While the full extent of the fallout from Gizmodo’s leaking of the iPhone 4G is yet to be determined, one can’t help but notice some of the glaring holes in Gizmodo’s story regarding how they came to be in possession of said device.
Gizmodo detailed the backstory of the “missing” iPhone yesterday, where they emphasized that the individual in possession of the iPhone made an honest to goodness effort to return it to Apple, especially when he realized it was a prototype.
He reached for a phone and called a lot of Apple numbers and tried to find someone who was at least willing to transfer his call to the right person, but no luck. No one took him seriously and all he got for his troubles was a ticket number.
He thought that eventually the ticket would move up high enough and that he would receive a call back, but his phone never rang. What should he be expected to do then? Walk into an Apple store and give the shiny, new device to a 20-year-old who might just end up selling it on eBay?
This is complete nonsense on so many levels, and Gizmodo must be smoking some serious hippy lettuce if they expect us to buy this tall tale.
First, it’s proper and accepted etiquite that if you find a lost item at a bar, in this case an iPhone, you don’t take it home with you and start calling “a lot of Apple numbers” to see what happens. You return the darned thing to the bar in the hopes that the rightful owner will come back and claim it.
Second, Gizmodo tries to paint the dude who ended up with the device as some sort of noble character who refused to take it back to an Apple Store out of concern that a 20 year old “might just end up selling it on eBay.”
Oh really? This guy was so concerned with the device ending up on eBay that he decided, instead, to send photos of the device to Engadget while at the same time selling the actual device to Gizmodo for thousands of dollars.
Third, if the guy in possession of the iPhone genuinely wanted to return it, why not contact Gray Powell himself? After all, the opened Facebook app signified whose iPhone it actually was.
Fourth, there was no real need for Gizmodo to publish the name of the Apple engineer who lost the iPhone. And yes, we realize that Apple already knew who was responsible, but now the entire world is looking at Gray Powell simply because Gizmodo wanted some extra page views.
And you know what? If Gizmodo is going to publish the kids name, then they should at least have the decency to stand by their decision and not offer smart ass commentary telling Apple that they shouldn’t fire the kid.
He sounded tired and broken. But at least he’s alive, and apparently may still be working at Apple—as he should be. After all, it’s just a fucking iPhone and mistakes can happen to everyone—Gray Powell, Phil Schiller, you, me, and Steve Jobs.
The only real mistake would be to fire Gray in the name of Apple’s legendary impenetrable security, breached by the power of German beer and one single human error.
Oh spare me.
But it gets worse.
In response to Apple’s legal request to get back the iPhone, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam pleads, “P.S. I hope you take it easy on the kid who lost it. I don’t think he loves anything more than Apple.”
Are you f’n kidding me? If Gizmodo was that concerned with taking it “easy on the kid”, they could have published the same exact story and simply reference him as a 27 year old Apple Software Engineer, and the story would have been just as gripping.
But, alas, it gets even worse!
Last night, Lam penned a post on Gizmodo attempting to explain why they decided to go public with Powell’s identity.
Hey man, I know things seem really tough right now. We had mixed feelings about writing the story of how you lost the prototype, but the story is fascinating. And tragic, which makes it human. And our sin is that we cannot resist a good story. Especially one that is human, and not merely about a gadget—that’s something that rarely comes out of Apple anymore. But hopefully you take these hard times and turn things around. We all make mistakes. Yours was just public. Tomorrow’s another day. We will all be cheering for you.
Talk about smarmy.
And fifth, Gizmodo’s response to Apple’s legal request stated in part: “Happy to have you pick this thing up. Was burning a hole in our pockets. Just so you know, we didn’t know this was stolen when we bought it.”
But curiously, Apple’s legal request made no mention of the iPhone being stolen, which makes Gizmodo’s verbiage all the more suspicious. Especially when you consider that Gizmodo’s parent company, Gawker, has in the past offered a $100,000 bounty for a stolen pre-release iPad.
Sixth, and this has nothing to do with Gizmodo, if Powell was able to wipe his phone remotely via MobileMe, why didn’t he attempt to locate it via MobileMe as well?