The (Increasingly Plausible) Miraculous Engadget (and Gizmodo) iPhone 4G

Okey-doke. I wish to call your attention to my final comment on the supposed iPhone 4G that someone found in a bar in the San Francisco Bay area:

“Who the hell knows? Maybe this really is the next iPhone.”

There have been three developments since I posted that piece late Saturday night:

1) Engadget triumphantly pointed to a blurry partial shape located way off in the corner of a blurry photo of a prototype iPad they published well before the latter’s release. They offered it as conclusive proof that their supposed iPhone 4G was the real deal, and not an Asian knockoff.

I think the only thing it proves is that Engadget was starting to feel the heat and were very, very (VERY) hopeful that they hadn’t just embarrassed themselves.

2) Over on Daring Fireball, John Gruber threw his cautious support behind this prototype, saying that he made a few phone calls and implying that he was able to get information that something like this phone had recently gone rogue in some way or the other.

And this got my full attention. I don’t know Gruber to be desperate for pageviews, nor in my experience has he been the type to be so eager to be “the guy” with a certain story that he wouldn’t perform necessary diligence.

Also — and this bit will become key in a moment — he acknowledges fuzzy areas in the story and tries to fill those gaps by explaining his reasoning, and provided at least a little bit of background on how he reached those conclusions. So this Daring Fireball post carried a lot of weight with me.

Finally,

3) Today, Gizmodo posted a hands-on feature article about this same iPhone 4G.

They claim to have had it for a full week. They weren’t able to boot it past the familiar “Connect to iTunes” screen (which is what you’d see if you’d found an iPhone that had been remote-wiped). They claim that this screen, at least, shows a super-higher-res display. The list of specifications (front-facing camera and better display) is in line with what we’d expect from a new iPhone.

Then they took it apart, and confirmed that it’s filled with Apple components.

Okey-doke. Given that they didn’t say “It has the same guts as an iPhone 3GS,” we have to conclude that this is indeed a rogue Apple iPhone prototype.

Interesting. On a number of levels.

Well, you now know about as much about this device as I do. The only thing I can add to the discussion is the complicated topic of “What are a journalist’s responsibilities with a story like this?”

I didn’t even really bother to look into Engadget’s story. I spent all day Sunday at the MIT Flea Market and frankly, I had better things to do than fire off emails and make a bunch of late-night phone calls to check into a story that looked like every other vague “ZOMG!!!! TOP-SECRET HARDWARE PROTOTYPE!!!!!!!” piece I’ve ever seen.

Instead, I wrote about what I thought about the story…chiefly because the phone looked like a knockoff and the story gave me the chance to get out my own counterfeit iPhone and talk about that subject for a bit.

My final opinion was incorrect but my thinking was spot-on. There’s a difference between a counterfeit (like my fake iPhone 3G) and a mere knockoff. A knockoff isn’t sold with the intent that it’ll survive side-by-side scrutiny. It’s there to fulfill someone’s desire to have something like the real thing. It’s aimed at the classic globalization fanboy: it’s not the features that they want…it’s the logo.

And this Apple prototype does indeed look like a knockoff. Remember what I said about the “design brief” of a knockoff? Every design choice is the answer to the question “How can we redesign this to make it way, way less expensive to manufacture?” This prototype is full of flat surfaces — easy as pie to fabricate — and studded with round switches that can be installed without any custom tooling.

The innards of this prototype appear to be genuine, based on Gizmodo’s dissection. But I still have some doubts about the case. This could be just a “carrying around” design, built to give the innards shape and form for human testing. It’s possible that Apple never had any intention of using it as the design of the actual consumer product. “We just need to slap this in an iPhone-like case so that we can test the electronics” is another reason to choose an “easy and cheap to build” design.

(Admittedly, “What changes can we make to increase Apple’s profits?” is another reason for “easy and cheap to build.”)

So what would I have done if this device had fallen into my hands and I were convinced it was genuine?

Honestly, I have no idea. I have obligations to my readers. I also have obligations to the concept of fair play.

