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MiBad: An iPhone engineer walks into a bar ... and makes a very bad call

Anonymous Coward
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04/20/2010 10:39 PM
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MiBad: An iPhone engineer walks into a bar ... and makes a very bad call
Millions of tipsy patrons have experienced the annoyance of losing a phone at a bar. But rarely is that phone a top-secret prototype of one of the most sought-after gadgets on Earth.

Web geeks everywhere were stunned this week after popular tech blog Gizmodo managed to get its hands on the fourth generation of the iPhone – a device that Apple has yet to release to the public. The news was especially shocking because Apple tends to guard its unreleased products the way Fort Knox guards gold.

What followed online was high drama involving camouflaged gadgets, thousands of dollars in payoffs and sternly worded letters from corporate lawyers.

[link to beta.images.theglobeandmail.com]


According to Gizmodo, a man enjoying a mid-March drink at the Gourmet Haus Staudt bar in Redwood City, Calif., found a misplaced iPhone on the table next to his. The man waited for the owner to come back, the story goes, before taking the phone home and attempting to return it to Apple, which never responded to his calls. Eventually, the man noticed the phone didn’t look quite right. After peeling back the cover that Apple used to camouflage the device, he saw a brand-new, fourth-generation iPhone.


The phone reportedly was originally in the possession of an Apple software engineer named Gray Powell. The engineer was out celebrating his 27th birthday, and taking the next-gen iPhone for a spin in the real world. Apple consistently field-tests its gadgets before unleashing them on the public, and it appears Mr. Powell was one of a very select few who got to take the device off Apple’s campus. Unfortunately, he promptly forgot it on a bar stool.


In Gizmodo’s version of events, the man who found the iPhone made every effort to return it to its rightful owner. Whether that’s true or not, the next-gen iPhone eventually netted a cool $5,000 – that’s how much the blog paid for the prototype. It also appears that the man who found the iPhone shopped it around to a number of possible buyers. Shortly before Gizmodo acquired the phone, a rival tech blog – Engadget – posted photos of the very same device, but didn’t pay for it.


An average Gizmodo blog post gets between 5,000 and 50,000 views. Within two days, the blog’s iPhone post was closing in on six million views. Major media outlets came calling, and within minutes news of Apple’s newest device was on every major tech blog in the world.


It didn’t take long for Apple to act. Only a few hours after Gizmodo’s initial blog post, the company sent a letter to the blog saying it wanted its “device” back. Gizmodo appears to have complied. There was some speculation that Apple could sue the blog for giving away trade secrets, but that appears unlikely. Instead, Apple’s newest phone received an overwhelming wave of free publicity over the course of 48 hours. With the frenzy dying down, Web sleuths are left to ponder whether Apple intentionally “lost” the device, whether Gray Powell really exists and what the ethics are of paying to obtain an exclusive story – the actual emergence of the new iPhone being, at best, a secondary element in the saga.

[link to www.theglobeandmail.com]

Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 948804
04/20/2010 11:02 PM
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Re: MiBad: An iPhone engineer walks into a bar ... and makes a very bad call