Overall, it’s been a good and bad week for Gizmodo. On the plus side, they can now lay claim to one of the biggest gadget leaks in tech history. Their detailing of the upcoming iPhone 4G months before its release not only seeped into the mainstream media, but also resulted in an unprecedented number of pageviews for the gadget site. On the negative side, Gizmodo’s credibility, at least among respected journalists and publications, has taken a serious blow. Not necessarily because they ran the iPhone story, but more so because they paid thousands of dollars in exchange for access to a product they knew did not belong to them. When you add in Gizmodo’s cavalier and snarky attitude regarding this week’s events, well, let’s just say there’s a lot of anti-Gizmodo sentiment on the web these days.
Gizmodo was particularly lambasted for releasing the name of the Apple engineer who misplaced his prototype iPhone at a German bar in California. To many, publicly outing the luckless engineer served no purpose other than to add public humiliation to an already dejected 27 year old.
As can be expected, the now famous Apple engineer, named Gray Powell, hasn’t spoken publicly about the events leading up to Gizmodo’s iPhone expose, but his father recently told CNET that his son was “devastated” following the incident.
Echoing the thoughts of many, Robert Powell lays much of the blame at the doorstep of the individual who actually sold the device to Gizmodo. “The bottom line is the guy stole the phone,” Powell said. “The guy’s a thief.”
Now as for whether or not Gray Powell is in danger of losing his job, the irony is that by exposing his name to the world, it’d be a lot harder (publicity wise) for Apple to fire him even if they wanted to. Powell’s dad, though, doesn’t believe his son has anything to worry about.
“I think he’ll be OK,” he stated. “He’s good at what he does. He’s a hard worker.”
As reported earlier, Steve Jobs personally looks over and approves the individuals who are given permission to take pre-release iPhone models off campus for testing purposes. The fact that Powell was one of those people, and at a relatively young age no less, seems to imply that his skills and talent should easily supersede any potential blowback from this unfortunate, yet riveting, affair.