellojed at 12:16 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


mazola, i wish i could favourite your comment harder!
posted by ukdanae at 12:20 PM on April 19, 2010


California Penal Code 485:
One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:31 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


IT'S BRICKED. It doesn't get past the "I got bricked" screen.

Legal wouldn't let them hit the "remote detonate" button.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:38 PM on April 19, 2010


I find it odd that Gizmodo don't seem even to have tried to get the thing working--if it was running OS 4 when it was found/stolen, isn't it at least possible that it'd run the beta every app developer (and, you'd hope, every tech blogger) has? If it didn't work first time, I bet the DevTeam or other jailbreaking types would be happy to lend a hand. And what about the MicroSIM that was in it? There could be some juicy data on that, but they don't mention attempting to read it.

Either they're holding a lot back for a second burst of pageviews, or they're inept.

Gruber believes whatever Apple tells him.

I'm not sure that's true, but every time he coyly mentions his 'sources' at Apple, I assume he's talking about people in the PR dept. rather than, say, engineers.
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 12:46 PM on April 19, 2010


I'm sure Gizmodo is holding back and is going to trickle details out over the coming week(s). That said, I'm also surprised they haven't enlisted a hardware hacker to try to get the device running again. They probably haven't had it in hand long enough.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:48 PM on April 19, 2010


without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner

Well they published the find. I am sure Apple has heard about it by now.
posted by lampshade at 12:49 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm voting for unintentional, simply because the information verified in the article isn't compelling enough. A higher-resolution display? Some buttons have changed? Micro SIM? Bigger battery? Running an OS upgrade that's already announced?

That seems like pretty slim pickings to raise the interest of all but the most hardcore Apple fanbois. That's not to say that the new phone won't be a fantastic upgrade from the 3GS—I couldn't say one way or another—there just aren't enough of the new features exposed in the article to make this seem 'leak'-worthy.

Honestly, besides the goofy premise for acquiring the phone, I don't see why this article is generating as much attention as it is. It's really just not that interesting.
posted by Brak at 12:51 PM on April 19, 2010


Maybe their lawyers told them that posting anything from the MicroSIM was the worst idea that they'd ever had and they'd need new legal representation if they did it.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:51 PM on April 19, 2010


I find it odd that Gizmodo don't seem even to have tried to get the thing working

Aren't they in danger of running into some DMCA legislation if they start posting about how they hacked the phone to get it up and running? If they're not already on legally shaky ground with having the IP in the first place, you can bet they will be if they start hacking at it to make it work.
posted by Brak at 12:54 PM on April 19, 2010


The iPhone 3GS is available for both Telus & Bell in Canada. And their network standard is... CDMA. Although, yeah, technically the Canadian iPhone is HSPA+. Eventually Verizon will be on LTE although we'll probably see a EVDO iPhone eventually.

Telus and Bell launched a GSM network that the iPhone runs on. It isn't CDMA.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:02 PM on April 19, 2010


I highly recommend Sarah Vaughn's "Oh My" for the definitive style guide!!
posted by supermedusa at 1:07 PM on April 19, 2010


The back is entirely flat, made of either glass (more likely) or ceramic or shiny plastic in order for the cell signal to poke through.

Or might it have something to do with this?
posted by mazola at 1:07 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do people even read?

Telus and Bell launched a GSM network that the iPhone runs on. It isn't CDMA.

Telus, Bell AND rogers all launched HSPA+ networks. They aren't GSM.
posted by GuyZero at 1:12 PM on April 19, 2010


OK, OK, before someone flames me - HSPA+ is part of the 3GPP standard which is part of GSM but it's not GSM in the 1992-TDMA sense of GSM. LTE is also part of 3GPP so in that sense Verizon is also a GSM network.

At any rate, as long as there are customers to be had the iPhone is as likely to come to Verizon as it is to any other network. Android's addition of Verizon in 2.0 didn't seem to require any super-crazy OS changes. Changing the chipset on the phone is also a fairly minor detail.

To say that CDMA is somehow "dying" is ridiculous considering that it's the core of all the 3GPP standards.
posted by GuyZero at 1:26 PM on April 19, 2010


Interestingly, comments seem to have been disabled on that Gizmodo post in the last hour or so. And there were plenty.

Comments have been borked on all the Gawker media sites due to server traffic from the Gizmodo post.
posted by availablelight at 1:28 PM on April 19, 2010


ardgedee mentioned something on Twitter I think is pretty relevant -- any blog who crows about coming into posession of a prototype Apple device and not treating it like the stolen property it is can probably count on zero fingers the number of times Apple will invite them to future events and send them free review gear... and on several fingers the number of six figure cheques they'll be writing their lawyers.

The right thing to do would have been to say "HOLY SHIT WE GOT A PROTOTYPE IPHONE AND .. WE ARE GIVING IT BACK .. SRY NO PIX."

A media circus lasts three days ... fucking over your neighbour lasts forever.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:29 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the narrative of this story is true, then the people at Gizmondo are guilty of buying stolen property, and had to have known that when they bought it. And also secret prototype iPhones are brought to random bars.

The idea that the narrative of this story is true is ridiculous. Is your understanding of Steve Jobs really so deficient that you think him ethically incapable of leaking it intentionally, to manipulate public opinion?
posted by kafziel at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2010


seanmpuckett: "A media circus lasts three days ... fucking over your neighbour lasts forever."

Dollars to donuts this is quid pro quo from Apple for their endless fawning iPad posts leading up to its launch.
posted by mullingitover at 1:33 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


then the people at Gizmondo are guilty of buying stolen property

This is the same blog whose writers used TV-B-GONE devices to turn off TVs during a demo at a trade show. They were banned from CES as a result.

And also secret prototype iPhones are brought to random bars.

Yes. Yes they are. This is Silicon Valley. People absolutely do have engineering test units and use them as their daily phones for testing purposes.
posted by GuyZero at 1:35 PM on April 19, 2010


I'm surprised none of the Apple fanboys have noted just how beautiful and simple this lost-and-found story is.
posted by tapeguy at 1:36 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is your understanding of Steve Jobs really so deficient that you think him ethically incapable of leaking it intentionally, to manipulate public opinion?

In between snacking on babies and drinking their blood, I don't think Jobs has time in his busy schedule to leak iPhones. And he has a pretty strong track record of maintaining secrecy, so there's that, too.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:42 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Gruber believes whatever Apple tells him. If it wanted to plant an we-are-so-pissed story with the most credulous possible source

Gruber's trusted by industry sources in no small part because he handles his sources and information well, and because he's willing to be critical of Apple (and praising of Apple's competitors) when he sees fit. A couple good examples are how roundly he's disliked how Apple has handled iPhone developers, dating back to when Apple had initially announced that iPhone apps would be web-based, and his continued coverage of the Android phones.

I've corresponded with him a couple times in the past to follow up on posts he's made, and he has always been courteous in his responses and always honors requests for discretion. People who, unlike me, work for Apple, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, et al are probably getting better treatment than I get.

He hasn't depended on currying favor with Apple for the sake of his revenue or access to channels (he certainly hasn't got the access that Mossburg, Pogue, or even Stephen Fry have), and as a consequence he's not only one of the more respected industry critics, he's the only independent journo addressed by and cited by Apple executives without his solicitation.

The dude's got his biases but if you want to read about the Apple/Google/Microsoft triumverate ecosystem, he should be on your reading list, and there should be others on your reading list as well.
posted by ardgedee at 1:43 PM on April 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


I hope someone cut William Gibson a royalty check or something.
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


In between snacking on babies and drinking their blood, I don't think Jobs has time in his busy schedule to leak iPhones.

I think he only takes their livers.
posted by GuyZero at 1:48 PM on April 19, 2010


I hope someone cut William Gibson a royalty check or something.

Indeed!
posted by threetoed at 1:48 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pancreases, you mean. Or pancreii, which my spell checker wants to change to "paunchier".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:49 PM on April 19, 2010


You know, I have a 3-year old MacBook Pro, my wife has a new MacBook, I have a first-gen Mini running as a home server, I have a 5G iPod and a second-gen shuffle, my wife has a second-gen Nano, and we each have an iPhone 3GS.

I like the Apple design aesthetic. I really do. I buy into it, I use the products, I like the products. But whenever I see someone say "Oh my god that is so UN-MAC-LIKE" I find myself wanting to beat them over the head with something heavy and blunt. Products, software, all of it. People get all bent out of shape because a third-party product isn't 100% identical to something Apple did, and now we're getting all pissed off because Apple had the gall to (apparently) change the design of an existing product for a new release?

You know who decides what is and what is not "Mac-like"? Here's a hint: Not you.

"Mac-like" as defined by Apple changes with every product revision. It's essentially entirely up to the whims of Steve Jobs and his design team. Everyone else plays catch-up. When the competition gets close, Steve redefines "Mac-like" and if this phone is as real as it appears it looks as if he is doing it again. Just like he did with successive generations of desktops, laptops, and iPods. Apple has a good track record with their design. Even going all the way back to the very first Mac, they have never built computers that looked like everyone else's system. There has been constant improvement and changes and updates and et cetera. But what that has done is left us with this legacy of focus on "Mac-like".

