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Gizmodo paid $5K for exclusive iPhone 4G prototype [u]

post #1 of 80
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Allegedly "lost" in a bar in Redwood City, Calif., Apple's next-generation iPhone prototype was obtained and revealed by Gizmodo months before its expected formal announcement by paying a hefty sum.

On Saturday, Engadget originally posted a story with photos of the fourth-generation iPhone hardware. The story was updated numerous times, including one addition by editor Joshua Topolsky that suggested the photos may have been of a fake device. That update said the owners of the purported iPhone prototype were seeking $10,000 for the hardware, though the information was later removed from the post.

Then, on Monday, Gizmodo's Jason Chen posted a hands-on look at the hardware, including a teardown of the device to reveal its inner, Apple-branded workings. Prior to that bombshell, the website had remained suspiciously quiet about the photos posted by Engadget.

Following Monday's story, the founder and owner of Gawker Media -- the parent company of Gizmodo -- bragged on Twitter that he is willing to pay for exclusives. Nick Denton did not, however, reveal how much his company paid for the iPhone scoop.

Update: Later Monday, the Associated Press revealed that Gawker paid $5,000 for the device.

Denton also discredited what he called "a few clueless geeks" who think "real journalists" wait for Apple to make a formal announcement of a product. "Screw that," Denton wrote on Twitter, where his profile refers to himself as a "gossip merchant."

While the traffic count for Gizmodo skyrocketed Monday and the website refrained from publishing any other news for much of the day, the story behind the iPhone 4G prototype -- including where it came from and how the publication obtained it -- remained unknown. But Denton teased that more information is forthcoming: "For people who want to know the backstory to Gizmodo's iPhone exclusive, it's coming. And it's a corker."



Gawker also owns Valleywag, which gained attention in January when it offered a "bounty" of up to $100,000 for anyone who would let them use a then-unannounced iPad for one hour. Apple's lawyers quickly responded with a cease-and-desist letter, alleging that the "bounty" was in violation of California laws protecting trade secrets. Valleywag editor Gabriel Snyder responded by publishing the letter from Apple's attorneys, and encouraging any who might seek the cash reward to "stay within the bounds of the law" and use anonymous e-mail addresses. "We can't tell Apple who you are if we don't know who you are," Snyder wrote.

Though nothing has been said in public, it's likely that Apple's attorneys will also become involved in the iPhone 4G prototype leak. After Gizmodo's story went up Monday morning, Daring Fireball's John Gruber shared information from sources who suggested that the device is considered "stolen" from Apple, not lost.



The leak takes away much of the mystery that would have otherwise surrounded Apple's anticipated unveiling of the next-generation iPhone at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, expected to be held in June. It's also an extremely unexpected turn of events for Apple, a company that goes to great lengths to keep its unannounced products under tight wraps.

Before the iPad was released -- but after it was unveiled -- some developers and publications with advanced units were allegedly required to keep the hardware "under padlock and key," as News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch put it.

Another report claimed that developers who had an iPad prior to release had to lock the hardware to an immovable object in an isolated room where all of the windows were completely blacked out. Those developers were also required to sign and submit more than a 10-page non-disclosure agreement along with photographic evidence that they've met all of the provisions set forth.

Apple's tight-lipped nature was profiled last year by the New York Times, which said the company's veil of secrecy began to take shape around the release of the original Macintosh back in 1984. One employee said that employees working on secret projects must "pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices." Employees in these top-secret areas are allegedly monitored by surveillance cameras as they work, and those working on the most sensitive projects are reportedly required to "cover up devices with black cloaks when they are working on them, and turn on a red warning light when devices are unmasked so that everyone knows to be extra-careful."



Gizmodo said that Apple took its own measures to conceal the iPhone 4G prototype it obtained, going as far as to wrap it in a plastic case housing that made it look like an iPhone 3GS. The report called the case a "perfect disguise."

But Apple also sometimes leaks information to its advantage, as one former marketing manager explained earlier this year. Whether or not the leak was intentional, it's the second high-profile reveal of an Apple device before its formal announcement this year. Hours before Apple co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, a photograph of the hardware alleged to be taken from inside Apple's headquarters was leaked to Engadget.
post #2 of 80
Selling stolen goods? Receiving stolen goods?

I like the iPhone - but I know to give it back to the owner if I find it.
post #3 of 80
I'm calling intentional leak on this one. It seems so orchestrated. And look at all the buzz already; it only benefits Apple.
post #4 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomhayes View Post

Selling stolen goods? Receiving stolen goods?

If it really was lost then found, nothing was stolen.
Quote:
I like the iPhone - but I know to give it back to the owner if I find it.