I think the driving element for my decision would have been the fact that I’ve never really been interested in breaking a news story. The payoff for the reader is minimal with a story like this. Despite getting their hands on the phone months ahead of schedule, Gizmodo’s story is merely “Apple’s new phone will have a radical redesign and its big features are a front-facing camera and a vastly-improved screen. Which we all pretty much knew anyway.

But how well does all of this work? What are the tradeoffs of these new features? Is it worth the money for the upgrade? Does it change the nature of the device?

Et cetera. That’s what drives me. “Get there first” sites like Gizmodo and Engadget are doing important work, too; I’m not denigrating what they do. It just happens to be work that doesn’t particularly interest me.

Plus, I’d be gravely concerned about how I’d come into possession of this phone. Gizmodo’s story is very, very fishy and they need to be far more open about the provenance of the device.

Right now, they’re sticking to the story that

Step One: This phone was lost in a Redwood City bar;

Step Two: (nervous cough);

Step Three: They got it last week.

They need to fill us in about Step Two. A reader isn’t going to assume that it turned up in the mail one day in a padded mailer with no return address accompanied by an unsigned note reading “Big fan of the site, thought you’d be interested in this” printed in Comic Sans.

Did Gizmodo pay somebody for this phone?

Was this phone actually found in a bar? Or was it stolen from the Apple campus?

The second-most-serious question: did somebody steal it from the Apple campus with the intent of selling it to a news site?

The single most serious question: was Gizmodo in any way responsible for the theft of an Apple prototype?

These are all reasonable questions. Gizmodo really needs to address them.

What about Engadget’s piece on Saturday? I dunno. It doesn’t seem unlikely that they got wind of Gizmodo’s Monday feature story and decided to translate the thin information they had into pageviews while their photos still had some commercial value. The fact that they had clean, clear photos also invites me to wonder if the — let’s call him “The Lucky Bar Patron Who Found The Phone” — set up a little bidding war, and the photos were merely the overture to a financial battle that Engadget ultimately lost.)

I’m a little bit immune from this sort of stuff. Like I said, I’m not in the Shocking Breaking News business. In the end, I try to do what’s best for my readers. I once asked a VP an innocent series of questions that gave me a suspicion; a single leading follow-up question inspired him to blab that his software company was about to be bought by a Well-Known Industry Titan. Have you seen a face literally go ashen before? We were on the record and we both knew instantly that he’d just ****ed himself and his company.

But it wasn’t information that was going to be useful to my readers. Moreover, the collateral damage to this man and his company would have been major, and I have a conscience. So I reproached him a little and told him that I was retroactively taking that statement off the record. Which is technically not something journalists are supposed to do, but what the hell.

(This is why there’s often a third party in the room at all times during a briefing or a Q&A. Smart agents can flash a warning to the client before they say something they shouldn’t…and if it gets out anyway, they can start doing damage control immediately.)

Beyond the idea of not wanting to harm people needlessly, there’s also the ever-present worry that I’ve just become a pawn in a complicated game of internal company politics.

Oh, yes, I have stories about that as well. During Apple’s dark ages before Steve Jobs’ return, infighting and backstabbing inside Apple had reached telenovela levels. I frequently received anonymous leaks about how a certain Apple product was way behind schedule, or how a much-touted software strategy was losing currency inside the company and was probably going to be abandoned. I’d investigate this tip independently and would sometimes discover that the source of the leak was an Apple manager who wanted another manager out of their way, or who wanted to absorb that other project’s budget and personnel.

And then there are the leaks that are so flashy that I immediately suspect a Canary Trap. If you suspect that one of your employees is a blabbermouth, you hand him exclusive and eye-catching disinformation and swear him to secrecy. You fire him the moment you Google for “Dell is getting into the cybernetic laser attack duck business” and get more than zero hits.

Canary Traps are easier to spot, though: they fall apart as soon as you perform a little diligent legwork to confirm the details on your own.

Let’s get back to my original question: what would I have done?

We’ll never know for sure. But I suspect that I would have thought very hard and then gone with my first impulse: return the phone to Apple. If it’s been stolen, then Apple is the victim of a crime and the ethical answer is to side with the victim.

