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back to article 'iPhone 4G' loser outed

As promised, Gizmodo has identified the unfortunate soul who left his prototype iPhone 4G in a northern Silicon Valley pub. That'd be Gray Powell, a 27-year-old Apple software engineer working on the call-enabling iPhone Baseband Software. But before we tell his story as reported by Gizmodo, we feel compelled to first say that …

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Jobs Horns

You don't own/never seen an iPhone, do you?

Try LOOKING at the pix next time before posting.

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2010/04/case1.jpg

This'll help.

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iDon'tcare

Looks like an iBelkin to me.

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Boffin

That'll be..

a protective case cover not a chassis case.

easy mistake to make for someone not familier with the device and its range of expensive accessories...

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Jobs Horns

Looses phone and bolts.

Are you nuts?

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Megaphone

"LOSES"

Will people please learn to spell "lose" correctly.

"Loose" is what a wizard's sleeve is.

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Jobs Halo

should have used the Joke ALert

since you've been down-modded by someone with no apparant sense of humour.

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Laws and stuff...

Seems to me there were at least a couple felonies leading up to Gizmodo getting all proud of itself. Might be a future in mugging Apple engineers as they're leaving work. Anything for the story.

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FAIL

"checkbook journalism?"

Naming the poor guy - not a public figure, after all - is really shitty behaviour. Adds nothing to the story. In particular, it ain't journalism. Barrel-scraping blogging maybe.

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Re: "checkbook journalism"

> Naming the poor guy - not a public figure, after all - is really shitty behaviour.

I agree it isn't nice but lets not kid ourselves that Gizmodo have somehow alerted Apple to Gray's absent mindedness. He would have had to confess right back when he lost it. First to get it disabled but also because he would need to sign the thing out and people would have come looking for it when it wasn't signed back in. The only thing Gizmodo have caused Gray is a great deal of embarrassment amongst any colleagues who weren't aware he'd lost it plus his mates down at the bar.

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No it isn't.

By naming him, and placing high visibility on this guy, it makes it less likely that Apple will fire him.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: "checkbook journalism"

I hope he realises that the phone was working and that they knew who the owner was before they took it apart.

Then prehaps he'll be justified in going round to Gizmondo, knowing who owns the cars in their parking lot and "taking them apart" with a sledgehammer.

That's what I'd do if someone knowingly destroyed my phone. Of course I'd be doubly pissed off if it was owned by my employers...

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WTF?

How does that work?

How is naming the guy making firing less probable? It's obvious he broke all kinds of secrecy clauses, and everybody knows, so not firing him tells all those still working that they can be as loose as they want and so even opens avenues for espionage (say you lose a device to an interested party, keep Apple job, be paid for "losing" half a year later --- safe!).

This has nothing to do with "chequebook journalism"; naming names yes/no is obviously independent of paying for sources yes/no.

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That someone will be a.......

I figure the sharks will be released and that someone will be a corporate attorney.

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Anonymous Coward

Bingo

the website reports that Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell has requested that the on-the-lam iPhone 4G prototype be returned to Cupertino

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Silver badge

Why name the poor sod?

Publicly naming him seems like shit-stirring on 'Modo's part.

What I'd like to know is, with the culture at Apple of absolute secrecy, checking employee correspondence etc, how the chuff did he end up with one in his back pocket at a bar?? How did he even get it out of the lab?

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Pint

Field Trials

You got to drop an iPhone into a pint (or litre if it's a german bar) and confirm it doesn't survive...

I agree, naming the guy is below the belt, he's only 27 and will now be punished (can't think of a dire job at Apple though).

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Testing

They've gotta run real world tests somewhere. Stories over the last couple of years have shown various new iPhone versions popping up in app usage logs in the real world prior to the official release. Probably just the same thing here.

Obviously they had to disguise the phone in a normal case to make it less conspicuous for day to day use.

Its a pretty handsome looking device though. I'd like to see them ditch the black back and go with a brushed metal with no seams though.

No further mentions here of the storage capacity? This was reported as supposedly being 80gb on engadget i think.

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Unhappy

Standard practice

I've got friends who worked for Nokia and Vodaphone and it was fairly standard practice for employees of both manufacturers and networks to use prototype phone in the real-world to get an idea of how well they perform.

