Daniel Eran Dilger
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Gizmodo’s iPhone 4 story, as painted by PC World and IDG’s Apple haters

Daniel Eran Dilger

Windows Enthusiasts are busily chattering about Gizmodo’s iPhone 4 exposé, attempting to either create elaborate conspiracy theories that suggest Apple planned the whole thing, or alternatively, insisting that Apple screwed up and allowed a leak disaster that it could have prevented. They’re all wrong, here’s why.
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What actually happened

In a nutshell, the simple facts of what happened are that:

1) an Apple engineer foolishly left his prototype device behind

2) somebody discovered it, but lacked the technical expertise to shut off its mobile connection, allowing Apple to remotely wipe the device

3) the person who took the device home discovered that it had been wiped the next morning, but rather than attempting to return it, shopped it around to tech blogs

4) rather than taking pictures of it and then attempting to sell the shots to legitimate media sources, the person sold the phone (which at this point was clearly recognized to be stolen property under California’s statues) to Gawker Media’s Gizmodo

5) Gizmodo then presented a series of reports that photographed the outside and inside, and additionally trampled the privacy of engineer who lost the device, supposedly in a non-sensical attempt to “save his job.”

6) Apple requested the device be returned, and got it back before Gizmodo could actually present any truly new information about the next generation iPhone.

What I suspect happened

Shifting from fact to opinion, I’ll suggest that Steve Jobs is irrationally angry that the device was leaked, but that no real damage was done because the leak didn’t really expose anything that wasn’t widely expected, apart from its basic industrial design.

The leak did make the next generation iPhone look like a significant leap forward, possibly quelling some users’ worries that Apple wouldn’t move fast enough to catch up to its rivals in terms of screen resolution, LED “flash,” and a front facing camera.

Without the leak, there would likely be some concern over the next two months that Apple might just drop a iPhone 3GS+ with slightly rewarmed features. But leaking hardware is not how Apple rolls, with the company preferring instead to drop surprise bombs that erupt in media attention just as the device is actually ready to go on sale.

At the same time however, the leak gives Apple the benefit of a Microsoft-style vaporware announcement, except that instead of this next generation iPhone coming out at the end of the year, it’s expected to drop in just a couple months. All together, it’s hard to make much of a case that this leak was really all that damaging to Apple (it probably did destroy the summer, if not the career, of the affected engineer).

What Windows Enthusiasts think happened

Get ready to visit Narnia. Every time I walk through the wardrobe to see what these crazy impudent creatures are up to, it’s like another century has passed, Microsoft’s empire has crumbled by another order of magnitude, and the fossils of the 1990s are busy dancing out their bizarre interpretations of how Apple is the purest evil in their universe.

A bungling Apple foolishly leaked details after shunning magnanimous Gizmodo’s offer to keep it under wraps

Let’s start with Jeff Bertolucci of PC World. His take: “Apple botched it” because when Gizmodo supposedly called the company to return the device that it had just spend thousands of dollars to acquire, Apple Inc. failed to appropriately rush out and retrieve it. Because we all know that the reason Gizmodo invested so much money in buying the prototype was so it could return it to Apple in the most expensive manner possible without in any way benefitting from the leak.

“A more open Apple could’ve simply taken the phone back and said ‘thanks,’” Bertolucci wailed in bitter scorn over the loathsome corporation that has made PC World look like a joke. “But doing so would have been an admission that the device was, in fact, property of Apple. And Cupertino doesn’t discuss its unreleased products–ever.”

Which is why Apple never asked for the prototype back, or well.. no I can’t even spin this as anything other than raving idiocy even with copious amounts of sarcasm.

Most bizarrely, this PC World tool wrote that last bit at the end of his rant, after beginning with the line “Since Cupertino’s legal sharks requested in writing that Gizmodo return the iPhone, there’s little doubt the handset is the real deal.” Seriously, Bertolucci, are you a joke upon yourself? Are you paid to make PC World look stupider?