Steve Jobs has defined "Mac-like" on the portable devices to mean user-friendly if you can accept loss of user control. "Mac-like" means Apple is the gatekeeper, and everyone else must wait in line for approval. "Mac-like" means hide all the inputs to the device, because god forbid the power button or USB ports on your iMac actually be where you can see them. "Mac-like" means you can't actually use your sleek new machine for half of the things it was meant for unless you also bring along 17 different adapters (oh, you have the DVI adapter? Sorry, our projector only has RGB inputs... gosh guess you can't give that slide show for your job talk after all! Unless you want to use my computer instead! Oh you wrote it in Keynote? Sorry, I'm on Windows!).

We don't debate how well the product works. We don't compare Firefox to Safari and ask which is the better browser on technical merits, extensibility, usability, etc. - no, we say "Oh but it isn't 'Mac-like'! Look it has like 2 extra pixels right here and that is just WRONG." We don't get all excited about new features, we ask whether it's "Mac-like". It can have major shortcomings (like being impossible to read in direct sunlight, or failing to multitask, or not having a flash and thus being essentially unusable as a camera, or having the controls built into the headphones, which is great unless you're one of the millions of people who can't wear Apple headphones because they won't stay in your frickin' ears) but OH GOD IT'S MAC-LIKE AND THEREFORE UNWORTHY OF CRITICISM.

What's my point here? Two things, really. First, "Mac-like" is NOT the be-all and end-all of good design. It's a fairly high standard, historically, but function is MORE IMPORTANT than looks when it comes down to it: "Mac-like" looks shiny and pretty, but to be honest enforcing the use of add-ons, hiding the inputs, concealing the power button, etc. is NOT a user-friendly way to go about business. Being the gatekeeper means the experience has some quality control, but there are downsides to that, and if you can't recognize the downsides you are NOT being critical enough - and never forget that being critical is a historic hallmark of Apple users. The company didn't become big by playing to the lowest common denominator, they played to the people who demanded the most, and they won.

Second, stop saying "Mac-like". Seriously. The next time you want to use that word take a good, long time to think about what you want to say before saying it. If you can't criticize the product for anything other than that it doesn't adhere to your own interpretation of Apple's design aesthetic, ask yourself if you know better than Steve Jobs what Apple should be doing, and what he thinks consumers will be excited about. Because, you know, he's done a pretty damn good job of getting it right so far.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:57 PM on April 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Is your understanding of Steve Jobs really so deficient that you think him ethically incapable of leaking it intentionally, to manipulate public opinion?

Aside from the fact that prototype units get lost or stolen all the time for the reasons mentioned in this thread already, why would Steve Jobs or anyone at Apple want to introduce this particular product to the public in such slapdash way?

Even assuming they do want to release details about the product now rather than waiting, the reason why press releases and press conferences exist is to give the press plenty of feature lists, shiny images, and video clips to use in hyping their product. In this case they would be trading away a lot of secret technical details in exchange for one blog post about a bricked unit. Plenty of prototypes get lost, but no company is dumb enough to purposely give them away before they are ready to do an official announcement.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:59 PM on April 19, 2010


Also, in what way does this leak manipulate public opinion?

Hands up for anyone whose opinion was significantly changed by this leak. So far the only comment I've heard is people whinging about how it doesn't look like a "real iPhone". Go back to your Bondi Blue iMacs people.
posted by GuyZero at 2:01 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope someone cut William Gibson a royalty check or something.

Indeed!


I was actually thinking of Virtual Light.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:01 PM on April 19, 2010


For what it's worth, the word around the web is that Gizmodo paid $10,000 for that iPhone.
posted by koeselitz at 2:05 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


(And that they bought it last week.)
posted by koeselitz at 2:06 PM on April 19, 2010


Ummm, shouldn't Apple just use their Find My iPhone service to get it back?

Ah yes. With the remote wipe function to permanently erase your personal data you're virtually guaranteed to find your iPhone down the back of your sofa or in a jacket pocket precisely 30 seconds later.


Ah yes. And then with the resynching function your going to restore your iPhone right back to how you left it precisely 30 minutes later.
posted by fairmettle at 2:14 PM on April 19, 2010


So if Giz has been sitting on this all week, how'd Engadget scoop them yesterday?
posted by mullingitover at 2:15 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


They'd spent a week trying to un-brick the damn thing so they'd have something meaningful to show and posted once their had had been forced?
posted by GuyZero at 2:18 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, the word around the web is that Gizmodo paid $10,000 for that iPhone.

Choire Sicha of The Awl, who's a former Gawker editor and who seems to have a line into Gizmodo's side of this story, says the number is $5,000 with a bonus for traffic. It also looks like Gizmodo's going to make another traffic grab with the sensationalistic story of how they got the phone. And apparently Steve isn't exactly happy (maybe).

This is gonna be fun.
posted by eggplantplacebo at 2:23 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


from a link off koeselitz's edible apple link:
One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.
- California penal code 485

It seems (to this non-lawyer) that the seller violated that law. Did Gizmodo violate any laws by purchasing stolen material, knowingly or not? (Was I conned as a young child into thinking buying stolen goods was a crime whether you knew they were stolen or not?)
posted by mrgrimm at 2:33 PM on April 19, 2010


I find it odd that Gizmodo don't seem even to have tried to get the thing working--if it was running OS 4 when it was found/stolen, isn't it at least possible that it'd run the beta every app developer (and, you'd hope, every tech blogger) has? If it didn't work first time, I bet the DevTeam or other jailbreaking types would be happy to lend a hand. And what about the MicroSIM that was in it? There could be some juicy data on that, but they don't mention attempting to read it.

That's not possible. iPhone firmwares only work on a given handset. ie: When you plug in your 3G or 3Gs or whatever, and have it restore firmware or do an upgrade, it downloads a version for that specific hardware. Similarly, the OS4 betas that are out are for 3GS and 3G hardware. Since this thing isn't supposed to be out in the wild (except for testing purposes), no one outside Apple has the necessary firmware to restore it.
posted by sparkletone at 2:41 PM on April 19, 2010


An iphone walks into a bar...

Only one bar, mind you. They're still locked to AT&T.
posted by benzenedream at 3:04 PM on April 19, 2010 [26 favorites]


Have other owners of 3GS phones cracked their cases to see if a 4G lies inside?

Maybe this is more widespread then originally thought!
posted by mazola at 3:09 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You misunderstand. It was found in a third party protective case. The actual enclosure within (pictured on Gizmodo) is different than a 3GS. I promise you there are no 4G guts in 3GS enclosures.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:14 PM on April 19, 2010


I encourage 3GS owners to crack their cases and check.
posted by mazola at 3:18 PM on April 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


That's also a switch inside every iPhone 3G that turns it into a 3GS. You just have to open the case and flip the switch.

well it was true for IBM mainframes...
posted by GuyZero at 3:20 PM on April 19, 2010


I cracked my 3GS open and I found a tootsie roll.
posted by yeti at 3:27 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


> So if Giz has been sitting on this all week, how'd Engadget scoop them yesterday?

Best speculation I've seen was that those were the photos being sent by the finder (or "finder") of the phone to various blogs as proof he had something to bid on, and that Engadget lost the bidding war to Gawker Media, so they ran the guy's photos to scoop the winner.
posted by ardgedee at 3:27 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I cracked open my 3G and found a broken phone.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:45 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I cracked my 3GS open and I found a tootsie roll.

What a coincidence, I dropped a tootsie roll while assembling your iphone. Could I please have it back?
posted by drezdn at 4:28 PM on April 19, 2010


You can tell who the Apple fanboys (and girls) are by who engages in Schadenfreude over the firing/humiliation of this mysterious drunken Apple employee (one I don't think exists in the first place). Jeez, people, don't get angry. It's just a phone. It's just a company.
posted by zardoz at 4:41 PM on April 19, 2010


If you've made it this far through the thread, try re-reading it, while imagining that the entire discussion is about the new KFC Triple Down sandwich.

The future is now.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 4:45 PM on April 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


Apple didn't leak it by accident. They merely wanted to see who would take the bait, and then pounce on the fool with a lawsuit.

Not for any marketing reason, mind you, but just to show the tech industry who's boss.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:52 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


To me, it looks exactly like my dad's old Walkman. That brings me back to my childhood and gives me fuzzy feelings, so plus for my demographic I guess?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:54 PM on April 19, 2010


it also has less space than a Nomad and is lame.
posted by GuyZero at 4:55 PM on April 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


Hey, all you iPhone haters, I'm in the market for an MP3 player/web browser/magic box. I was thinking the iPod Touch, but I'd like to hear if there's anything else good on the market like it. I already have a dumbfone that I like just fine, and I can't afford wireless internet.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:00 PM on April 19, 2010


Tubbypaws.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:08 PM on April 19, 2010


If you've made it this far through the thread, try re-reading it, while imagining that the entire discussion is about the new KFC Triple Down sandwich.

