It’s been a wild week for Gizmodo. The popular tech blog got what could be considered the tech scoop of the year (and possibly of the past decade) when it laid hands upon a prototype fourth generation iPhone.
According to Gizmodo’s numerous stories on the topic, the phone was left behind at Gourmet Haus Staudt, a bar in Redwood City, California specializing in German suds. The person that found the phone tried to contact Apple directly in order to return the phone. The quest to find someone at Apple who could identify the lost prototype proved unfruitful.
Interestingly, the person who found the phone didn’t hand the lost phone over to a bartender or appear to try to contact the person that actually lost the phone. The name of the person was gleaned from his Facebook profile on the iPhone and all of his pertinent information was available — we know this because Gizmodo outed the Apple employee that actually lost the phone.
In the end, Gizmodo ended up paying $5,000 to the person that found the iPhone and ran with the story. Gizmodo later returned the iPhone prototype at the behest of Apple after it a finished a dissection.
According to Apple guru John Gruber, the iPhone in question is indeed a late prototype judging by its barcode:
One of the barcodes attached to the unit read “N90_DVT_GE4X_0493”. According to several sources (of mine) familiar with the project, “N90” is Apple’s codename for the fourth-generation GSM iPhone, slated for release this June or July. “DVT” stands for “design verification test”, an Apple production milestone. The DVT milestone is very late in the game; based on this, I now believe that this unit very closely, if not exactly, resembles what Apple plans to release.
Now, almost a week later, the police are involved according to CNET. Police in the Silicon Valley-area are now investigating whether the actions of Gizmodo and the person who found the phone were criminal and if there is enough evidence to file charges. The investigation is being headed by a computer crimes task force based out of the Santa Clara County DA’s office.
CNET also reports that Apple has been in contact with the authorities regarding the incident.
The boys over at Gizmodo and Gawker Media are probably sweating a bit now that the police are involved, but the Apple employee who lost the phone may actually have a free getaway to Germany waiting for him. Lufthansa has offered the unlucky fellow a free flight to Germany where he can continue his love for great beer.
“At Lufthansa we also noted with great interest your passion for German beer and culture,” said Lufthansa’s marketing director for the Americas, Nicola Lange. “We thought you could use a break soon–and therefore would like to offer you complimentary business class transportation to Munich, where you can literally pick up where you last left off.”
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