Apple tried to investigate the home of the person that ended up with the lost next-generation iPhone, Wired.com reports:
People identifying themselves as representing Apple last week visited and sought permission to search the Silicon Valley address of the college-age man who came into possession of a next-generation iPhone prototype, according to a person involved with the find.
Gizmodo ran its story Monday morning 10 a.m. ET. Later that day, Apple called Gawker Media, asking for the iPhone back. Gizmodo said it would send the phone back as long as it received a letter asking for the phone.
In Gizmodo’s original post on the phone it’s not clear if Gizmodo still has the phone or not. From that perspective, it sort of makes sense that Apple went to the home of the person that found the phone. Depending on when Apple showed up, it might not have known Gizmodo had the phone.
However, it’s creepy to think that Apple wanted to “search” someone’s house looking for the phone. That’s what the cops are for. That’s not Apple’s business.
It’s even creepier to think that Apple may have shown up at the home AFTER it already talked to Gizmodo. What could Apple have wanted from this person’s home at that point?
Another lingering question from this report: How did Apple find this person the day Gizmodo put out its story? Wired’s headline says “Apple May Have Traced iPhone to Finder’s Address.” Its story doesn’t explain that at all.
If Apple was able to trace the phone, why not trace it on March 18, when Apple engineer grey Powell reportedly originally lost the phone? Or maybe March 19? Or any time between March 18 when the phone is lost and April 19 when Gizmodo ran its story? (We assume it probably did, but obviously don’t know.)
More questions we have from this story: Did Apple find the address of the finder, go there, then after being rejected, decide to go to the cops? How did the cops find the person who found the iPhone so quickly? They say they haven’t touched Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s computers.
And here’s another interesting bit in this Wired story. Wired’s source says:
News accounts depicting the $5,000 payment as a “sale” are incorrect, this person said. Rather, the agreement with Gizmodo was for exclusivity only. “It was made very explicit that Gizmodo was to help the finder return the phone to its rightful owner or give it back,” this person said. “Gizmodo said they could help restore the phone.”
In essence, what is being said here is that Gizmodo paid for the STORY not the iPhone. The iPhone is a vehicle to create the story. Essentially, this source is saying both the finder and Gizmodo wanted to return the phone.
This will likely be the defence Gizmodo and the finder of the phone.
Apple isn’t returning calls. We’ve called San Mateo DA Stephen Wagstaffe, but we’re only getting his voicemail. On it, he says there’s nothing new to report and he’s in court all morning.
We’ve put together a timeline of how things played out, according to various reports:
March 18: iPhone is left in a bar, some guy (or group of guys) finds it, takes it home. For the next few days, they play around with it. They say they want to return the phone to Apple but can’t figure out how.
March 28: Wired gets an email from these people asking if it has interest in seeing the phone. Wired says the email had “a thinly veiled request for money.” At this time, we assume Engadget and Gizmodo got similar emails.
April 17: Engadget runs a story with pictures of the phone.
April 19: Gizmodo runs its blow out coverage of the phone. Apple asks to get its phone back.
Between April 19 and April 23, Apple reps went to the home of the person that found the iPhone.
April 23: Cops bust into Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s home.
April 27: It comes out the cops have talked to the person that found the iPhone.
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