Imagine? This is why Greasemonkey exists. Install this script, and add the following substitutions:

var words = {
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
// Syntax: 'Search word' : 'Replace word',
"4G" : "Double Down",
"iphone" : "sandwich",
"Apple" : "KFC",
"ipad" : "Famous Bowl",
"iPhone" : "sandwich",
"cell phone" : "sandwich",
"phone" : "sandwich",
"phones" : "sandwiches",
"ipod" : "Double Crunch",
"3GS" : "Tender Roast",
"3G" : "Twister",
"Steve Jobs" : "The Colonel",
"Jobs" : "The Colonel",
"sleek" : "crispy",
"futuristic" : "delicious",
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
"":""};


This may make reading tech blogs for the next few days bearable.

You misunderstand. It was found in a third party protective case. The actual enclosure within (pictured on Gizmodo) is different than a Tender Roast. I promise you there are no Double Down guts in Tender Roast enclosures.
posted by benzenedream at 5:23 PM on April 19, 2010 [44 favorites]


If it's not been linked here yet...update?
posted by juv3nal at 5:32 PM on April 19, 2010


Gizmodo has released more info, specifically outing the name of the Apple software engineer who allegedly lost the phone and where it was found.
posted by sharkfu at 5:34 PM on April 19, 2010


Damn my slow typing.
posted by sharkfu at 5:35 PM on April 19, 2010


I notice they're not talking about how they got the phone, just about how it was lost and how they called Mr. Powell to rub his nose in it.

Classy!
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:41 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Around him, other groups of people were sharing the jolly atmosphere, and plenty of the golden liquid.

Urine?
posted by little e at 5:41 PM on April 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


You know, I was totally on Gizmodo's side until that last posting. They come of as real assholes. (And I thought taking a TV-be-gone to CES was harmless fun.)
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:43 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, does that mean Apple doesn't require any PIN or password on their employee devices (presumably with access to Apple internal mail, etc)? Not good. (Could be, since it was a demo, it didn't have internal access...)
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:47 PM on April 19, 2010


how they called Mr. Powell to rub his nose in it

As if Gizmodo couldn't get even jerkier about this. Bookmark deleted, Gizmodo you'll never get a page view from me again.
posted by jamaro at 5:50 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


In a journalistic world often defined by the dick move, that there is... the Peter North, the John Holmes, the Dirk Diggler of dick moves.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:53 PM on April 19, 2010


We call this the Ron Jeremy, big and unpleasant and very public.
posted by The Whelk at 5:58 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


This may make reading tech blogs for the next few days bearable.

As an added bonus, it also gives you a brand new MetaFilter subsite called "The Colonel"
posted by burnmp3s at 5:58 PM on April 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


I notice they're not talking about how they got the phone, just about how it was lost and how they called Mr. Powell to rub his nose in it.

I read it as contacting him to confirm/deny that it was his phone.

NB: This doesn't make them or the person who sold them the phone less dickish. The entire tone of that write up could not be more off-putting. But the contacting-him thing seemed more like just confirming/seeing if he had anything he wanted to say.
posted by sparkletone at 6:01 PM on April 19, 2010


just about how it was lost and how they called Mr. Powell to rub his nose in it.

This is accurate, if by 'rub his nose in it' you meant 'offer to return his phone.'
posted by mullingitover at 6:07 PM on April 19, 2010


I read it as contacting him to confirm/deny that it was his phone.

There is no legitimate reason to contact anyone other than Apple's legal team at the point where you are in possession of Apple property... if for no other reason than that, generally, in a media furor like this, employees are ordered to say nothing to the media other than "You can contact PR Person X at Y phone number for more information."

Gizmodo has to know that. At the point where they say "We have a device, and we think that maybe you misplaced it at a bar, and we would like to give it back," they're just being disingenuous. If they wanted to give it back, they would go through Apple's legal channels and not call the poor kid personally.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:08 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


(Also, it's not his phone. It's Apple corporate property that was signed out to him to test.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:09 PM on April 19, 2010


An iPhone walks into a San Francisco bar

Hello? What? GODDAMMIT.

(iPhone wanders around looking to find more bars)
posted by iamkimiam at 6:10 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


"If they wanted to give it back, they would go through Apple's legal channels and not call the poor kid personally."

The poor kid personally left it at a bar, and it had his contact info. Why would they be going to a third party? It's not like somebody burglarized the Apple campus to get the phone.
posted by mullingitover at 6:13 PM on April 19, 2010


Wow, think about the commercial value of the design information Gizmodo's leaked, the value lost now that Apple's rivals know what the next-generation design will look like. Really unethical to do something like that, quite apart from their shabby treatment of Powell. If firms like Apple are these tech review sites' bread and butter, this is a classic example of shitting where you're eating.
posted by 7-7 at 6:17 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


That follow-up Gizmodo post is a mess. On the one hand, they're very much being dicks about it - if the phone is bricked, how were they able to contact him unless they had his contact info through other means?

Which is to say - why didn't they do so earlier? (it would be trivial to just snap a few shots/videos and then contact the guy and say "we're sending it back to you now, but we're going to post a story because this is just too good to pass up, but we don't want you getting fired").

The only redeeming part of the article is this bit at the end, where they become human and put it all in perspective :
He sounded tired and broken. But at least, he's alive. And apparently, he may still be working at Apple. As it should be, because it's just a fucking iPhone. It can happen to everyone, Gray Powell, Phil Schiller, you, me, and even Steve Jobs
It doesn't quite make up for the numerous dick moves prior, but it's interesting that a site which prides itself on over-the-top fanaticism and geekery for all things tech would turn the biggest insider tech news in years into "yeah.... so what?". Though, they may just be trying to save face.

I'm just waiting to see what the outcome of all this is, and I hope Mr. Powell isn't harshly punished for a mistake that we've all made in one way or another at some point in our lives.
posted by revmitcz at 6:23 PM on April 19, 2010


The Gizmodo people are kind of jerks.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:25 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


if the phone is bricked, how were they able to contact him unless they had his contact info through other means?

Obviously the initial finder of the lost phone had it. It says everything about Gizmodo that they out the poor fucker who lost the phone and not the enormous bucket of cocks who sold the thing.
posted by sparkletone at 6:26 PM on April 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


sparkletone: "While I've been as interested as anyone, watching the whole thing unfold this weekend, I can't help but feel a little sleazy about it. Gruber gets at why a little bit here. But basically there's every ethical reason for the person(s) who had possession of the phone to return it to its rightful owners. Instead they decided to be internet heroes ... or something. I don't know. Wonder how much they managed to get out of Gizmodo."

The person who found the phone did attempt to return the phone. Several times.
posted by ShawnStruck at 6:27 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


"he sounded tired and broken" reads like a school yard bully - "why are you hitting yourself?"

the picture, the linking to his flickr, the posting his fb messages, the faux concern tacked on at the end so somone can point to it and say "see! we have a heart!" - it's just all so gross.
posted by nadawi at 6:27 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


The person who found the phone did attempt to return the phone. Several times.

So then this person decides to sell it for ten large to Nick Denton. Keep fucking that chicken, dude!
posted by sparkletone at 6:29 PM on April 19, 2010 [5 favorites]



The person who found the phone did attempt to return the phone. Several times.


that part of the story doesn't hold water - like my bucket's got a hole in it, dear liza.

so in his shopping it around to gadget blogs - he never figured out a way to get in touch with apple? he managed to broker a 10k deal but couldn't get apple to believe he had the device?
posted by nadawi at 6:30 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mullingitover, if you don't comprehend the difference between "someone's private cellphone" and "a heavily-NDA'd test phone that isn't actually the holder's property, that was retrieved and, allegedly, sold to a media source who knew right well that it wasn't just an average phone," I don't believe I can help you.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:32 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this the right time to start humming the Mission Impossible theme?
posted by The Whelk at 6:33 PM on April 19, 2010


So the guy who finds the phone sees the owner's Facebook page on the phone and then claims he couldn't find a way to contact the guy once the phone bricked? Yeah, no holes in that story.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:34 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Mullingitover, if you don't comprehend the difference between "someone's private cellphone" and "a heavily-NDA'd test phone that isn't actually the holder's property, that was retrieved and, allegedly, sold to a media source who knew right well that it wasn't just an average phone," I don't believe I can help you."

Good point. Oh, but there's this, from the article you maybe didn't read.
He reached for a phone and called a lot of Apple numbers and tried to find someone who was at least willing to transfer his call to the right person, but no luck. No one took him seriously and all he got for his troubles was a ticket number.

He thought that eventually the ticket would move up high enough and that he would receive a call back, but his phone never rang. What should he be expected to do then? Walk into an Apple store and give the shiny, new device to a 20-year-old who might just end up selling it on eBay?
I have yet to see anything that convinces me this isn't all a PR stunt.
posted by mullingitover at 6:37 PM on April 19, 2010


Gizmodo are kind of assholes. They used a TV-B-Gone on CES presentations back in 08.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:37 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, what the hell; my two cents? The bar story and the new "Gray Powell" story are both (largely) bullshit. This is a case of checkbook "journalism" + disgruntled (and/or stupid and/or greedy) employee = prototype iPhone. If Apple eats Denton's balls for breakfast over this, I'm going to laugh like hell.