Good but how would one identify the owner in this case?
It's not gonna be registered at Apple (except in the office of the guy who signed for it).
Find a "regular" iPhone/iPod, you can call Apple and give them the serial number and they will notify the last registered owner and pass on your contact info so they can call you and get it back.
post #5 of 80
Gizmodo can expect a threatening call from Apple's lawyers. I mean if your personal artifact was stolen and then publicly sold from hand to hand while being documented you would take action also. You can't just knowingly buy/take something that doesn't belong to you and use it make money buy attracting web traffic on a tech site. I would have handed it back and enjoyed the good graces of Apple for life...especially being a reporter of the apple industry.
post #6 of 80
My sentiments exactly.

I'm really appalled they would try and seduce people to essentially break the law with bags of dirty money they get from their advertisers who should also be implicated in this fraudulent activity as co-conspirators.
post #7 of 80
I'm going to take a WAG and say that this prototype iPhone was spirited out of one of Apple's jobber shops in China. No way it got out of Fortress Cupertino unnoticed.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #8 of 80
That's kinda cheap for an "exclusive" story.
post #9 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

If it really was lost then found, nothing was stolen.

Good but how would one identify the owner in this case?
It's not gonna be registered at Apple (except in the office of the guy who signed for it).
Find a "regular" iPhone/iPod, you can call Apple and give them the serial number and they will notify the last registered owner and pass on your contact info so they can call you and get it back.

1)It's illegal to purchase something from someone that they do not own. If it was "found" or "pick-pocketed" makes no real difference. If the person does not own it they can not sell it. (And finder's keeper's is not a legal strategy for something like this.)

2)Here's how to return it: Call Apple, tell them you have it and that you'd like to bring it to Steve Jobs. I'd bet you that Mr. Jobs would meet/greet the Gizmodo reporter at the front door.

Even if Gizmodo broke no laws (which I think they might) they certainly broke an ethical code for journalists. We're talking about a phone - not someone whistle-blowing on a company.
post #10 of 80
What better way to flush out leaks than to set the bait.
post #11 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by estolinski View Post

I'm calling intentional leak on this one. It seems so orchestrated. And look at all the buzz already; it only benefits Apple.

Seriously? You've got to be kidding.

There is no way on god's green earth that Apple would leak like this. Apple does NOT leak. I mean, c'mon, they didn't even show ANYTHING about iPhone OS 4, until the big preview event. You really think they are just going to casually let a prototype iPhone fall into the wrong hands? If you truly believe that, you have no clue.
post #12 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by initiator View Post

Seriously? You've got to be kidding.

There is no way on god's green earth that Apple would leak like this. Apple does NOT leak. I mean, c'mon, they didn't even show ANYTHING about iPhone OS 4, until the big preview event. You really think they are just going to casually let a prototype iPhone fall into the wrong hands? If you truly believe that, you have no clue.

Nonsense...if indeed this is the case when it comes to Apple products:
Quote:
One employee said that employees working on secret projects must "pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices." Employees in these top-secret areas are allegedly monitored by surveillance cameras as they work, and those working on the most sensitive projects are reportedly required to "cover up devices with black cloaks when they are working on them, and turn on a red warning light when devices are unmasked so that everyone knows to be extra-careful."

Then it was an intentional leak. If that's the process Apple uses, then this iPhone would not be accidentally left in a bar or taken to a BAR in the first place! A BAR! Come on...
post #13 of 80
If this is real and is not a leak, Gizmodo better get their affairs in order. If it is not real or is an Apple red herring, we will be laughing our butts off.
post #14 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by LouisTheXIV View Post

Then it was an intentional leak. If that's the process Apple uses, then this iPhone would not be accidentally left in a bar or taken to a BAR in the first place! A BAR! Come on...

Forget the stupid left in a bar story. Think China.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #15 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

If it really was lost then found, nothing was stolen.

Not entirely true. You will get in to trouble in court for receiving stolen goods if it turns out at the end of the day that they were in fact, stolen. It doesn't matter if you knew it or not, or if the guy selling them to you told you he found them in a bar. You are still liable and criminally responsible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Good but how would one identify the owner in this case?

There is a giant logo on the back saying "Apple." That's how you know who to return it to.

The thing is that Gizmodo apparently *bought* it for 10,000 dollars. It's hard to interpret that any other way than them buying a "real" Apple prototype, or what they certainly believed was a real Apple prototype. They then hung onto it for a week, taking it apart, trying to get it to work etc.