(Given that this is a new smartphone and not a mechanism for electrocuting any iPhone user who attempts to jailbreak their device.)

If I was told that this phone had been found in a bar…I would have assumed that it had been stolen from Apple. Same result.

And if the “finder” wanted some sort of fee for this device, then I would have brought law enforcement into the discussion. That kind of situation is so shady that no journalist with an ounce of sense would come anywhere near it. Even if you could get past the professional ethical dilemma and your ethical dilemma as a human being…look, smart people aren’t confused about how to react when someone tries to hand them a knife wrapped in a torn and bloody UPS uniform and asks them to hide it for a couple of weeks. I don’t mind these problems that you have to discuss with your editor. But I try to avoid the sort of problems that result in a conversation with a criminal defense attorney.

So. I say once again that Gizmodo has a lot of explaining to do. Even if they’re completely innocent of any wrongdoing, they need to resolve this part of the story.

175 thoughts on “The (Increasingly Plausible) Miraculous Engadget (and Gizmodo) iPhone 4G

  1. Bob

    Purchasing stolen property to write about it is unethical. If it was found in a bar, it wasn’t that persons to sell. The person who found it had an obligation to find the owner. Clearly it was Apple’s phone. Gizmodo bought from a thief. Plain and simple.

  2. leodavinci

    @StankyHangdown,

    The only thing left out of that indepth analysis of the Apple Hype Machine was the third gunman on the grassy knoll.

  3. EdithKeeler

    If you find a phone/wallet/personal item in a place like a bar and the panicked person hasn’t returned before you want to leave you hand it in at bar or front office or whatever, right? Why would you leave the establishment with it, taking on yourself the burden of having to get it back to the owner, rather than leave it where the owner will first go back to look for it?

    It doesn’t matter if the source thought it was a genuine Apple prototype or not; it belonged to someone else, they (on Gizmodo’s telling) made none of the basic attempts to contact the owner or leave it in the first place they would check to get it back. And then once they realised they might have “something” they shopped around stolen property instead of returning it. And Gizmodo rewarded them for it. I don’t know what if any laws Giz has transgressed, but its sleazy to say the least.

  4. Rich Brauer

    @olugbam: “This puts the responsibility on the person who found it not the entity that bought it from that person.”

    Please say you’re not studying for the bar. The standard for receipt of stolen property is clear:
    “The person received or concealed or stored or disposed of items of stolen property.
    The items were moving as, or constituted a part of, interstate commerce.
    The items had a value in excess of $5,000.
    The person acted knowingly and willfully.”

    We have an item that wasn’t the property of the sender. According to reports, it was picked up at a bar. I’ve lost phones at bars before. Since they weren’t turned into the lost & found that every bar/restaurant offers, I’d describe them as stolen. That’s #1.

    We have an item that moved from CA to NY, Gizmodo HQ, apparently. That’s #2.

    We have no idea what Gizmodo paid for the item in question. Should subpoenas be delivered, I wouldn’t be shocked to see $5000 as a number, but maybe they were smart enough to keep it under that number. Whether Apple could argue that the true value is more than the paid value? An open question.

    Obviously, since there was no coerscion, GM acted willfully. The key standard here is, did they act “knowingly.” I’d suggest, that as a tech blog, with lots of exposure to the iPhone, the idea that they didn’t know what they were paying for seems beyond the scope of a reasonable person. If they can prove that payment was made, that’s a prima facie case.

  5. olugbam

    @Rich

    My lord. The whole thing is based on knowledge of it being stolen. That is extremely difficult to prove and giz’s article is half about determining that fact. If you read the article they just posted about the backstory, they did indeed contact the guy who lost it, and gave it back.

    In fact, it would be unreasonable to think that something that some ONE lost at a bar belonged to APPLE and not that person. What they did was sketchy but legal.

  6. Ekatek

    This is exactly why I listen to your podcasts & follow your writing. You have integrity and that instills my confidence in what you have to say. I am curious about the next gen iphone also. But that doesn’t give Giz the right to do what they did. Lost or stolen, it didn’t belong to them & they had no right to tear it down. What they did was, literally, a crime!