(The intentional leak theory seems unlikely to me because if it is all a PR stunt, then it's a stunt that neither promotes the product very well, nor makes the parent company look very competent. I suppose that it's possible that this is all a stunt, but if it is it's some of the most half-assed PR I've ever seen.)
posted by octobersurprise at 6:43 PM on April 19, 2010


Mullingitover, it seems like an odd way to do a PR stunt. Apple usually just hands device to someone over at the NYT or WSJ, not some crazy scheme to leave a new iPhone behind in the hopes that someone finds it and manages to sell or send it to the right news outlet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 PM on April 19, 2010


Seriously, this is a company that gets its products on the cover of major weekly magazines, it's not going to mess with cloak and dagger stuff, it makes no sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:45 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


What should he be expected to do then? Walk into an Apple store and give the shiny, new device to a 20-year-old who might just end up selling it on eBay?

If you're already a geek in the Bay Area, it's not like Apple HQ is an undisclosed location. Show up and hand it over. Not rocket science.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:53 PM on April 19, 2010


All the original finder had to do, since he saw the Apple engineer's Facebook profile, was to send the engineer a friend request with a message indicating that he had found his phone. Why he didn't do that is beyond me. That or he could have sent a message to sjobs@apple.com.

What did he think, that some low level phone answerer/receptionist is really going to know what the heck to do with someone claiming to have an Apple prototype?
posted by gyc at 6:53 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not seeing the PR-stunt angle. Like this is the only way to get people to pay attention to the next-gen iPhone?

Is there anything in Apple's history that suggests they would pull a stunt like this?
posted by Bookhouse at 6:53 PM on April 19, 2010


all he got for his troubles was a ticket number.

I didn't see that in the article the first time around, but..... whoa. If this is true and the "finder" is truly a finder who attempted to contact Apple and he got a ticket number for doing so? That's a whole 'nother ball of wax.

I suspect there's no such ticket number in place, but if there is - that's an interesting twist. Still doesn't explain how he (or Gizmodo) ultimately ended up finding the original owner of the phone and/or why parties who were privileged to such contact info wouldn't make a more obvious attempt to Do The Right Thing.
posted by revmitcz at 6:55 PM on April 19, 2010


I suspect there's no such ticket number in place, but if there is - that's an interesting twist. Still doesn't explain how he (or Gizmodo) ultimately ended up finding the original owner of the phone and/or why parties who were privileged to such contact info wouldn't make a more obvious attempt to Do The Right Thing.

It says right in the article that the guy that found it saw the engineer's facebook profile on the phone before Apple remotely disabled it.

And I originally did not see the bit about calling Apple either. I think Gizmodo revised the article to cover their butts .
posted by gyc at 7:00 PM on April 19, 2010


my guess - the finder (either by himself or by someone's urging) called apple & got a ticket number to try an wiggle around "without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him" in the penal code.

anyone who believes that he actually attempted to not make 10 thousand dollars and do the right thing should probably not be buying any ocean front property...
posted by nadawi at 7:05 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Obviously the finder should have, in fact, taken it to an Apple Store. At that point it's in the hands of an Apple employee. Sure, said employee may or may not then hand it up the food chain, but at least he'd have a clean conscience. Beyond that, Apple HQ would have been a good bet. He could've even mailed it in c/o Gray Powell if he couldn't get the time to take it by in person. Shoot, he could've even left it at the bar.

It sounds to me like he called Apple a few times, got the brush off because he wasn't even remotely trying the correct channels, then decided to hell with it and made a quick buck.
posted by jedicus at 7:07 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


But admit it, this is about four thousand times more interesting than Steve Jobs doing another Very Earnest Keynote. If this is a pr stunt, I have to thank them for sparing me the fate of listening to Steve explain how the world is now a better place because this iPhone has two! separate! volume! buttons!
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:07 PM on April 19, 2010


He thought that eventually the ticket would move up high enough and that he would receive a call back, but his phone never rang. What should he be expected to do then? Walk into an Apple store and give the shiny, new device to a 20-year-old who might just end up selling it on eBay?

Google Maps tells me that 1 Infinite Loop is 25 minutes from Redwood City (35 minutes with traffic). I'd think that if I walked into their reception with iPhone 4 test unit in my hands they'd be really grateful and it might get me a free one when they finally came out. No $10K, but at least I'd still have my dignity.
posted by pashdown at 7:07 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gizmodo comes off like shit, here. We got very little information out of the actual leak, and the "how we got it" article makes them look like complete assholes.
posted by graventy at 7:13 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


What should he be expected to do then?

Not act like an asshole and sell lost property to the highest asshole bidder.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:19 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


No $10K, but at least I'd still have my dignity.

right, *then* gawker would have their dignity ;)

posted by rhyax at 7:21 PM on April 19, 2010


GuyZero wrote: "CDMA is basically at the core of every future wireless protocol under development."

LTE doesn't use CDMA modulation. It uses a form of OFDM. CDMA seems to have zero future in mass market wireless communications. Don't worry, though, it'll still be around as long as we keep GPS running.
posted by wierdo at 7:45 PM on April 19, 2010


I am big enough to admit that I am actually not smart enough to differentiate OFDM and CDMA without spending a few days at it. But OK.
posted by GuyZero at 7:52 PM on April 19, 2010


You can tell who the Apple fanboys (and girls) are by who engages in Schadenfreude over the firing/humiliation of this mysterious drunken Apple employee (one I don't think exists in the first place).

I don't think I've seen anyone express hope for the poor schmoe at Apple to be fired, just ill-wishes for Gizmodo and the seller.
posted by immlass at 7:56 PM on April 19, 2010


Ugh, poor Grey Powell, no one's going to hire him after this.

It would have been nice if it were some nameless Apple engineer, and Powell goes off to find another job after the inevitable firing. But now his reputation has been needlessly tarnished by Gizmodo.

There's probably going to be some "apology" posting, akin to the one after the CES incident. I won't read it because they've lost whatever shred of credibility a blog can have over something as trivial as a cellphone that's going to be obsolete in 18 months.
posted by hellojed at 8:11 PM on April 19, 2010


You know, I was totally on Gizmodo's side until that last posting. They come of as real assholes. (And I thought taking a TV-be-gone to CES was harmless fun.)

If I were the sort of person who posted "This." in threads, I'd be doing that SO HARD right now.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:24 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


When even the the Twitter street thinks you behaved reprehensibly, I think you probably behaved reprehensibly. They're not known for their subtlety.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:28 PM on April 19, 2010


(I especially like the assertion that they saved Powell's job, and then the "would you still hire him?".)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:31 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


fairytale of los angeles: "(... and then the "would you still hire him?".)"

What the fuck?! That's it, Gizmodo, you're out of my reading rotation. The CES was one thing, but this is just low. I try my damnedest to avoid assholes in real life, there's no reason to increase a buncha assholes' pageviews.
posted by barnacles at 9:04 PM on April 19, 2010


Now they're claiming to Twitter that "it was lost", and telling Apple they "didn't know it was stolen" (that's on Gizmodo proper right now; I don't feel like linking them).

If I were their counsel, I'd've quit by now.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:10 PM on April 19, 2010


Who knows. But I have never seen Apple release a product that is less sleek and more bulky than the one it replaces.
posted by eperker at 9:50 AM


Have you followed the ipod nano line? Tall, short, fat, they've been all over the place. If this is the new iPhone it makes complete sense design wise. It looks industrial, which is much closer to the macbook pro than the current iPhone.

Well, if it's real, and it appears to be, I am still not seeing any reason I would replace my fabulous Droid. Which already has an incredible screen, is fast as lightening, is stacked with great FREE apps and today proved capable of playing everything I already have (a lot) or could normally access (a ginormous selection) on Rhapsody.
posted by bearwife


Because the new iPhone will have a much better screen, will be faster, still has better apps, and does 'touch' better.

Besides, the HTC Incredible just came out today. Even if you prefer android your phone is outdated now. Might make a nice door stop however :)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:20 PM on April 19, 2010


But admit it, this is about four thousand times more interesting than Steve Jobs doing another Very Earnest Keynote.

... and about half as interesting as my earwax.

Even if you prefer android your phone is outdated now.

Last time I checked, Symbian was the #1 OS for smartphones. My phone has IM!?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:42 PM on April 19, 2010


Waitjustagoddamnedminute......

The link I followed from fairytale of los angeles's comment led me to this : http://twitpic.com/1gye5t. Which greatly confused me. The screenshot shows Powell lamenting the loss of the 4G iPhone less than an hour before he was complaining about Gizmodo buying the unit for $10k, and only 6 minutes before asking if any competing companies were hiring.

Gizmodo says the guy lost it on March 18th - a month ago. They claimed to have received the phone "a few weeks later". They then posted the story this morning. The word about $10k being offered for the phone came out only a few hours ago.