Apple Screwed Up Handling iPhone Gizmo-gate – PCWorld

The only thing worse than Apple are the loathsome people who don’t hate the company

Bertolucci spent most of his article delivering angry missives at Apple’s “legal sharks,” by which he means the company’s general counsel, who responded personally and professionally to Gizmodo without any blustering legal threats. “Apple may decide to make Gizmodo’s life miserable with some sort of nasty legal action,” Bertolucci mused, as if there were some sort of non-nasty legal action one might take against another party.

Bertolucci then takes the usual shots at “Apple’s most rabid enthusiasts,” who he fears might “vilify Gizmodo for the iPhone leak.” Vilify? You mean “rush to read excitedly and then widely disseminate”? Or perhaps you had in mind “criticize for its douchy personal exposure of the involved engineer,” or perhaps “question the legal or ethical behavior of paying for stolen prototypes, and then, while criticizing the secrecy of Apple, fail to disclose any of the real circumstances involved in obtaining the scoop,” is that what you were trying to… vilify?

Bertolucci gloats that Apple’s “summer party has been ruined,” after blaming the company for mishandling “an opportunity to plug the leak” due to a corporate culture of paranoia. This is so mindblowingly ridiculous on so many levels.

For starters, Apple’s “summer party” just got several days of widespread free publicity. My mother now knows that a new iPhone is coming out, and she can’t really tell the difference between an iPhone and an iPod touch. This is kind of like the coverage Microsoft paid dearly for in releasing Project Pink under its new name, except that the news of Microsoft’s phone aimed at minors with a sexually charged, Zune-like ad campaign actually wilted before the company could even dismantle its PR event banners.

Secondly, Apple never had any opportunity to plug the leak that it failed to avail itself of; Gizmodo was never going to pay five grand or so just to help Apple keep its prototype under wraps, and anyone who is stupid enough to print that with a straight face deserves to be laughed out of their job. What Apple did do is wipe the device so that Gizmodo couldn’t report anything material about the prototype or its features. Something Microsoft couldn’t manage to do last year, if you’re keeping track.

After the wipe, Gizmodo didn’t know what CPU or other chips it used, couldn’t say what resolution the screen was, didn’t tell us anything interesting about the cameras, and couldn’t even start the thing up. I guess there’s still a few reasons to attend the party in June after all. But not so many reasons to blow streamers for Android or Windows Phone 7. Or Palm webOS or BlackBerry or Symbian. They’re now set to compete against a phone with a new level of hardware sophistication which erases several of the unique features they could once boast exclusively.

The Tales of Two Top Secret Stolen Smartphone Prototypes

What conspiracy nutters think happened

The other, equally absurd line of nonsense emanating from the dripping faucet of tech media outlets comes via Robert X Cringely. No, not Mark Stephens, the former Cringely who went on to write silly things for PBS. This is the anonymous, trademarked columnist brand name InfoWorld publishes because it thinks somebody out there is interested in reading a column written by a variety of people pretending to be as nutty as Stephens once was in the employ of IDG.

The column is written in an irritating style that spends a lot of time going nowhere, only to “bet” that “this was a deliberate plant by Apple to generate interest in the new phone for an audience suffering from post-iPad fatigue.”

There’s a few problems with that crackpot theory. For starters, nobody is suffering from post-iPad fatigue, and certainly not Apple. Is InfoWorld really suggesting that Apple is purposely creating a distraction away from its current big release in order to promote a device it doesn’t even have ready to sell? Because that would be insane. If Apple wanted to leak some limited set of details, it would hold an Apple Event and get the legitimate tech media scrambling to attend, just like it does with every other product it is about to release for sale.

Secondly, Apple didn’t need to “generate interest” in the next iPhone. The interest is clearly already there, or Gizmodo’s coverage wouldn’t have generated a huge media blip as the story got syndicated around. Apple doesn’t usually generate interest through leaked details. What it does do is stoke interest by not releasing any details. The media anticipates a release and tries to fill in details, because the interest that’s already there creates a demand for information. So again, InfoWorld is backward in thinking that Apple would want to leak details in order to create interest in the next iPhone that isn’t going to be ready for sale for a couple months.

When Apple announced the original iPhone six months ahead of its availability, there was no existing iPhone to distract away from. Same thing for Apple TV, which was floated a few months before it actually went on sale. But now that Apple has an iPhone and iPod touch and various Mac models, leaking details for an upcoming revision is only a bad idea because it can only possibly take away from sales of is existing products. Other companies practice vaporware when their existing products are not competitive and they want to suggest that their upcoming ones will be better than the existing offerings of their rivals. Apple isn’t really in that position.