They also get lost all the time, the reason you don't tend to hear about it is that mostly people are not that interested in the next minor increment of a Nokia, but are obsessed by everything iPhone related.

Given that this guy appears to be working on the baseband software (i.e. what connects the phone to the network), then it would be reasonable that he might have one with him to test out the reception and call handling.

Also, naming the guy really sucks. Gizmodo should be ashamed of themselves. There was no need to name the guy, he's probably in enough trouble as it is, there's no need to make sure that he is forever-more known as "the guy that left his 4G iPhone in a bar".

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Joke

no it's not that we are not interested

... it's just that when we find a nokia phone on the street we assume someone just missed the bin and finish the job.

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Alert

Tut, tut

You should be recycling those phones!

Mind you, I'm not sure how Mazuma et al would be able to value an unreleased prototype, but there's a good chance it's worth more than their £150 (£100?) maximum anyway.

Maybe that's what the guy who found it was doing, it's just that Gizmondo gave him the best price.

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Anonymous Coward

Outing the guy - not cool

in fact, I'd say Gizmodo have acted dishonourably throughout this episode. Remember that Apple shut down Think Secret for merely being in possession of information that represented trade secrets, let alone actual hardware

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FAIL

Either a loser or a brilliant publicist

Having worked with cellphone testing years ago ( still at same company but different work, hence the anon post ) and been allowed to muck around with early prototypes, my first thought was that that was an incredibly stupid thing to do - prototypes at that stage shouldn't be allowed outside of the lab. After all, consultants like me have to sign NDAs to be allowed anywhere near such things and everyone gets a list of security classifications to study.

However, the Reg's suggestion that this might part of a publicity stunt by Apple is interesting - something as mundane as a drunken idiot leaving a phone at a pub when he probably shouldn't have had it with him anyway is no where near as appealing. Surely he can't be THAT stupid?

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Anonymous Coward

Mind you isn't....

That:

A. Theft - Taking a piece of property knowing it not to be yours and not handing it to Police or the owner.

B. Criminal Damage - One assumes the now broken open phone would no longer be usable.

And so on, I look forward to seeing the prosecutions. Maybe the thief, has broken the three strikes law, and will get life.

BTW. Hasn't our errant engineer heard of locking your phone?

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Don't forget:

Handling stolen goods on the part of Gizmodo...

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Stop

Give or take?

If you find stuff like that, you'd normally give it to the bar owner, as you have other things to do than hang around waiting for someone to get back to you.

My experience with London bars and restaurants has however been that the staff see it as a tip and loot it (experience is 2x "disappeared" when definitely handed in, 1x returned).

So with a working phone it seems obvious: go to most commonly used contact in the call list & ask "whose phone is this? tell him to come get in bar X" and/or see where the browser history takes you (prompted names at a gmail or hotmail login page, facebook app autologin, etc) to email the relevant blighter, and only then leave it.

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Anonymous Coward

I still reckon...

...that this is some kind of publicity stunt.

If it is, Apple have played a blinder.

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Pint

At least it looks like a good place to drink

From the pictures on the site! At least it wasn't a trendy city bar.

Still, why on earth would you have a prototype phone with you when you were out getting pissed?

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WTF?

it's interesting

that the guy still has a job...

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Jobs Halo

Good at his job?

I hope the dude is bloody good at his job.......

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Black Helicopters

Hmmm

Viral marketing?

The worlds most Appleish Gadget site happens to get it?

My credulity that it was lost by accident and Gizmodo happened to get it seriously stretched.

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WTF?

Shame on Gizmodo

What a sordid, nasty little outfit. They deserve the legal shitstorm they have coming to them

And the unfortunate soul they named-and-shamed? Presumably he had a 7 a.m. meeting with Steve Jobs. That can't have been pleasant. Still, with 'Apple' on his CV he won't have problems finding employment elsewhere.

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FAIL

Future employment???

"Still, with 'Apple' on his CV he won't have problems finding employment elsewhere"

I think that "If you want your sooper-sekret shiny prototype outed to the world, just give it to me with some beer money" will be a slight hindrance to employment prospects

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

FAIL

RegisterFail Fail

"This is standard practice with Apple, EVERY single time a new product is coming up there's some leak or another with a little story behind it showing how awesome the new device is, how amazing it is."