Something's REALLY g'damn fishy about all of this.
posted by revmitcz at 9:46 PM on April 19, 2010


@darthvader on Twitter has the best metacommentary on this whole thing EVER.
I wonder if record page views helped the Bothans sleep well at night. Oh right, nevermind.
posted by signalnine at 9:48 PM on April 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


I could give a shit about Apple or iPhones in general. It's a lot of furor over a working Star Trek prop - if a useful one. I can give a shit about law and due process, but at this point Apple is going to sell millions of them no matter what.

I know I don't give a shit about gizmodo. If anything just because that was a lot of big leaps backed by some rather shallow reporting, presentation or analysis.

So Gibson, Sterling, Rucker and some of those guys are getting a cut, right? Any day now I'm going to see kids on the bus wearing video-fabric track suits with surgery-grafted bioengineered shark cartilage faces and shit, right? We're just missing a Pop Idol riot and some robot police helicopters and some scary kid with a black market industrial laser.
posted by loquacious at 9:48 PM on April 19, 2010


Aw, man, every person except the poor engineer comes off as an awful douchebag in this story.
posted by sugarfish at 9:55 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


The link I followed from fairytale of los angeles's comment led me to this : http://twitpic.com/1gye5t. Which greatly confused me. The screenshot shows Powell lamenting the loss of the 4G iPhone less than an hour before he was complaining about Gizmodo buying the unit for $10k, and only 6 minutes before asking if any competing companies were hiring.

That's a facebook fan page someone's set up, not Powel's facebook profile. So those comments on the facebook fan page weren't posted by Powell.
posted by gyc at 10:01 PM on April 19, 2010


That's a facebook fan page someone's set up, not Powel's facebook profile. So those comments on the facebook fan page weren't posted by Powell.

Yes, specifically this one. It was created a few hours ago and is pretty obviously a joke.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:02 PM on April 19, 2010


Gizmodo comes off like shit, here. We got very little information out of the actual leak, and the "how we got it" article makes them look like complete assholes.

Incompetent to boot. Imagine, you have your hands on the *next big thing*, what do you do? Put up some crappy watermarked photos, a passive aggressive backstory on its acquisition, and dick-over the poor drunk that lost his iPhone; or say "Hey Apple, we got your lost phone and want to blog about it but we know you want to keep this quiet. We'll give you back this phone and wait to talk about it on your timeline, but only if as you give us something exclusive and juicy talk about. We paid $10k for this brick; we can make $20k now and interfere with your strategic plans, or maybe we can make $50k and help you in a couple weeks. Let's work something out."*

Or maybe they tried that and Apple didn't play ball because this lost phone doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme.

* An actual journalist might not act this way, but I am not a journalist and do not know any better. Gizmodo does not seem to employ actual journalists, so I might almost be an expert. Or I might not.
posted by peeedro at 10:10 PM on April 19, 2010


revmitcz: that picture's so obviously not a fake.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:13 PM on April 19, 2010


Apple is lucky the guy went to Gizmodo instead of getting on the first plane to Seoul.

--Jon Lech "DVD-Jon" Johansen, here.

So, you know, at least that part of the grim fin-headed William Gibson future didn't come to pass... unless you're into that kind of thing, in which case I'm sorry to bust your bubble. Looks like dude opted for the quick buck over actual corporate espionage.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:16 PM on April 19, 2010


Dennis Murphy: "Because the new iPhone will have a much better screen, will be faster, still has better apps, and does 'touch' better.

Besides, the HTC Incredible just came out today. Even if you prefer android your phone is outdated now. Might make a nice door stop however :)"


HTC's Evo 4G is launching around the same time and will have a 1Ghz Snapdragon, 6Mbps WiMax (and will happily provide a zippy wifi hotspot for your laptop, gratis), 4.3 inch screen, free turn-by-turn voice-activated navigation, dual cameras (8Mp rear camera) Flash Lite (not a great selection of fart apps, sure, but I'll cry all the way to Orsinal). Oh and you can install Adblock without having to void your warranty. Having used my roommate's Moto Droid I'm sold on the OS, it's different from iPhone OS but I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. It leaves iPhone in the dust when it comes to social media integration, too. I was waiting to see if the new iPhone was going to do something revolutionary, but it appears to be a fairly incremental upgrade. This is just one of many great Android phones coming out this year. The Droid isn't obsolete because there's a newer Android phone, there's just an onslaught of really compelling hardware to run the OS on. I fail to see the problem there.

It's going to be hilarious when Gray Powell ends up working for Google :)
posted by mullingitover at 10:16 PM on April 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have yet to see anything that convinces me this isn't all a PR stunt.

Occam's Razor would suggest your position is not well-founded. Apple is already well-known as a secretive company, to the point of secrecy being pathological. Do you have any proof?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 PM on April 19, 2010


i hope the thief gets caught. as for apple, for as much money as they've made off people who have accidentally left their iphones behind somewhere, they probably still come out ahead here. but also, it would seem that the guy who lost it should get kudos for accurately duplicating real user experience.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 10:20 PM on April 19, 2010


daniel_charms, burnmp3s, gyc : that's what I suspected, but I didn't compare it with what Gizmodo was posting and - along with fairytale's other links and the point he was making - I wondered if that was the same "proof" Gizmodo et al. were using to indict Powell.

Clearly, I should've done more research before asking questions out loud :)
posted by revmitcz at 10:29 PM on April 19, 2010


BP: "Occam's Razor would suggest your position is not well-founded. Apple is already well-known as a secretive company, to the point of secrecy being pathological. Do you have any proof?"

Occam's Razor is exactly why I think it's a planned leak. Apple is pathological about secrecy, so why on earth would they have twentysomething kids bar-hopping with their uber-secret prototypes? It makes no goddamned sense for a company where engineers don't even tell their spouses what they're working on.

If you had to guess, how much free advertising do you think Apple scored today? If they had to spend their own money to buy this kind of press, what do you think they'd pay? And nobody in the blogs is paying attention to a pretty big rival product launch. A planned leak is a pretty simple explanation, and far more believable than Apple being utter noobs at product secrecy.
posted by mullingitover at 10:32 PM on April 19, 2010


Steve Jobs Responds to Gizmodo (iPhone 4G)
posted by homunculus at 10:52 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple is pathological about secrecy, so why on earth would they have twentysomething kids bar-hopping with their uber-secret prototypes?

I don't think this argues for a deliberate leak. Apple often tests prototypes out in the field to see how they work in real-world settings.

If you had to guess, how much free advertising do you think Apple scored today?

I don't think that matters as Apple had no control over today's "free advertising", no means to measure an effect on the public, and even if today's Gizmodo post was advertising that had some effect — ad companies usually report eyeballs or some other quantitative measure of how effective the advertising was — Apple is anal retentive about details and hates not having control over how its products are presented to the public, which is why it is so secretive in the first place. So this being done to garner free advertising seems unlikely, given the company's generally understood way of doing things.

The only other possibility might be that Apple owns or controls Gizmodo and can control the message being reported. Apple having sufficient control over Gizmodo to the extent that it could get Gizmodo to frame this story in this manner would require a conspiracy as large and as deep as 9/11.

Support for a deliberate leak would be helped with more evidence and less speculation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:46 PM on April 19, 2010


Before I clicked on homunculus' link I thought it would be another Downfall parody.
posted by armage at 11:57 PM on April 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Imagine, you have your hands on the *next big thing*, what do you do? Put up some crappy watermarked photos, a passive aggressive backstory on its acquisition, and dick-over the poor drunk that lost his iPhone; or say "Hey Apple, we got your lost phone and want to blog about it...

This is precisely what a tabloid newspaper would do if, eg., they have some dirt on a celebrity. Every time you see a tabloid story on a celebrity couple enjoying their holiday accompanied by some photographs of them strolling on the beach, it's because the paper has evidence of something they want kept quiet; every time a boyband star comes out because he 'can't lie to the fans anymore', it's because an ex-boyfriend has tried to sell the story and he's been given a 'his story or your story?' ultimatum. Sometimes, if you see a prominent series of adverts or a giveaway competition running in a tabloid, you have to wonder if a disgruntled consumer or ex-employee has been shopping a horror story about that company's customer service. (In the UK at least, this can backfire for the tabloid, though: if the target has advance warning of the story breaking, they can supress it very effectively with an injunction or super-injunction.)

All unethical (and arguably worse than Gizmodo's tactics, because the public never gets to read the real story) but your 'contact Apple and bargain for a scoop' method is what a real sleazy journalist would do.

It seems Gizmodo decided the money to be made on this story was worth completely sacrificing their relationship with Apple for, or worth more than any series of scoops Apple could offer in return for keeping the prototype under wraps, or assumed that Apple would take aggressive legal action to gag the story if approached. (Fourth possibility: they're incompetent, and got so excited while playing with a shiny new iPhone that they didn't think to approach Apple at all...)
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 2:20 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple is pathological about secrecy, so why on earth would they have twentysomething kids bar-hopping with their uber-secret prototypes? It makes no goddamned sense for a company where engineers don't even tell their spouses what they're working on.

If the twentysomething kid is an engineer field testing the phone it makes sense.

If you had to guess, how much free advertising do you think Apple scored today? If they had to spend their own money to buy this kind of press, what do you think they'd pay? And nobody in the blogs is paying attention to a pretty big rival product launch. A planned leak is a pretty simple explanation, and far more believable than Apple being utter noobs at product secrecy.

