Screw the volcano, geeks’ beady little eyes are fixed on the unfurling drama of the lost iPhone 4. Is it truly all a stupid mistake by an employee and a lucky break for tech blog Gizmodo? Is it a PR stunt by Apple?
Here’s a brief round-up of the possibilities – vote for your favourite at the bottom..
1. It’s all what Gizmodo say: a guy (Gray Powell) gets drunk and loses his phone at a bar. It’s a iPhone 4, it’s disguised as an iPhone 3G, someone picks it up, plays around with it, finds out the camera doesn’t work, finds some strange barcodes on it, notices it doesn’t work very well, wonders what’s wrong with it and tries to return it to Apple who somehow aren’t interested. A week later he offers it to Gizmodo who run a story on it etc.
Evidence: – that’s what Gizmodo say here
– Apple have asked for the phone back, clearly it’s theirs.
Questions: – how did this guy lose the thing so easily?
– why wasn’t it more protected – a password for example?
– why weren’t Apple interested in getting it back at the start when the guy contacted them?
2. Same as 1) but this time there’s some foul play in getting the phone – it’s either taken or wilfully kept when the source realises what it is. They sell it to Gizmodo. Who run the “found” angle.
Evidence: claims that Gizmodo paid $5000 for the phone.
Questions: apparently this guy got in contact with Apple, if he intended to steal it, presumably he wouldn’t have done.
3. It’s a controlled leak by Apple who planted it to drum up interest in the iPhone 4.
A slightly more out-there theory, but rumours are flying that Apple wanted some publicity for their new iPhone, and organised the whole thing as a plant to steal back momentum and page views for their product. Perhaps Apple are worried about losing ground to Android, perhaps they worry they can’t match the iPad’s publicity, perhaps they’re worried about Windows 7 phones – hard to say. Gizmodo were just a dupe for them getting more publicity.
Evidence: none really, but some of the Gizmodo commenters sure believe this
Questions: why the hell would Apple do this? their PR is infamously great, and security is infamously tight with leakers getting fired instantly. It would be a massive change of tack from the company.
4. It’s a leak by Apple in confederacy with Gizmodo
Same as above, but this time Gizmodo aren’t the dupes in a hoax, they’re the media partner, playing along with the lost/found story for the scoop of the year.
Evidence: Nope, none, but check out the comments boards again
Questions: – Again, would Apple really do that?
– There are rumours Apple’s looking to sue Gizmodo. We’ll see if it happens, but if it does, it suggest there wasn’t a nice cosy agreement here.
5. It’s a fake leak by someone looking to lead everyone astray..
Uh, this is where it all gets more haywire. Tying in with 3) it could be that Apple intentionally planted a fake iPhone 4 or an early one to get everyone talking about the iPhone 4g without actually releasing any specs, because… uh, well I don’t think anyone knows why they’d do that. Or else some 3rd party dropped this one just to stir things up
Questions: if it were a third party, why would Apple want it back it?
Vote for your favourite! Any more bright ideas?