People lose their iPhones all the time. But it's not often that a super-secret prototype of a not-yet-released iPhone is carelessly left on the floor of a local drinking establishment.
But apparently that's what happened, according to two different gadget blogs. That this would happen to a company like Apple, which takes secrecy and security of its products very seriously, is surprising. Apple has not yet said there even is an iPhone 4G--although it's a safe bet there will be based on the pattern of the past three years. Steve Jobs has said that new iPhone software is coming "this summer," but the company has stopped short of acknowledging that new hardware is in the works.
Normally the first time we see a new Apple product it is in Jobs' hands while standing on a stage in front of an audience of geeks and journalists. So what happened this time?
To back up: Over the weekend, Engadget posted photos of what it said might be the iPhone 4G, or the next-generation version of Apple's phone. It said it was found on the floor of a bar in San Jose, Calif., and a tipster sent the photos into the gadget blog for posting. The pictures are sort of blurry and the device is never shown powered up, so it didn't seem that hard to dismiss as yet another fake iPhone knockoff.
Flash forward to Monday morning. Engadget's rival blog, Gizmodo, ups the ante with its own photos and video of what appears to be the same device, though it claims it's from "someone" who found it on the floor of a bar in Redwood City, Calif. How Gizmodo got its hands on it is unclear.
There have been several suggestions that Gizmodo's parent company, Gawker Media, bought it. A tweet from Gawker boss Nick Denton on Monday appeared to confirm Gawker's willingness to pay for stories, though Gizmodo hasn't yet responded to a request for comment. The company generated much publicity when Gizmodo's sister blog Valleywag announced a bounty on early access to an iPad. Denton has also considered paying for paparazzi-style photographs of sports stars for its sports blog Deadspin. It's not impossible that the company saw Engadget's pics and tracked down the person who sent it in and paid him or her for it.
Blogger John Gruber at DaringFireball.net says that, according to his contacts at Apple, the purported iPhone 4G is considered "stolen" by Apple.
Apple has not responded to a request for comment.
Assuming both Engadget and Gizmodo discovered the same device, there are some odd inconsistencies in the stories, such as the discrepancy between being lost at a bar in San Jose and Redwood City, as well as claims of seeing the device powered on, but not showing photos of it. Also, Gizmodo says it took the thing apart, yet it didn't post photos of the processor or the storage.
But more importantly, how did this happen?… Read more