The piece then asserts that Apple “has done on witch hunts for people who leaked secrets about products that suck and sued bloggers for revealing same.” No, wrong again. Apple sued bloggers in an attempt to discover and subpoena their sources within Apple, not to prevent writers from reporting leaked information. That’s a pretty critically inaccurate statement for a quasi-journalist to get wrong.

Cringeworthy: Will the real Robert X please stand up and say something non-ridiculous

InfoWorld’s trademarked Cringely is a terrible writer, completely uninteresting, entirely wrong about every fact bumped into in the article, and not even entertaining. Contrast this with “I, Cringely,” the real Mark Stephens, who writes on his own blog these days.

Stephen’s version of Cringely managed to come up with his own unique take on the story, by which I mean no, I’m lying and they both generated the same bucket of predictable slop. “A quick survey of former and current Apple employees (okay, it was only four of them) came out 100 percent on the side of this being no accident but a deliberate plant on Apple’s part,” wrote Cringely-Stephens.

Oh dear, looks like being named “Cringely” in any way is tantamount to having “WinCE” installed on a product. No matter what, you’ll have a painful expression on your face when you experience it, as reflected by the name itself.

Proof of the Cringely-Stephens conspiracy theory: “Look how the story grabbed headlines and created free buzz for Apple at a time when Apple doesn’t have a new iPhone to flog in the face of new phones from Microsoft and a bunch of new Android devices.” Oh really? Would this be the Microsoft phones Microsoft doesn’t yet sell and won’t bring to market until the end of the year, or the existing Microsoft phones that Microsoft can’t sell as its WiMo market share plugs into obscurity?

And are the new Android phones you speak of the same things that Apple is currently outselling by a wide margin with last year’s iPhone 3GS model? Apple sold more iPhones this quarter than it did during the holidays, but it needs some sort of distracting hype to set it apart from copycats? Please.

I, Cringely » Blog Archive » So a Guy Walks into a Bar…

Let me write conspiracy for you amateurs

What all these nutters in Cringely clothing seemed to miss was that Gizmodo’s mobile website is monetized by Quattro Wireless, which is now owned by Apple. So if you wanted to stir up an insane conspiracy theory that this was all staged by Apple to distract away from the iPad launch and the existing iPhone 3GS that’s still selling like hotcakes, and to convert Apple into a vaporware company that insinuates that customers shouldn’t buy competitors’ products solely because it has something better planned real soon now, there’s a much more intelligent way to suggest that up is down and black is white.

You could simply build a story that says that Quattro’s existing terrible ads (the kind Steve Jobs derided in the phrase “mobile ads suck”) were employed by Apple to gain some unsubstantial amount of advertising revenues from the media circus event that briefly glanced additional traffic upon Gizmodo’s mobile site. Apparently because the company is too classy to put ads on its own website, which has several times the traffic of Gizmodo, and desperately needs some way to earn a few bucks without anyone noticing.

Of course, such sketchy facts that seemingly support an inside job conspiracy (until you spend time thinking about it) are not needed when crafting a conspiracy theory, because anyone who wants to believe something doesn’t really need any facts to fervently maintain their position. And there’s scientific evidence available that indicates that people who want to believe something nutty will only cling to their ideas even more intensely when presented with facts that prove they are wrong. That’s why I don’t try to convince the nutters. I just laugh at them.

Ironically, Gizmodo’s iPhone prototype web coverage was mobile-monetized by Apple’s Quattro ad network

  • hzc

    I wonder if any of these conspiracy theorists have AAPL stock. It would be funny if they did after all the garbage they spew. But hey, money is money, right?

  • http://127.0.0.1 Netudo

    It’s funny because I read “Roughly Drafted Magazine”, “I Cringely” and “Daring Fireball” and I like the three of them.

  • Maniac

    This all resoundingly proves that Apple has dominant mindshare. A decade ago, PC World could ignore nearly anything Apple did. Now they can’t. They’re forced to comment about Apple whether they want to or not. And when they do, they’re so pushed out of shape by Apple’s success that all they can do is write click-bait idiocy. I love it.