Right, this is what happened with the iPad, the original iPhone, the unibody MacBook Pros, the Mini, the Al-iMacs.

Oh, wait a minute...

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Jobs Horns

it was ..

planted ... Media Frenzy - all the free advertisement you need.

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Bad, bad, bad journalism.

Personally, I think this is disgusting. First, the guy hung onto the phone in order to return it to the owner - the owner didn't appear so the guy TAKES THE PHONE HOME? What the hell? What about handing it into the bar, or the cops?

Then he decides to "just switch it on" and play around with it - a bit dubious but I could understand it if they intended to find numbers for, e.g. "Mum" or "Dad" and return the phone. No, they piss about with the applications and load up some poor guys Facebook (presumably logging themselves in as him in the process). They then decide to publish those details on the Internet.

Then, when the phone is remotely disabled because it's presumed (and damn well has been) stolen, they go about dismantling the damn thing? At what point did journalism turn into theft, destruction of private property, etc.? (I was going to add "breaching personal privacy" to that list but that's apparently been a part of modern journalism for a while now).

Damn right they end up speaking to a lawyer... hope they learn their lesson by getting themselves sued. Handling stolen goods springs to mind for one. This is a disgusting bit of "journalism" and I'm disappointed that The Register sees it fits to just echo the story.

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Re: Why name the poor sod?

Because there' s nothing like riding the wave of iPad indifference into fresh new rolling vistas of free PR for another upcoming sh*tty device by 'accidentally' leaking a hush-hush prototype to the kind of bottom-dollar journoscum that Gizmodo have become.

What other kind of twisted reality do you expect from those fruit?

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Black Helicopters

One bit of this story doesn't add up...

This mysterious "unidentified person" that nabbed said iPhone and was also responsible for selling this story to Giz and Engadget - if he really was just some random person, would he honestly have cracked the case on this device? The average person on the street certainly wouldn't have done so and a lot of tech people wouldn't have risked damaging the phone by taking it apart.

I call bull**** here.

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case

Case meaning aftermarket phone protecting shell... Not case meaning the plastic shell surrounding the innards of every iPhone to date.

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Unhappy

Case = covering of innards

Actually, the pictures put up before the Gizmo sale show the insides of the device, as well as posted specs of battery, etc.

Sorry - not *just* the aftermarket case, but the device housing as well.

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This is probably a set-up

Loads of free publicity for Apple. I really don't think this was a drunken mistake. By anyone.

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Pint

apple, notorious for secrecy...

lets an employee wander into a german beer bar with a new product. that product then ends up on several hi-tech websites a few months before launch....it was even on the daily fails website!!!

if it smells like a set up....it must be a set up....

wonder what beer he was drinking?

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Silver badge
FAIL

Nice PR stunt

And it seems to be working.

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FAIL

Why not...

Just call the phone when he woke up next morning with his hangover... and if no answer, then track the GPS using MobileMe... I can't believe that Apple would let an iPhone out into the wild without have GPS location tracking turned on.

IF its real, I can only think that the employees are indoctrinated to turn themselves in instantly if they make a mistake and own up to whatever they have done, and the Apple security team activated the Remote Wipe as a precaution, rather than try and track it down.

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GPS location.

What would be a faster way to protect your new product? Clicking a button labelled "remote wipe" or clicking the button labelled "view location on map" and then navigating your way there and hoping it was still in the same place?

Of course it makes most sense to turn it into a useless brick as quickly as possible. Worry about the dead hardware later. First things first, kill the software and stop anyone finding out all its new tricks.

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Dear conspiracy theorists

Please explain how a leak that dents sales of your current product is sound business strategy?

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Soo....

Gizmodo are handling stolen property, they've vandalised said property. They've publicly named the poor sap who lost it...

Wow. That website seems to have some right scumbags for journalists.

This is the same website that thought it was hilarious a few years back to take a universal remote to CES and turn off all the TVs in as many stands as they could. They even did this during important presentations.

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Anonymous Coward

@Universal remote

"This is the same website that thought it was hilarious a few years back to take a universal remote to CES and turn off all the TVs in as many stands as they could."

What's wrong with that- it _is_ hilarious. Were you perchance personally affected by this? Sounds like you hold a grudge...

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