  7. justin

    @olugbam

    CAL. PEN. CODE § 485 : California Code – Section 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.”

    sorry, i meant ^

  8. Paul

    I found my last girlfriend on a bar room floor.

    Never argue with an idiot (or fuzzy pictures posted on a website), they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  9. justin

    @olugbam buying something from someone who is not the rightful owner is illegal.

    stealing a car and then returning it is still stealing a car.

  10. k1W1

    blah blah, it’s a freeking phone, not a 99% complete formula of a cure for cancer. Looks to me like; Apple guy does stupid thing and leaves phone in bar. Person finds phone, figures out what they have and looks for a way to benefit. A tech website who makes money from advertising based on hits etc. gets offered a killer story and jumps on it. Thats business people. Will anyone die because of this? Probably not. Enjoy the pictures of the god damn phone and move on. There’s a few bigger problems in the world than the moral compass of a business that (may or may not have) bought a story about a phone.

  11. justin

    @k1W1

    exactly! says the person who’s not going to lose his career over it. this is someone’s life and livelihood.. its nothing but a story to YOU, but to the people involved its not. and this story is not an isolated incident, moral responsibility shouldn’t be a passing thought.

    you wouldn’t be such a tough guy if it was your ass on the line, thats all im saying.

  12. Dave

    Great post Andy. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought that story sounded fishy. Glad to see someone who actually matters talking about it too. I can’t see how Gizmodo won’t end up getting sued over this.

  13. Steven Rodriguez (optionshiftk)

    This is why you are my favorite tech journalist, Andy. You’re a real journalist, not a trigger-happy blogger at Engadget or Gizmodo. It seems like you are always asking yourself ” Hmm..what can I do to best inform the readers? ” Thanks.

  14. Dave

    I just thought of this:

    I think everyone agrees that if the iPhone was stolen from Apple, Gizmodo is royally screwed. But, is it legal to buy LOST property? I don’t know enough about law in general, or California law specifically, but my guess is that it’s not.
    By posting their story, Gizmodo has claimed that at the very least, they knew the iPhone was lost (and they knew who lost it).

  15. Jason

    Andy,

    I applaud you and respect you all the more. Thank you for your efforts!

    Apple and Engadget at Tinagra?

  16. thedudeabides

    Dude with “journalist” like you we wouldn’t have Watergate. Step up and grow some. Don’t wait for a press release and copy and paste what people tell you. Good on Giz for posting it.

    Your post just shows how jealous you are of real story breaking journalists.

  17. Hamranhansenhansen

    > Thats business people.

    Bad ethics are not at all excused by the fact that somebody made some money along the way. You might as well just rob a bank if no ethics are applied.

    > There’s a few bigger problems in the world

    Yeah, and a lot of those problems come directly from the lack of ethics expressed in the attitude of “that’s business, people!”

    When you find a phone in a bar, that does not mean the phone is yours to keep, and especially not to sell. You’re supposed to either try and find the owner or turn the phone in so it can be claimed by the owner. Bars are not free phone stores.

    How would you feel if you lost your phone and that lead to your identity being stolen and credit cards run up and bank account emptied? That’s business, people!

  18. AnonymousCoward

    You asked “The single most serious question: was Gizmodo in any way responsible for the theft of an Apple prototype?”

    Can we also ask if Apple is in any way responsible for the theft of an Apple prototype by creating such a thick barrier of secrecy around their products?

    This event did not happen in a vacuum. It’s part of a larger world that includes things like Apple hiding their future products, Apple giving preferred treatments to some reporters and not others, etc. Gizmodo’s actions needed to be judged by looking at the big picture.

  19. Nobby's Piles

    > Dude with “journalist” like you we wouldn’t have Watergate. Step up and grow some.
    > Don’t wait for a press release and copy and paste what people tell you. Good on Giz for posting it.

    If you can’t tell the vast difference between those two things then you are pretty stupid and should refrain from commenting on anything, ever. He even went as far as to address this point if you happened to actually read the article.

    Ihnatko is a real journalist, unlike those hacks at Engadzmodo.