  • stormj

    Before this happened, I thought what everyone wanted to know was whether there would be a Verizon-compatible iPhone. Since Giz’s teardown didn’t get a complete parts list, they couldn’t see whether the theorized Qualcomm chip that does both GSM and CDMA, or some other chip that does the same, was in it. They rested their assumption entirely upon the logic that since it contained a MicroSIM port, it must be GSM. This is inconclusive: (1) if it does BOTH it would still need a SIM; or (2) the PCB might have a seat for another chip if two different versions are possible. (Of course, it could be neither and still be inconclusive because it was a prototype.)

    In other words, Giz failed to get the most sought after detail in their “scoop.” Anyone could have predicted it would have a slightly different design and a few new features like a slightly better camera. The paradigm shifting question is: Verizon or not.

    And while I strongly, strongly agree with their quote that “access journalism isn’t” you have to be suspicious anyone asserts some high ideal for their misconduct. Journalists shouldn’t allow their subjects to control the entire cycle. But so little of what Giz does is journalism, so much is rumor mongering, half-baked opinion meme creating, and trying to be on the kool kidz team. It’s straight off the sports page, in other words.

  • iLogic

    I find that I am less and less dismayed by the maniacal levels of punditry that has emerged against Apple since the iPhone’s launch. I think there is a link between this crazed antagonism and Apple’s outstanding performance. The better the company does, the more ridiculous the journalism.

    Good stuff Daniel.

  • jdb

    It is pretty easy to figure out that Apple didn’t “leak” on purpose. How would they be sure who picked up the phone in the bar? It is ridiculous to suppose that Apple would leave such a leak to fate. Or are people suggesting that Apple has some control over the person who picked up the phone and sold it to gizmodo?

    The whole line of speculation is just stupid. There is no chance that Apple did this on purpose. It doesn’t make sense.

  • gus2000

    I’d say Cringely is one chalkboard short of a Glen Beck.

  • http://www.yale.edu/chinesemac/index.html TenThousandThings

    Daniel,

    I still haven’t seen an explanation of how they got Powell’s name. I presume the person who found the phone and then stole it in order to sell it saw the name before the phone was wiped. If so, why didn’t they return it to him. They had all the information they needed to do so.

  • http://www.thecarbonlesspaper.com johnnyapple

    CLEARLY, Apple leaked the new iPhone on purpose to distract the media from it’s embarrassing quarterly results. Right?

  • veggiespam

    This was a prototype, meaning beta feature set. What if the final version does not have a feature found in this device? What if Apple found the LED flash doesn’t work very well and decides to remove it on the production model? Imagine the fall out from the tech press. Heck, what if the front-camera isn’t good enough? We’ve seen the indentation on the iPod Touch for a camera; what if the prototype for that (including camera) was lost – the press would vilify Apple more so than they did.

    If there was a feature to be removed, now Apple to save face, may have to delay the theorized June 22 announcement to correctly implement this problem-feature.

  • jdb

    @johnnyapple, Yeah it was to distract from the embarrassingly overwhelming quarterly results or the problem of the unexpectedly high sales of the iPad. Wouldn’t want the press talking about either of those things.

  • http://www.tofinotime.com tofino

    @veggiespam: that is a concern for sure. we don’t really know how late in the pre-production cycle those kind of decisions are made. does anybody know how much lead time apple usually needs to start final production runs for a launch?

    i’m also curious what this does to sales of apple’s current iphone. granted – people who read blogs like this have been expecting – and possibly waiting for – a june-ish release, but joe & jane consumer might be influenced to wait as well, after hearing this story on tv.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~daguy daGUY

    “this was a deliberate plant by Apple to generate interest in the new phone for an audience suffering from post-iPad fatigue.”

    That’s my favorite crackpot theory out of the bunch. Yeah, Apple really needs to distract from the fact that it sold *500,000 iPads in two days* (which is, uh, more successful than the launch of the original iPhone) by intentionally planting a prototype iPhone that doesn’t reveal what any of its new features are because it doesn’t boot. I think plenty of CEOs would kill for that kind of “fatigue.”