This still doesn't makes sense based on Apple's track record. They want to be the one to tell journalists, along with pretty slides and lots of info about how awesome the iPhone is selling.

And for the nth time, when they've done leaks before, it's been by dropping a unit off to the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. There's no need for hiding the new phone in the casing of an old one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:30 AM on April 20, 2010


So I've never gotten around to reading William Gibson ... can some kind soul explain what the parallel is?
posted by jbickers at 6:57 AM on April 20, 2010


It's very similar to the plot line of Virtual Light (a prototype device gets stolen at a party by someone who, at first, doesn't know what it is) and it's similar to something Blue Ant, an ad agency in Pattern Recognition , who would plant stuff like this for people to "find".
posted by The Whelk at 7:00 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


GuyZero: “I am big enough to admit that I am actually not smart enough to differentiate OFDM and CDMA without spending a few days at it. But OK.

I did not either. There is a fairly good (in the sense of being high-level) discussion of it here. From there you can move on to a slightly more in-depth explanation.

OFDM actually is easier for me to understand than CDMA; something about the way CDMA works has always made my brain hurt, although I understand it abstractly. (I guess I'm always surprised that it actually works.) At the end of the day, OFDM is "just" a really clever way of dividing a block of frequencies into very narrow subcarriers, with each subcarrier cleverly chosen to minimize interference. Depending on the number of users communicating with the tower, each user might get more or fewer subcarriers for their data. (This is a gross simplification but as far as I can tell it's basically correct.)

The advantage — and I'm not totally convinced that it's an advantage — of OFDM is that it offers discrete data channels each with some set capacity. It's like GSM (which is TDMA) in that way. This is in contrast to CDMA where the per-user throughput just degrades smoothly as you add users. CDMA's proponents always touted this as an advantage (and for narrowband communication I think it almost certainly is), but you can spin things the other way, too.

I think the real advantage of OFDM is that it's not wrapped up quite so tightly in Qualcomm's patents as CDMA. Although that second article above makes it seem as though Qualcomm is doing its damndest to gets its fingers into the LTE pie as well, so who knows.

All this stuff will end up being transparent to the users, but could affect the shape and capabilities of the eventual devices. I would imagine that an LTE/OFDM-based device would integrate more easily with existing Wifi, since 802.11 uses OFDM (admittedly somewhat different from LTE's use, but closer than CDMA). That would mean, I'd imagine, that an LTE/802.11 device would have a lower parts count than a LTE/CDMA one.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:32 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


So... will it blend?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:30 AM on April 20, 2010


cool story, bro.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:37 AM on April 20, 2010


Is this the right time to start humming the Mission Impossible theme?

It's always the right time for that.

♫ Bum-bum bah-dah bum-bum... ♫
posted by Servo5678 at 9:11 AM on April 20, 2010


Apparently the Apple engineer lost the phone on his birthday. Worst birthday present ever, Gizmodo.
posted by sharkfu at 9:31 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


And now Apple has gone on record stating they want the phone back. It's pretty much confirmed at this point that it's a real Apple phone although it remains to be seen whether it will end up being a production model or a test unit with a different case.
posted by GuyZero at 9:59 AM on April 20, 2010


Hey, what if a time traveler dropped it in the bar, and Apple is going to copy the design to make the next iPhone, like with transparent aluminum?
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:30 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, yeah. Gizmodo has totally lost my respect. After their stunt at CES 2008 I stopped visiting them, but I came back a few months later figuring things had changed. They have not. These people are not professionals, they will go do any depths and sacrifice any integrity they have for web hits. I hope that Apple no longer invites them to press events, because they are not journalists.
posted by hellojed at 11:41 AM on April 20, 2010


Hopefully this complete dick-move will put Gizmodo on the media-which-ought-not-be-linked-on-the-Blue-because-it-will-cause-people-to-hate-the-article-because-the-publishers-are-gross-creeps list.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:43 AM on April 20, 2010


Hey, what if a time traveler dropped it in the bar, and Apple is going to copy the design to make the next iPhone, like with transparent aluminum?

Those scenarios never end well.
posted by zarq at 11:55 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Andy Ihnatko sums up the current situation's particulars very nicely here.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2010


Nope, still 100% AT&T & 100% on my no-buy list. Wake me up if they fix that glitch.

They've sold 6.5 million iphones in the US, so enjoy your nap!
posted by Brandon Blatcher


I love the iPhone. I think it's great. I wish that I didn't have to use one pocket for my LG and the other for my iPod Touch. But I hate AT&T cellular with the heat of 1,000 white hot suns. It goes back to a two year debacle of the worst customer service in the whole history of customer service. AT&T home & dsl treated me just fine, but starting with Cingular & onward, AT&T Moble screwed my pooch, as it were, and if they were on fire, I wouldn't cross the street to piss on them.

And to me, that is a fatal flaw with the iPhone. I would love to have one. But I won't. Now, get off my damn lawn and let me enjoy my nap.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:06 PM on April 20, 2010


I get that people have very valid negative experiences with AT&T, but I'm just not one of them. In fact, a couple months ago, they saved me about $300 in overcharges by backdating a change to my cell plan so that all my talkytalky was covered.

T-Mobil, on the other hand, stuck me with an extra $250 in text charges when I didn't realize that instant messaging counted as text messages rather than part of my data plan. Even so, I didn't attribute that to T-Mobil as a corporate entity but rather to the unhelpful person on the other end of the phone.

Every company has plenty of those. So if that is your litmus test for a company, it's only a matter of time and luck before every company you love turns to a company you hate.
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:15 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've read every comment in this thread, as well as the original link (and its comments), and I just cannot make heads or tails of this goddamn story. It's just so bizarre. Somebody fucked up big time, that's all I can tell from this.
posted by MattMangels at 12:52 PM on April 20, 2010


Every company has plenty of those. So if that is your litmus test for a company, it's only a matter of time and luck before every company you love turns to a company you hate.
posted by greekphilosophy


I don't want to derail this to an anti-AT&T thread. I'm glad you had good experiences with AT&T. In my corporate life, I was charged with improving service, delivery, and improving the quality of our delivered product. I understand completely that there are a few people in any organization who never realize that the signature on their paycheck is a stand-in for the customer. I also had had service with Sprint and T-Mobile before switching to Cingular. We switched because T-Mobile's coverage at the time would not cover the majority of places I was commuting to on a weekly basis, and Cingular's service map claimed they did. Our experiences with Sprint were below what we would consider adequate, but T-Mobile was fine. So my litmus test was not riding on the back of one or two or even three negative encounters.

The basics of mine were that upon renewal of our contract we got some phones we were unhappy with. On day 15 of the two year contract, I called to ask if there would be someway to change models, upgrade phones in any sort of reasonable way. I was informed that my contract allowed 14 days for such an event. I understand that this is correct. I began by politely asking to go up the chain and I was met by complete denial that there was anyone else to talk to. But it did not end there or with one shoddy call with one shoddy CR. Each and every Cingular/AT&T rep was resolutely anti customer service, which, according to a NYT article at the time, was their corporate philosophy: spend as little time as possible on the phone with a customer--they were judged not on customer satisfaction but by length of call & number of calls handled.

This continued up the chain until I researched and found addresses for the group VPs and the president for AT&T Mobile. I wrote to the group VP with responsibility for customer relationships with copies to other relevant Veeps & the president and told them not only of our dissatisfaction but of our interactions with the CRs to that point. We got a form letter in return telling us that they received the letter and that we would be contacted. We were contacted by a CR in the phone farm in Chicago (the site we first contacted) who shouted, cursed, and berated my wife.

In my next letter to the group Veeps, I reminded them that keeping a satisfied customer is statistically around the same as churning 25 new customers into the fold, and also reminded them that a satisfied customer will lead to positive referrals, while a highly dissatisfied customer will negatively impact around 10 potential new customers. We suffered--and I mean suffered--through to the end of our AT&T contract, going to the point of unlocking some old T-Mobile phones that we hadn't recycled and putting our AT&T sim cards in those. I never received a response from anyone at AT&T, but somewhere around our two year anniversary with Verizon, I saw another article in the NYT where the new head of AT&T customer relations acknowledged that they were near the bottom of customer satisfaction and then made similar points to mine above. So, I am glad for their new customers that they have changed their attitudes. But until I get an apology that means something from AT&T or hell freezes over, I will not spend a dime on AT&T cellular service.
posted by beelzbubba at 1:50 PM on April 20, 2010


It's pretty simple:

- man gets phone
- man loses phone
- man #2 finds phone
- man #3 pays for phone
- boss of first man comes to reclaim phone

This is pretty much the plot of Pretty Woman isn't it? The phone is Julia Roberts, Brian Lam is Richard Gere and Apple's legal counsel is Carlos the pimp.
posted by GuyZero at 1:52 PM on April 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Can someone help me understand something?

In Gizmodo's latest update, "Why Apple Couldn't Get the Lost iPhone Back", they try to make the case that the finder of the lost iphone made a good faith effort to return it to Apple (by calling Apple support).