  20. Marki

    Great post … it it were on Poynter. Gawker is not mainstream media, so none of your qualms apply.

  21. Mr Y

    Listening to all this uh-ha, Gizmodo published nice post about the effort to return this phone. My guess that they might start being more responsive over the phone now. And for you Andy, I hope you will accept the fact that they can return the phone now, after they put it back to normal. I don’t think you can blame Gizmodo for stealing. I do think that Gizmodo’s readers want this information and hiding it from them is wrong.

  22. John (a different one)

    @John said: “Why not explain more clearly how you are one of the few people that gets Apple products early for review purposes and if you were to publish a story about a “found” 4g you’d never get an Apple product early again? So many people are saying how wonderful you are but I believe any real journalist would publish. Your decision to return it to Apple would be based on keeping yourself in Steve’s good graces, not something noble.”

    The flipside of that coin says that people with integrity and character get access from Apple; and people like Jason Chen (and his ilk) will forever be shut out. If Giz wants to behave like tech paparazzi (whatever their reasons) they should expect to be treated like paparazzi. Remember that Giz brought in the TV-B-Gone remotes at CES a couple years ago, just as a point of reference.

    So let’s not confuse what Giz publishes with actual journalism.

  23. Michael

    You can’t presume what their knowledge was PRIOR to having torn it down. Up until they took it apart there was every reason to think it was a plant or a knockoff or god knows what. Having gone to the efforts to tear it down, they may then have an obligation to return the carcass to the owner, but until they’d done that there’s no reason to know with any reasonable certainty that it was indeed Apple’s stuff. (What if it turned out it was a knockoff product being tested by a rival of Apple? Giving it to Apple without confirming that it was Apple’s in the first place would have violated the rights of that other company!) And, having done the teardown for the legitimate purpose of determining if it really was Apple’s, the trade secret was officially dead since the info had been disclosed for a legitimate purpose to a party who had no obligation to maintain secrecy. I don’t speak to the ethics of the thing, but suggestions of illegality are utter nonsense.

  24. EdithKeeler

    By their own admission they paid $5000 for something they knew when they bought it did not belong to the person they were buying it from.

    Whether they knew it belonged to Apple is irrelevant, they knew it didn’t belong to the person they were giving the money to.

  25. Tim

    According to the second Gizmodo Article the guy who found the Iphone called apple several times and tried to let them know he had the device. It sounds like the first round of the phone wall either didn’t belive him or refused to transfer him to the right person.

    Assuming that story is accurate…I would think that puts the guy who found it and Gizmodo in the clear.

  26. EdithKeeler

    I am not a lawyer, but even if true (and, you know, the source and Gizmodo do have a compelling reason to gussy up this part of the story) I doubt it puts you in the clear. “What should he be expected to do then?” asks Gizmodo. I doubt the law of California answers “why, sell it to the highest bidder within a month, of course!” He knew the guy’s name, after all.

  27. Alex Hardy

    Nice post Andy. Two thumbs up. Have some international love from Australia.

    I’ve just read that Apple has sent a formal request for the iPhone to be returned.

    This is getting stranger by the minute.

  28. k1W1

    > How would you feel if you lost your phone and that lead to your identity being stolen and credit cards run up and bank account emptied? That’s business, people!

    No, that’s theft. Is Apple going to get their phone back? Yes. Did any information get stolen from the phone? No. Did Giz do the right thing morally – that is entirely up to the individual (but again I reiterate, it’s just a phone. I really don’t think this will stop Apple selling 1 billion units and making an even more massive profit – that being business of course). Did they do the right thing legally – that’s for the courts to decide.

    However, to answer your not-really-related analogy: Yes, I’m a human I’d feel like shit. However, if I was stupid enough to store all my credit card details, bank account numbers, passwords etc on my phone in an easy to find file and then left said phone unlocked in a bar to allow all my accounts to be emptied I would deserve it.

  29. Tonyt

    Given the amount of knock off iPhones about I can imagine this…
    Hello this is Giz, we would like to interview Steve about a phone we have come into possesion of. Looks like an iPhone prototype.

    Apple PR.

    No way, there is no product to ship in this area.