  • davesmall

    Apple is giving the PC Windows crowd a public whipping. Ditto for the Blackberry and Nokia crowd.

    No one enjoys being whipped so they’er whining and complaining and trying to spin it. Nothing surprising about that.

    I have to laugh at the Windows guys because they’re all steamed up about a new release of Microsoft Office. In case your memory is failing that’s a ten or fifteen year old software suite that we all used to use many moons ago. It is famous because it defined the term ‘bloatware.’

  • samgreen

    ‘How would they be sure who picked up the phone in the bar? It is ridiculous to suppose that Apple would leave such a leak to fate. Or are people suggesting that Apple has some control over the person who picked up the phone and sold it to gizmodo?”

    Well, yes. If you’re going to suggest a conspiracy, surely it’s not about Apple leaving an iphone in a bar and hoping for the best. It’s got to be about Apple hiring a guy to pretend to have found an iphone in a bar and to shop it around to engadget and giz. That’s crazy enough, but at least it doesn’t leave as much to chance.

  • John E

    the guy who sold the phone without trying at all to find its owner by simply contacting the bar where he got it or reporting it as “found” to the cops is clearly guilty of theft. calling apple (allegedly) is bs. Apple didn’t lose the phone, some guy did. and Gizmodo is guilt of receiving stolen property, since they knew the story too. bust ’em both!

  • MarkyMark

    I used to enjoy the “I, Cringley” column, until it finally literally drifted off into outer-space some time ago, and dropped off my radar as too boring to follow.

  • addicted44

    I think you need an update in your terminology Dan.

    The rabid Apple-haters aren’t the Microsofties anymore. Its the neck-bearded Googlers now.

    The new war is between Apple and Google. Much to my chagrin, though, I predict Google will outflank Apple in this battle. I have started detesting Google’s modus operandi, which is essentially to devalue everything on the internet (books, videos, etc.) so they can sell more ads. While Apple creates value in the products it builds (where people get their money’s worth in Apple products) Google goes around destroying value in the products it builds. On the other hand, it makes money by coaxing its customers to trade in their privacy for the “free” Google products.

  • NormM

    Daniel: you seem to have repeated the body of the article twice. At least that’s what I see in my browser.

  • cieran

    There’s a few holes in the story that’ve been bugging me, and you didn’t cover in this article. First, the prototype iPhone 4 obviously didn’t have a passcode set, as the guy in the bar who stole it claimed to have browsed it, trying to use the camera and reviewing the Apple engineer’s facebook app. While not having a passcode may be a personal preference for some, you’d think Apple security policy would mandate a passcode on all prototypes, especially ones that are going into the wild for real world testing.

    Second, it’s obvious the engineer reported it lost immediately to Apple since it was wiped the next day, but why wouldn’t Apple try some of their other options in MobileMe first? For starters, immediately setting a passcode remotely so that whoever found it wouldn’t be able to access it.

    Also, why not use the feature to display a message with contact info to return the lost device? And if that didn’t result in the device being returned, why not use the Find My iPhone option and actually send someone out to physically recover it?

    Remotely disabling the prototype before trying any of the other options seems mighty strange. Maybe they were just being paranoid and went with the most drastic method first, but if they were that paranoid you’d think they’d want to recover the hardware as well, and not simply be satisfied with zapping the software. Remember, it was stolen on March 18th, and Apple could have recovered the hardware on March 19th. Instead, they let a prototype piece of hardware float around for a whole month with apparently no effort whatsoever at recovery.

    I’m not saying I think Apple did this intentionally, but I’m perplexed by their actions once the iPhone was reported missing by the engineer.

    [There’s no holes in the story. The only thing we know about how Gizmodo acquired the prototype is its own version of the story. There’s no reason to think that the person who took the phone didn’t simply pickpocket it while it was on and unlocked. Companies usually have a security policy in place that would lock the phone after a period of time. It would be highly unusual if the prototype was not set to autolock.

    Gizmodo didn’t say (and perhaps didn’t know, because it didn’t get the phone until it was wiped) but it could be that the person who took it was locked out after taking a first brief look at the owner’s contact information and Facebook page (but not bothering to make any attempt to return it). Clearly, if there are any missing holes in the story, they are related to the incomplete narrative of what happened prior to Gizmodo acquiring it.