What I don't understand is how they knew the name of the Apple engineer who lost it? They discuss how the new OS connects with facebook and they discuss a drunken update by the engineer on his facebook page, but they don't necessary connect the two (as in the finder logged into the facebook app on the prototype and saw the last update.) If that's what happened, it's clearly a case of the finder not making a good faith effort to contact the owner of the phone. If it's not, how the hell did they connect the engineer to the phone? Perhaps Gizmodo did it later, but they never say how the name was discovered.

Unless I'm missing something?
posted by sharkfu at 2:43 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


sharkfu:

An earlier gizmodo article indicated that the finder of the phone did know the name of the Apple engineer because he saw the phone was logged into said engineer's facebook profile when he played around with the phone (before the phone was remotely disabled by Apple):

"During that time, he played with it. It seemed like a normal iPhone. "I thought it was just an iPhone 3GS," he told me in a telephone interview. "It just looked like one. I tried the camera, but it crashed three times." The iPhone didn't seem to have any special features, just two bar codes stuck on its back: 8800601pex1 and N90_DVT_GE4X_0493. Next to the volume keys there was another sticker: iPhone SWE-L200221. Apart from that, just six pages of applications. One of them was Facebook. And there, on the Facebook screen, was the Apple engineer, Gray Powell."

http://gizmodo.com/5520438/

So I agree with you that the finder did not make a good faith effort at all to contact the owner.
posted by gyc at 3:25 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


From Gizmodo:

(Our legal team told us that in California the law states, "If it is lost, the owner has three years to reclaim or title passes to the owner of the premises where the property was found. The person who found it had the duty to report it." Which, actually, the guys who found it tried to do, but were pretty much ignored by Apple. )


Some coverage from the Citizen Media Law Project.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:33 PM on April 20, 2010


I hate AT&T cellular with the heat of 1,000 white hot suns.

Ditto. I had a Blackberry 8310 from AT&T. They reached their nadir with me when they billed me an obscene amount because I took my Blackberry with me on a week long vacation in Kelowna, B.C. Getting them to back off on their bill was unbelievably frustrating and time consuming, even though I did prevail in the end. And yes, their network is ridiculously spotty compared to Verizon's.

Love, love, love my Droid, in part because it is such a pleasure by contrast to be with Verizon. It'll be a long time before anything makes me want to use it as a doorstop. Or makes me interested in buying into the closed world of Apple's Iphone.

I think the most interesting thing about this whole story is our national preoccupation with Apple. This story was all over the mainstream media today.
posted by bearwife at 4:57 PM on April 20, 2010


Heh. AT&T Wireless lost my business before they even had it (The current AT&T Wireless, anyway). They kept calling my landline* about "my current wireless bill". They left no information about who they were trying to call (not me, obvs), or any clue how to get account information to get them to change their auto-caller. So the very apologetic CSR told me that I'd just have to "put up" with these near-daily calls. So, yeah. I changed my phone number after that, then got rid of my landline entirely.


*Also AT&T, which, other than the constant calls from debt collectors looking for other people and the fact that they were sending all my phone calls to government spooks, was just fine.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:43 PM on April 20, 2010


Everybody, make sure to read the posts that have been made on the topic (on gizmondo) since. They fill in a lot of gaps.

Buying the phone for 5k? I don't have a problem with that. Reporting on it? Unfortunate for Apple, but such is life. Kinda funny.

Putting the guy's name all over and featuring his facebook and twitter? That's low. That's attached to his name forever now.

Apple's misfortune will fade. This guy's will not.

Eh, unless he manages to wrangle it into some sort of internet celebritiness. I mean, Paris Hilton made a career out of a sex tape.
posted by R a c h e l at 8:53 PM on April 20, 2010


Until Gizmodo publicly apologizes to Gray Powell...
posted by koeselitz at 10:59 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


i think gizmodo's worst mistake here is that they victimized a member of their target audience. i generally dislike the trend that makes any private citizen fair game for media ridicule (and i think those who consume and promote it are giving implied consent to have it done to themselves). but they basically stole from one of their own and screwed him over, and then used it to gain maximum media exposure in all the follow-up 'insider' stories.

i think it's kinda like if lady gaga posted a gay-bashing video and said it was for the sake of art.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 2:48 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Gizmodo's Nick Denton was on yesterday's Talk of the Nation and I had to laugh when he said

"...This is a great way to get Gizmodo's name out there. It's a coup. It's probably the biggest tech scoop of the decade, and we're going to enjoy it for all of us."

Really? Probably the biggest tech scoop of the last ten years?

If they had "found" a working prototype of the original iPhone back in 2006 when no one knew about it, that statement might stand. Now I don't own an iPhone, but isn't this upcoming version the fourth iteration?

If, in October 1985, he had bought a unviewable reel of Rocky IV in a shady deal with some guy in a bar, would he have then touted it as "possibly the greatest coup in the last decade of movie news"?

Charitably (in that he basically purchased the story), I'd give him maybe the "biggest tech scoop" of the second quarter of 2010.
(And all he had to do was shell out a few grand and pour kerosene on a few industry bridges. Yes, quite the coup!)
posted by blueberry at 12:44 AM on April 22, 2010


To be fair, "the last decade" just started about 4 months and 22 days ago...so...

Seriously though, I don't think this dude's going to even be as ubiquitous as LonelyGirl.
posted by TomMelee at 11:12 AM on April 22, 2010


I made a moronic comment upthread about this being no big deal; this whole thing has turned out to be really fascinating.

Mea culpa.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:59 PM on April 22, 2010


There is no interest served by outing him other than taking sociopathic glee in making a public spectacle of someone who made a very serious but honest mistake.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:18 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Woot weighs in.
posted by teraflop at 10:34 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lost iPhone prototype spurs police probe
posted by mrgrimm at 1:11 PM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


honestly, i hope someone at gizmodo spends at least a night in jail over this.
posted by empath at 4:09 PM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can it please be Nick Denton?
posted by Tenuki at 10:20 PM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Lufthansa Offers Gray Powell (iPhone 4G Guy) Free Flight To Drink Beer"
posted by blueberry at 12:48 AM on April 24, 2010


Nick Denton: "There were no immediate revenue benefits whatsoever [for Gawker] -- in fact, only costs."
posted by daniel_charms at 3:15 AM on April 24, 2010


Gray's hangin' with the big boys now
posted by homunculus at 10:12 AM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


homunculus wrote: "Gray's hangin' with the big boys now"

Have I ever mentioned that Woz is fracking awesome? :p
posted by wierdo at 1:59 PM on April 24, 2010


Quoting from the other thread: Woz Accidentally Gets Apple Engineer Fired For Showing iPad.

Now, we're expected to believe that the company that does this does not fire Gray Powell in the month between the iPhone being "lost" and the Gizmodo post?
posted by kafziel at 5:24 PM on April 25, 2010


honestly, i hope someone at gizmodo spends at least a night in jail over this.

honestly, the Cult of Mac never fails to amaze me with their zealotry.
posted by zardoz at 7:08 PM on April 25, 2010


lol, i think you'll find that i'm not in the cult of mac...

i just think gizmodo are lying scumbags and obviously broke the law.
posted by empath at 7:56 PM on April 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think this is worth a Giz link: Police have seized the personal computers of Jason Chen, Editor-in-cheif of Gizmodo.
posted by bonehead at 1:45 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


*pops a big ol' bowl of popcorn*
posted by entropicamericana at 1:55 PM on April 26, 2010


Does Gawker's response to the warrant make sense to any lawyers?

If it's the journalist him- or herself who is suspected of participating in a felony, does section 1524(g) apply?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:05 PM on April 26, 2010


entropicamericana: *pops a big ol' bowl of popcorn*

Agreed. I was interested in the original iPhone 4 post but not much since. But the legal back and forth -- and whether or not 1524(g) applies if (possibly) "committing a felony" and "getting your source" are the same thing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:16 PM on April 26, 2010


is interesting to me...

so interesting I hit "Post Comment" too soon.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:16 PM on April 26, 2010


Does Gawker's response to the warrant make sense to any lawyers?

If it's the journalist him- or herself who is suspected of participating in a felony, does section 1524(g) apply?


I am not a lawyer, but I wonder if their news weblog would count as a periodical, since it isn't really published on a set schedule. It's not a magazine or newspaper. It's not a newsletter or journal. It's not a radio or television station. I wonder how a judge might classify it.
posted by zarq at 2:43 PM on April 26, 2010


O'Grady v Superior Court 139 Cal. App. 4th 1423 (2006) is the case that Gawker's COO referred to in that letter to the police -- there's some analysis of it here.
The Court held that Apple was barred from obtaining this information from the blog/websites by application of California's Reporter's Shield Law ("Shield Law"). The Shield Law is found in both California's Constitution and Section 1070 of California's Evidence Code. As set forth in the Constitution, the Shield Law prohibits holding "a publisher, editor [or] reporter" connected with or employed by "a newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication" in contempt "for refusing to disclose the source of any information processed … for publication" therein.