It's a pretty hard sell to imply that they didn't know it belonged to Apple. If it turns out to be stolen (rather than "found in a bar"), then Gizmodo is on the hook for receiving stolen property at minimum, possibly for conspiracy as well if it can be proven they knew it was stolen.
post #16 of 80
It's my estimation they are in receipt of stolen goods if there's any substance to this latest report. Gizmodo is in deep legal trouble. Say "goodbye" Gizmodo!

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #17 of 80
I'm sold, and I guess most new user or current iphone user are sold to the new iphone 4th. but that left APPLE WWDC nothing to present.
post #18 of 80
Ops, I guess someone will not be invited to Apple event in Jun.
post #19 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by estolinski View Post

I'm calling intentional leak on this one. It seems so orchestrated. And look at all the buzz already; it only benefits Apple.

Bologna. I don't doubt that Apple intentionally leaks info, but they want to build people up to a fervor leading up to the announcement. This is why you start seeing real info come out a week, days, and hours leading up to an announcement. With the iPhone 4G announcement still months off a leak of this magnitude make that virtually impossible. How could they possibly build hype now leading up to an announcement?


PS - The real excitement for a forward facing camera should be for Johnny Lee style pseudo 3D head tracking based games. NOT video chat. Video chat is something people use for 5 minutes after they buy a new computer as an "ooh cool! look what I can do now" feature then promptly forget about.
post #20 of 80
The fact that it was in it's own special case designed to make it look like any other iPhone means it was MEANT to be carried outside. Now it might have been stolen from whoever had it in their possession outside of Apple's offices, but I don't think it was smuggled outside of Apple's offices to the outside world.
post #21 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by initiator View Post

Seriously? You've got to be kidding.

There is no way on god's green earth that Apple would leak like this. Apple does NOT leak. I mean, c'mon, they didn't even show ANYTHING about iPhone OS 4, until the big preview event. You really think they are just going to casually let a prototype iPhone fall into the wrong hands? If you truly believe that, you have no clue.

What if it is exactly what you said it is, a prototype? Apple probably has dozens of models laying around. Why haven't Apple's lawyers gotten involved at all??

This is most likely a prototype. Sure the electronics are probably the same, but I bet the final design is not. If this was the final design, Steve has everyone working overtime right now to change it into something better that they can present in June!
post #22 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post


PS - The real excitement for a forward facing camera should be for Johnny Lee style pseudo 3D head tracking based games. NOT video chat. Video chat is something people use for 5 minutes after they buy a new computer as an "ooh cool! look what I can do now" feature then promptly forget about.

Not true. I use video chat all the time with my business partners on skype and ichat.


Anyway, this looks good, however I'll wait for the 4g one, thanks.
post #23 of 80
This is an intentional leak by Apple.
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post #24 of 80
It's a plant.
Now everyone will be watching the next keynote to see. What better marketing tool then a little intrigue. Get the buzz going early... make people hold off on their HTC or any other smartphone purchase.
It's in the public's psyche now. Regardless of how Apple spins it.
post #25 of 80
It's pretty suspicious to me. Just the fact that there are some breaks in the edge piece towards the bottom suggests to me that it's not a production design. Nothing Apple sells right now that I can think of has such obvious breaks in the perimeter.

I was figuring that Apple would be moving towards a unibody shell with a shape like the iPad.
post #26 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

If it really was lost then found, nothing was stolen.

Good but how would one identify the owner in this case?

The article is pretty much a confession that the Gizmodo folks knew that it was Apple's property when they allegedly paid for it and then dismantled.
post #27 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post

...Video chat is something people use for 5 minutes after they buy a new computer as an "ooh cool! look what I can do now" feature then promptly forget about.

Add some cheese to your bologna sandwich. Video chat is an essential daily part of our family and business connections in Taiwan. The same is equally true for many of my Chinese friends/associates. I couldn't cite usage numbers for the broader market, but I suspect Skype could. In any case, enhancing communication is a far greater usage than your impression.
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post #28 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

It's a plant.
Now everyone will be watching the next keynote to see. What better marketing tool then a little intrigue. Get the buzz going early... make people hold off on their HTC or any other smartphone purchase.
It's in the public's psyche now. Regardless of how Apple spins it.


I bet SJ will start the key note with "Sure i lost my new 4G iPhone. Shit happens." And take something different from his pocket.
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post #29 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

It's a plant.

I agree:

(1) It's a spectacularly unappetizing product
(2) Apple's got some smart, creative talent. After a few beers I assume they'd come up with a sting.. like this.