    As to why Apple didn’t spend time sending messages asking that it be returned or attempting to locate its position, we’re also left not knowing exactly what happened. But if I were working for Apple and discovered a prototype was missing, and that the person in possession of it was not making any attempt to return it (say, at the bar), I wouldn’t waste time sending the person notes that might clue them into the fact that it was linked to a MobileMe account and could be remotely disabled. I’d immediately wipe it, just as any other company would do.

    If the thief had realized the device was being tracked and subsequently turned off its radio using Airplane Mode, Apple would not have been able to track it or wipe it. The only thing that makes any sense is that Apple immediately acted to wipe it and render it unable to used. There’s nothing perplexing or confusing about that. Security policy never rests its hopes upon the good nature of others not to exploit vulnerabilities. – Dan ]

  • DesperateDan

    I think with this device we now see the maturing iPhone. Technical leadership now looks as if it’s in the bag (at least for a short while), but also I think the iPhone 4 software doesn’t have many holes left in it. Apart from, ahem, that Adobe thing a few people mentioned, it’s sorted for stuff like multitasking, decent email etc…

    It’s really going to be difficult to beat, which is why I think we’re going to see a HUGE amount about “no Flash” and restrictive developer practices. It’s the only thing they’ve got left to throw at it. The good news is that the average Joe doesn’t give a monkeys about this stuff. What they see is an extremely reliable and useful device with an app for everything, great video/still camera, oodles of storage space etc…

    I think it’s a dead-cert winner.

  • bartb

    Bill Gates ‘forgot’ his new Microsoft “Kin” phone at a bar… It’s still there.

  • PhilipWing

    Once I left my iPhone on a side table in my doctor’s office to talk with one of the staffers. By the time I turned around, a man picked it up and was poking at it, a very released iPhone 3G. I can believe a good thief could have picked it from him, just thinking it was a phone to sell. At least this fellow was smart, as compared to the thief who stole a laptop with the battle plans for Desert Storm in the early 90s out of the trunk of a car.

  • ChuckO

    I think this is maybe the biggest tempest in a teapot ever. The scariest thing to me is that these people like the PC World guy have dedicated and\or sizable readerships. Those folks should be put down before their lives become any more tedious. I mean using Microsoft stuff is one thing, being a MS enthusiast is beyond the pale. It would be like being in the fan club of one of your local weathermen\ladies just too dorky and sad.

  • feral

    Has the name of the thief ever come to light?
    Everything else seems to have been covered extensively.

    [Gizmodo seems very open about everything that would not implicate it in any sort of investigation – Dan]

  • http://chrissyone.wordpress.com/ ChrissyOne

    Still not buying a word of it. >.<

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  • dnil8r

    @ comment 20
    Clearly Apple has contingency plans for situations such as this and it was enacted according to some protocol. Remotely disabling the phone left more questions than answers and made the situation a little more bearable for Apple. As for me, i think the proposed new design is exactly what the new iphone needs to give it a unique look from the iPod touch (at least the current gen iPod).

  • gctwnl

    Dan, I’d be interested in a link to the evidence of believers only believing more strongly in teh face of dissenting facts. I recall having read the same somewhere, but it would be interesting to provide a link. Can you provide it?

  • http://www.cyclelogicpress.com Neil Anderson

    Bigger iPhone battery! What’s not to like? :)

  • gslusher

    Update: a police unit has raided the home of the blogger/editor who wrote the Gizmodo story and removed his Mac(s) and server(s), saying that they may have been used to commit a felony. The cops had a warrant and, as the guy wasn’t home at the time, broke down his door. Gawker Media has cried “Foul!” claiming that the blogger’s rights as a journalist under the California Shield Law had been violated. To me (not an attorney!), there is a big difference between reporting about a crime and participating in the crime. The former is probably covered by the Shield Law, but I doubt that the latter is.

  • md5sum

    First, let me say that I’m not an “Apple hater”. I own and regularly use both an iPhone, and a 6-month-old MacBook Pro. I’m fairly fond of both. However, this article is riddled with things that can not be proven.

