Talking tech since 2003

Well, it appears that the next generation iPhone (prototype of the iPhone 4G – if you will) has been found in a California bar.  Somehow that prototype got into the hands of Gizmodo who supposedly have had it for a week.  However, pictures of the exact device showed up on Engadget on April 17th.  Does anyone find this somewhat odd?  Forget whether or not this is the actual iPhone 4G / iPhone HD, because I’m sure based on the evidence provided that it is an actual prototype.  The real thing to examine here is the time line of events and where they took place.

February 21th 2010 – TUDream posts a twitpic of a supposed iPhone 4G.

April 17th, 2010 7:48PM – Engadget posts leaked photos of the iPhone 4G prototype which looks exactly like the ones from TUDream and claim it was found in a San Jose bar.

April 18th, 2010 – iPhone 4G pictures continue to roam around the web, however, no new breaking photos, videos, or articles emerged.

April 19th, 2010 10:00AM – Gizmodo posts photos, videos, and a full write up on the iPhone 4G and claim they have had it for about a week.

According to Gizmodo, “We’re as skeptical—if not more—than all of you. We get false tips all the time. But after playing with it for about a week” – right, because you have had it for a week and Engadget still beat you to the punch.  Additionally, as I mentioned earlier Engadget claimed it was found in a bar in San Jose, while multiple other blogs are saying it was found in Redwood City, California.  Gizmodo has kept quiet with regard to that information.  The last Apple-related thing in Redwood City, California was NeXT (Steve Jobs’ other company which was bought by Apple), but that has been defunct since 1996.  Apple doesn’t even have a retail store in Redwood City.

Time line and location aside, how likely does it seem that a tech savvy enough person would just happen to stumble across this new iPhone 4G in a bar, realize the potential of what it is, take pictures, send them to Engadget or if you want to make it even more bizarre to some kid in Tennessee who posted them on TwitPic before anyone, and then hand it off to Gizmodo who a week later post a “everything you need to know” article about the iPhone 4G.

Additionally, this device is lost property of Apple, John Gruber of Daring Fireball confirmed this himself earlier, “So I called around, and I now believe this is an actual unit from Apple — a unit Apple is very interested in getting back.”  Wouldn’t you think that this iPhone 4G is configured with MobileMe?  I’d lean towards yes on that one.  What’s one of the best features of MobileMe?  Find My iPhone.  Apple could lock and track down this device easily if they really wanted to do so.  It has obviously been in the wild for at least a few days, if not more – I find it hard to believe Apple couldn’t locate it before it got anywhere else.  Which leads me to believe one of two things.

1. This is a controlled leak by Apple because they haven’t sent (to my knowledge) any cease and desists to any of these blogs with photos and video.

2. The iPhone prototype really did get lost sometime in the last few days and Gizmodo paid off someone to get it after they saw the pictures on Engadget. Which is a pretty gutsy (and immoral?) move by Gizmodo considering they are destroying (they took it apart) another persons/company’s property.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

Update: Gizmodo has updated their blog with another article detailing the story behind the leaked iPhone 4G.  Which makes some variation of number 2 seem most likely.

Update 2: Gizmodo posts another update.  This time with a scanned copy of a letter they received from Apple requesting the return of the phone, which further proves the legitimacy, however still leaves us questioning how Gizmodo ended up with the phone and how that kid (TUDream) found pictures of a device that looks extremely similar back in February.

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