Don't know the motive though: cat & mouse or flush
post #30 of 80
I agree with the person who noticed the Philips head screws. No way would Apple would let people open the iPhone. It is a fake, there are plenty of fake Iphones sold around the world.
post #31 of 80
Hit whores know no bottom when looking for attention. If this is stolen property, Gizmodo and its sleeze owner ought to be held accountable.
post #32 of 80
perhaps stolen
but the new HTC "droid incredible" was also released today i think
if that 's the case as a consumer it makes sense to know ASAP which phones
to choose from
so it could have been a plant to neutralize the HTC new android phone

one thing by making it less "rounded" allow a bigger battery yea

i wonder if many thinking of an android will now wait for june

knowing that iphone 4.0os can use a BT keyboard and has video chat capability i won't pack my macbook
my phone becomes MUCH MORE VERSATILE

still they also need to make mobileme more robust
better calendar and sync notes from the iphone
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post #33 of 80
If this is true, then they are rewarding a thief. Not only that, someone is most likely going to lose a job. How hard would it be to hold onto the phone, and wait for the owner to call? Regardless of it's value, it's not yours, and this will eventually come full circle. I hope the money was worth it. Loser.
post #34 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by initiator View Post

Seriously? You've got to be kidding.

There is no way on god's green earth that Apple would leak like this. Apple does NOT leak. I mean, c'mon, they didn't even show ANYTHING about iPhone OS 4, until the big preview event. You really think they are just going to casually let a prototype iPhone fall into the wrong hands? If you truly believe that, you have no clue.

Sorry but if you believe it was unintentional you need to find a store that sells clues quickly.

Apple is well known for their security. This was well thought through. I'll stand by that.

Iphone OS4 was/is not groundbreaking. Too, it was picked apart and written about weeks before its official preview.

I'm afraid you are mistaken as your whole argument falls apart.
post #35 of 80
What I find slightly suspicious is the lack of any "cease and desists" from Apple so far......

It means either:

- Apple leaked it and wants the buzz to build (and get in-the-wild feedback on the new design/changes), or...

- Someone actually "lost" it and Apple doesn't want to reveal that it's genuine by issuing a cease and desist, or...

- It's definitely a hoax, and Apple simply isn't vested in it, or...

- It's a real prototype, but far different than the end-product will be, so they're not jumping on shutting down the rumor-mill...?

We read that the person who found it "said it was functioning, but that Apple remotely shut it down". So, although it has lots of "real" components, no-one other than the original 'finder' knows if it functions as a real iPhone...? Who "found" it? How trustworthy are they? How do we really know it ever worked at all?

I'm sure Apple has numerous advanced prototypes of the next-gen iPhone. I admit I'm surprised by the changes in styling.

The return to the "brick" form, less hand-friendly than the rounded back of the 3GS.

The new buttons on the side are more Microsoft/mainstream-aesthetics than Apple-aesthetics...


I think this could be a real prototype, but I will be surprised if this is a final design. There are too many things about it that smack of a "third-party" design involved...

just my 2-cents
post #36 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Ops, I guess someone will not be invited to Apple event in Jun.

Ha ha, this is probably the most true statement in this thread!
post #37 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by estolinski View Post

I'm calling intentional leak on this one. It seems so orchestrated. And look at all the buzz already; it only benefits Apple.

You know, I agree with you. I believe the buzz around the iPad could contribute to Apple burnout, if news about the new iPhone was released by Apple itself. But info gained from a "lost" prototype? Yes, that's free advertising and it's not from Apple so you can't blame them.
post #38 of 80
1. Only an executive at Apple would be permitted to carry around a pre-production model.
2. If such a person had such a device it would work and contain personal data that clearly identified the owner.
Therefore it can't have come from Cupertino.

Apple doesn't engage in hardware leaks. They locate and plug internal leaks using nothing more damaging than words.

China is home to knock-offs of practically every "western" product out there. Some even come from the same factories as the real ones.

Chinese factories have Apple-like security, but smugglers can be ingenious and determined if western currency or freedom is offered.

Given the number of Apple components inside it seems to me that Gizmodo got their hands on a prototype illegally smuggled out of China.

Prototypes rarely match finished products. The case is far too square to be anything but an electronics test bed.
post #39 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowhide View Post

I agree with the person who noticed the Philips head screws. No way would Apple would let people open the iPhone. It is a fake, there are plenty of fake Iphones sold around the world.

You mean the philips screws like on every 3G and 3Gs? Oh yeah, those philips head screws!!!

EDIT:not the 1st gen.
post #40 of 80
Any idea on the Evo 4g release date? Or the Droid Incredible?

This is way too suspicious for it to be happenstance. Apple is obviously reacting to other releases.

I'm glad Apple is at least copying the dual-microphone idea from the nexus one for noise cancellation. It should improve the iPhone call quality significantly.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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