    “3) the person who took the device home discovered that it had been wiped the next morning, but rather than attempting to return it, shopped it around to tech blogs

    4) rather than taking pictures of it and then attempting to sell the shots to legitimate media sources, the person sold the phone (which at this point was clearly recognized to be stolen property under California’s statues) to Gawker Media’s Gizmodo”

    These two are the most blatantly obvious fallacies. We still have no idea who the finder of the iPhone was, so making the assumption that he didn’t attempt to return it is ludicrous at best, and completely stupid at worst. If the phone was lost on March 18, the Gizmodo release was on April 19, then the guy obviously didn’t just wake up and start looking for buyers of “stolen property”.

    [No, YOU don’t know who the finder was. Apple knows and the police know. There is overwhelming evidence that he took it and sat on it for weeks. Anyone who’s had their phone stolen in a bar would be outraged to have some dick hold onto their phone, then publish all their private information on the web, then print your name and pictures of you, then insist that you send them a formal request to get it back so they could print it and prove it was yours, only to give it back after several weeks of holding onto it.

    Your defending that behavior is what is “ludicrous at best, and completely stupid at worst.” – Dan]

    Secondly, under California penal code, a person only has to make “reasonable effort” to return found items. Which according to what we have been told, he informed Gizmodo that he did. If he did, and (as Gizmodo claims) Apple didn’t believe him, then he’s done his due diligence in returning the device. Given the month between the finding of the device, and the report on the device, I’d say that this is quite probable.

    [This is such bullshit. They had the owner’s Facebook info, the bar to return it to, the company to return it to, the police to return it to, and Apple showing up at their door asking for it back. Saying that anyone made any attempt to return it is “ludicrous at best, and completely stupid at worst.”]

    Do I think it was an Apple conspiracy? No. Apple really doesn’t need that sort of press. The conspiracy, in my opinion, is the team that raided the journalist’s house, trampling on his journalistic rights (and you can say whatever you want about “rumor-mongering” or whatever, it’s still the press)… this team called REACT has Apple sitting in the steering committee. Wonder how a “law enforcement agency” raids a guys house illegally after an alleged theft? Just have the “victim” on the steering committee… that’ll grease those wheels a bit.

    [“Conspiracy” is a secret plan to do something illegal or harmful. Apple’s support of law enforcement, and law enforcement’s efforts to uphold the rule of law is not a conspiracy. It is laughable that you would even conceive such outrageous hyperbole in your efforts to make excuses for the knuckle-dragging idiots involved in this dick-move theft operation.

    You can defend Gizmodo’s efforts to scoop the secret find (which might be a trade secrets matter, but certainly not criminal) but you can’t make excuses for stealing the thing from an engineer and refusing to give it back for what appears to be a month. That’s inexcusable. ]

    Now, eventually, all the facts about this will come to light, but until then, let’s at a BARE MINIMUM stop with the broad accusations and blaringly obvious omissions of fact… let’s stop throwing our theory of what could/might have happened under a heading of “What actually happened”. If you want to claim something is rumor-mongering, I suggest you read your own article.

    [The only fact-free accusations being thrown around concern your above stated “conspiracy theories” about how Apple was somehow wrong for reporting the theft of its prototype. Gawker Media has publicly admitted to paying to receive stolen merch in order to prevent the return until they could seek to financially benefit from it. – Dan]

  • md5sum

    Apple knows and the police know… yes, likely, since the finder has a trouble ticket at Apple, and the police seized a journalists equipment. I’ve seen no direct verification that he has been contacted, and what his story is, only rumor. Despite that, Gizmodo isn’t guilty of theft if the person selling them the phone spun them a pile of crap.

    I’m not going to specifically comment on the rest of your needless and incessant comments, except to request that you provide a link to the last statement you made.

    I will say however, that based on the comments I see here, that you believe anyone who disagrees with you is a fool. I admit that any person who disagrees with you, and posts comments about it here would be a fool if they didn’t expect to be ridiculed by you though after reading your little tantrum over my comments.

    I look forward to seeing that link in this comment. I also look forward to more mindless drivel from you. Commenting on your blog could potentially provide me with entertaining content for months!