The Court held that petitioners qualified for the protection of the Shield Law. Based on their own declarations, the Court found that Petitioners qualified as publishers, editors and/or reporters within the meaning of the statute. The Court further found that the requested information - the source(s) of the stories petitioners published in their blog/websites - also qualified for the statute's protections.

First Amendment Bars Disclosure Of Blog's Sources Because Apple Failed To Exhaust Other Potential Sources

Finally, the Court found that these blog/websites constituted "newspapers, magazines or other periodical publication(s)" entitled to the protections of the statute. The websites in question were "news oriented websites." Power Page gathers and reports on news and information about Apple Macintosh computers and compatible software and hardware. Apple Insider reported on technology news. Both published regularly, though not a set intervals, since at least 1998, often over once a week. Articles were published when ready.

The Court held that both blogs fell within the ambit of the statute, even though they neither appeared in print, nor were published at any set intervals.
So the publishing schedule doesn't really seem to matter, eh, zarq?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:07 PM on April 26, 2010


So the publishing schedule doesn't really seem to matter, eh, zarq?

Good. I'm relieved. Although I do think what Gizmodo did was rather reprehensible, I'm very glad California law sticks to the spirit and not the letter of this law. Better to err on the side of freedom of the press.

Thanks for explaining!
posted by zarq at 3:20 PM on April 26, 2010


i wonder if this quote by denton is going to bite them in the ass?

"We don't seek to do good, we may inadvertently do good. We may inadvertently commit journalism. That is not the institutional intention."
posted by nadawi at 3:27 PM on April 26, 2010


Well, I'm not a lawyer, zarq, but I used to work for one very closely, so that's my reading of it, anyway...

That quote by Denton is probably going to get dragged around like Linus' blanket if this ever goes to trial, but as far as I know, denying you're journalists sarcastically isn't enough for an AHA! YOU ARE NOT! in the eyes of the law, especially when they've already treated similar defendants similarly in that case above...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:31 PM on April 26, 2010


John Gruber @ DaringFireball on the shield law defense:

Journalist shield laws are about journalists being able to protect sources who may have committed crimes. They’re not a license for journalists to commit crimes themselves. Gawker is making an argument that is beside the point. They’re arguing, “Hey, bloggers are journalists.” The state of California is arguing “Hey, you committed a felony.”
posted by sharkfu at 3:38 PM on April 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Being a journalist doesn't give you a blanket right to break the law, and cases like this (and the Judith Miller case) are why I'm not a fan of reporter shield laws in general. Reporters have a lot of power, and I think a lot of responsibility. If you think a story is important enough to break the law over, then have the courage to go to jail for it. I'm not a fan of Judith Miller's reporting, but going to jail did take a lot of guts and I respect her for it.

This whole case just rubs me the wrong way. National security stories, public corruption, cases where lives are on the line. Those are the stories you risk going to jail to get. Stealing a new phone 2 months ahead of time just to get some page views? No way, sorry.
posted by empath at 4:01 PM on April 26, 2010


These are Jason Chen's computers.
posted by empath at 4:03 PM on April 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yes, but Gizmodo's lawyers are saying that Chen's computers have been seized in an attempt to discover who exactly sold them that lost-and-found iPhone, which they argue is unlawful under the shield law, they're not bringing up the validity of the felony-or-no-felony claim at this point. Two separate issues which keep getting conflated together. Unless you're trying to say Chen is the finder of the phone and the backstory about some other guy finding it is a big lie.

I suspect that eventually they're going to use the original finder's "I tried to contact Apple about this thing I found, and hey look, here's the relevant ticket number" actions as proof of a good faith attempt to return the damn thing, but in the meantime, I think it's pretty fucking lame for them to take ALL the computing devices from his home (and breaking into it, too!), thereby depriving him of a way to earn his living.

"First Amendment Bars Disclosure Of Blog's Sources Because Apple Failed To Exhaust Other Potential Sources" (a section subheader in the analysis above) -- if Apple wanted to find out who FOUND the phone, they could look through their ticket system themselves, no? They've got the HEY I FOUND IT guy's info in their own system -- they haven't yet exhausted other potential sources, right? And if so, is it right for them to have Chen's house raided in an attempt to find the Finder?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:41 PM on April 26, 2010


(Anyway... IANAL, I just worked for a really devious one in my past life, so know from watching her there are ways out of just about anything if you play your cards right...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:49 PM on April 26, 2010


... if Apple wanted to find out who FOUND the phone, they could look through their ticket system themselves, no? ... And if so, is it right for them to have Chen's house raided in an attempt to find the Finder?

There is a lot we don't know yet... In the meantime you're assuming that:
1- Apple hasn't looked in their ticket system (unlikely.)
2- Apple ordered/influenced the search order (possible, but the final say on criminal investigation/prosecution falls on the DA.)
3- (and most importantly) The intent of the search order is to identify the "finder."

Gizmodo's lawyers will ABSOLUTELY say that the intent of the search was to find the "finder" - if that's all at issue the Shield law may provide protection. However, the "finder" may not be at issue (yet.) It could very well be that they are investigating the purchase of stolen property. In which case, Mr. Chen's computers could contain implicating evidence.

Ooo, I think my jiffypop is ready. This is going to be an interesting week.
posted by m@f at 5:15 PM on April 26, 2010


They actually don't need to find the source to prosecute. They can just prosecute Jason Chen for receipt of stolen goods, which has absolutely nothing to do with journalism or protecting sources.
posted by empath at 7:10 PM on April 26, 2010


OTOH, if the police or Apple wanted to go after Engadget who was also approached by the finder and declined to commit a felony, just to get them to reveal the finders name, that would be an appropriate use of a shield law.
posted by empath at 7:13 PM on April 26, 2010


Update: The case is reportedly on hold as the San Mateo County District Attorney's office reviews Gizmodo's shield law defense. According to one report, Chen's computers haven't been examined yet, and won't be until after the DA completes the review.

From Consumerist.
posted by lilkeith07 at 7:50 PM on April 26, 2010


News accounts depicting the $5,000 payment as a “sale” are incorrect, this person said. Rather, the agreement with Gizmodo was for exclusivity only. “It was made very explicit that Gizmodo was to help the finder return the phone to its rightful owner or give it back,” this person said. “Gizmodo said they could help restore the phone.”
posted by GuyZero at 5:03 PM on April 27, 2010


It wasn't really mine! Honest! I was just holding it, for, um, some guy! A friend! I was going to give it right back. Pleasedontcallmydad.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:34 PM on April 27, 2010


Message when you visit Adobe's Flash page on an iPhone device:
Apple restricts use of technologies required by products like Adobe® Flash® Player. Until Apple eliminates these restrictions, Adobe cannot provide Flash Player for the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
At least they're not bitter or anything.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:53 AM on April 28, 2010


At least they're not bitter or anything.

I'm no Adobe/Flash defender, but c'mon. That text seems accurate. What should they say?

News accounts depicting the $5,000 payment as a “sale” are incorrect, this person said. Rather, the agreement with Gizmodo was for exclusivity only. “It was made very explicit that Gizmodo was to help the finder return the phone to its rightful owner or give it back,” this person said. “Gizmodo said they could help restore the phone.”

IANNBAL, but that seems interesting to me. I guess the issue would be proving that the defendant "sold" the phone without such an agreement in place? Or is there another way to dismiss that claim? Does the amount of money matter?

For such an originally shit-boring story (new iPhone 4G), it's turned very interesting.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:54 PM on April 28, 2010


It strikes me as not passing the giggle test. They gave some dude five grand, and the dude gave them a prototype iPhone. If it looks like a duck and it talks like a duck... I don't know but I'd be willing to bet there's some common law or statutory standard for what constitutes a sale, and in the absence of some other sort of agreement, "I hand you cash; you hand me [stolen] iPhone" probably counts.

Given how loose a ship the Gizmodo people seem to run, it would totally not surprise me to find out that they just handed some guy five K in used 20s in a paper bag. Good luck convincing anyone that wasn't a sale.

But it does make for an interesting little drama, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:21 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


More news. "Guilty as sin" is the expression that comes to mind.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:14 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kadin2048, your prediction was amazingly close:
Hogan told [his roommate] that Gizmodo had offered him $10,000 for the phone, and showed her a camera box containing $5,000 in $100 bills, according to the affidavit.
posted by jamaro at 4:38 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Guilty as sin" is the expression that comes to mind.

"'Sucks for him,' Hogan allegedly told Martinson about Powell. 'He lost his phone. Shouldn't have lost his phone.'"

Oops.

"Martinson turned Hogan in, because Hogan had plugged the phone into her laptop in an attempt to get it working again after Apple remotely disabled it. She was convinced that Apple would be able to trace her Internet IP address as a result."

!!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:56 AM on May 17, 2010


Why the doublebang? She's right, of course.

You plug in a iPhone to your computer, chances are iTunes opens. (You can disable this if you so desire.) The phone pings Apple servers and checks for new firmware. I'm sure there's some sort of unique identifier, particularly on a prototype. The prototype checks in, flags go off, Apple checks their logs, finds the IP address in question. What is remotely unexpected or scary about this?
posted by entropicamericana at 4:01 PM on May 17, 2010


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