Let’s wander back to April, 2010.
The biggest tech story was that a prototype of Apple’s next iPhone was found in a bar.
For a company whose corporate culture was defined in large part by secrecy this was a stunning turn of events.
Gizmodo had photos of the phone, and its post went nuclear, generating millions of pageviews.
It got the phone by paying $5,000 to Brian Hogan, a 21-year-old who found the phone in the bar.
Hogan decided to tell his side of the story on a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread.
When the story first broke, it initially sounded like Hogan was going to be in a lot of trouble.
Ultimately, Hogan says he had to do 40 hours of community service, pay a $125 fine, and get 1 year of informal probation. His crime was a misdemeanour for misappropriation of lost property. He says Apple could still file a civil suit against him. (That seems unlikely at this point.)
Hogan says he landed the phone after a late night of drinking at the Gourmet Haus Staudt, a bar in Redwood City, California.
A drunk guy walks out of the bathroom after last call, sees a phone on a bar stool next to Hogan, and says, “Don’t forget your phone.” Hogan looks at the phone, sees that it’s not his, but decides to take it home with him anyway.
In retrospect, he acknowledges that he should have just left it with the bartender.
When he woke up the next day, he realised he didn’t have a normal phone on his hands. He thought the screen had a higher resolution than other iPhones. The plastic casing on it was different, and when he took it apart, he found a different, flatter iPhone.
He says he tried to call Apple, but no one knew what he was talking about. So, he started shopping it around to tech sites.
Gizmodo was the only one that bit, offering him $5,000 up front, and $3,000 later. He never got the extra $3,000.
And, after lawyers’ fees he wound up losing money on the whole ordeal.
In the Reddit thread, he accused his roommate at the time of talking to the cops about everything he was doing. He says she was trying to get a reward by telling the cops everything he was doing.
According to an unsealed affidavit from the time, the roommate just says she was nervous that she would get in trouble. She said Hogan had plugged the iPhone into her computer to test it out.
During the time, Hogan said it was “extremely tough on my family,” because, “there were news vans in front of my house and we ended up staying at a hotel in the east bay for a week until they left.”
For the most part though, it seems the story has ebbed, and he’s gotten on with his life. He says he got a job, and has had little fallout.
He’s not an Apple fan, though. He uses a Samsung Galaxy S3, and says he’s a Windows PC guy.
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