    In other words if someone called Apple to ask for comments and they denied the existance of a new phone on the record, Why not tear it down?

    Not saying that happened but it’s an interesting idea.

  30. Kel

    Andy,

    One real question do you think that the people at Gizmodo or Engagdet consider themselves journalists or bloggers taking a journalistic approach to news? I mean this could really be a the defining difference between yourself and those people over at Gizmodo so therefore they may not know or acknowledge journalistic ethics.

    This could be the punch, then you have to wonder if they consider themselves bloggers with a journalistic approach should they be covered by the same protections as legit journalists….

  31. Kel

    @AnonymousCoward So you’re saying that because Apple protects it’s trade secrets/prototypes until release it deserved to have those same prototypes and trade secrets stolen?

    Thats a slippery slope my friend. It’s tantamount to saying he was asking to be shot because he was wearing a bullet proof vest.

  32. Brian

    As a journalist myself I know what I would have done if I’d found a strange prototype lying on a bar stool – I would have written the story first then contacted Apple to give them back their MIA gadget.
    Why all the crocodile tears and faux sympathy for Jobsville inc? They stupidly lost what may or may not be the next gen Iphone – they also lost a lot of credibility and probably stock value in the process.
    Congrats to Gizmodo – a fantastic scoop, that has thankfully taken the news agenda away from volcanic ash and flight bans.
    I entirely back John’s earlier assertion (3.23): ‘So many people are saying how wonderful you are but I believe any real journalist would publish. Your decision to return it to Apple would be based on keeping yourself in Steve’s good graces, not something noble.’
    Andy you’re a journalist, start thinking like one, there are enough Apple fan boys out there.

  33. Bastich

    An interesting read.

    To bad now Apple will never “lose” any prototypes in your neighborhood.

  34. Jim

    As an experienced, working print journalist, the instant story angle that came to mind when I read Gizmodo’s article wasn’t the iPhone itself, but the headline ‘Apple loses iPhone prototype’. As Andy says, outside of the shape of the device, there’s very little that’s of benefit to the readers and isn’t widely available. It seems anyway that the process of gaining the iPhone has indeed become the real story rather than the actual breaking news itself.

    If Gizmodo were smart, they would have run that as the story and alerted Apple to the fact that they had the prototype when they approached them for comment, offering to return it. Perhaps in exchange for confessions when it comes to coverage, such as a first look at the iPhone before it is released. Such practice isn’t contrary to journalistic ethics, as many have claimed here. It’s not a crucial story, and the relationship between the journalist and the company is kept at a reasonable level – nobody who’s worked as a reporter, particularly in entertainment and technology, can truthfully say that sticking your finger up at every opportunity gets you anywhere.

    Chequebook journalism is a risky proposition, but good things have come of it. The Telegraph in the UK, for instance, recently ran a huge expose on politicians fiddling with the expenses system, which will lead to widescale reform and is probably one of the biggest political scandals of this century so far. That came from purchasing a hard drive with the details on it, which itself was stolen. The Telegraph’s purchase was justified because it was very much in the public interest, as politicians were defrauding the taxpayer. There is no public interest defence here – there is no criminal activity or indication of practice that would have had an adverse or severe effect on society. It’s a new phone, and it’s private property that at the very least should have been handed in at the bar, not sold to a media outlet.

    I don’t think that Gizmodo deserve to go to court for this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. I’d be very surprised, however, if they weren’t blacklisted from future Apple events and releases. That is, unless they have indeed worked something out with the company. At any rate, I do believe their reputation as a legitimate news outlet, and by extension, that of the blogging community, has taken a hit as a result.

  35. Jamie Knight

    Hiya Andy,

    Good piece, good to see how you process and rationalize these sorts of things. I think, from my perspective if i had found it i would have handed it back to the bar as it was, and told them someone has left a phone there…. I have had my iPhone handed into the bar after i have left it in places in the past and its basically the law to do that in the UK.

    Cheers,

    Jamie

  36. AnonymousCoward

    @Kel: No, I’m saying Andy Ihnatko’s question is so vague and broad that we could ask the same question of others as well (is XYZ in ANY WAY responsible for…).

    Without judging the legality or the morality of Gizmodo’s action, I think there was a story in there. Simply calling Apple to return the device would have destroyed that story. My guess is that many people learned lots of important information through that story. There doesn’t necessarily need to be a deep analysis. The story can simply report facts.

  37. Lazarusfl

    One thing I want to throw out in the “Apple set this up” camp. It would NOT shock me to find out that the majority of the AT&T 3GS contracts are coming due in April. Leaking such specifics as this would certainly keep a majority of people from moving to Andriod or other phone/services. I was considering moving myself now that my contract isn’t “locked” but I’m sticking around now in anticipation of this phone coming out.

    I don’t buy the whole “left in a bar and we bought it” stuff. Especially when things can be legally pulled from the net in minutes every detail has been up for a while now. But if you think of it this way – we all are still talking about it.

  38. thegumper

    I’m behind in my reading and not to take away from the gist of the well-written piece, but come on – “…printed in Comic Sans” was worth the price of admission. Thanks for the Tues a.m. chuckle

  39. paskos

    Nice piece of writing.
    But I wonder if all this “fuzz” isn’t a PR thing from Apple. We are 2 month away from official release of next Iphone. Even if all serious tech bloggers know about incoming features (front facing camera, flash (light, not software)) this “stunt” just made sure all non tech bloggers (like me) read or hear about them well in advance to plan for the “investment”. Choosing an expensive smartphone that comes with a 3 years soul binding contract isn’t trivial. Now wanabee hipsters like me have enough facts about the next gen Iphone to plan our expense.
    “fuzz” around the IPad slowly built up for more than a year.
    I’m also pretty sure the XX GB goal is to generate discussions on the web so Apple will be able to deliver the most wanted XX placeholder.
    I’m sure Gizmodo legal pitbulls made sure every micro parts of Gizmodo’s behind were fully covered.
    I totally agree with your ethical standings though.
    Maybe I’m just to “paranoid” about alternate source of publicity…

  40. Jonnyv

    I have no problem with what Gizmodo did as long as what they say happened actually happened. I don’t care that they bought the Iphone story. They do have an obligation to return the phone once they verified that it is an actual Apple product if Apple requests that it be returned. But, they have every right to take as many photographs as humanly possible about it.

    This could very well cost Apple in their stock price. After usual Jobs announcements, the stock price can a small bump up. Unless they announce that the phone is coming out for Verizon as well, this will now probably not happen due to the information and specs that are currently out there.

    Many Apple fans are bitter that this will take all the wind out of Steve’s presentation assuming that this is a close replica to final production model. If the form factor is way different then people will still be surprised. But now, everyone knows the specs and what does Steve have to blowhard about??? Nothing. People can still wax on about whether Verizon is going to get the phone or not and whether this is the final design. Other than that, we now know what the phone will entail.

    I like Ihnatko and a lot of what he says. But anyone that thinks that Apple gives him exclusive early products because he is a “good and ethical” journalist is kidding themselves. They give him products because they are very certain he will write a story that is a big wet sloppy french kiss to Apple. If he wrote a negative Apple product review he wouldn’t see another early product release in his lifetime. If Andy really wouldn’t write about a pre-Apple product that fell into his lap (assuming it was legally) then he really does become a tool for Apple.

  41. Colin Johnson

    Andy:

    Yet again you come up with the correct response.

    Ihnatko:
    Very good 10/10; I’ll be expecting you to read a précis of this work to the entire class in Mr Laporte’s MacBreakWeekly lesson at 11am.

  42. Jack

    Legally, their posts about the phone are the equivalent of somebody who finds a dog, who then puts posters with the dog’s picture all over the neighborhood.

    Disassembling it to see what’s inside is like taking that dog to the vet to scan for a microchip.

    ——

    “So, a prototype iPhone walks into a bar…” sounds too contrived.

    As you say, there’s nothing in this “leak” that we didn’t already know. But there’s new excitement about the next gen iPhone, so Apple comes out of this as a winner.

  43. Yazzid

    I totally agree with you. If this rumors are true, we have nothing to look forward to come this June.

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