April 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm
“”Would Gizmodo really have it in so bad for the entire community that they’d try to play everyone with an elaborate hoax? That too, seems unlikely.”"
Remember though that this is the same site that left the whole community agonizing over a long weekend back in 2006 by claiming they had the details on the new iPhone before it was launched. Come Monday and the big reveal, it just turned out to be a new product from Cisco. http://gigaom.com/2006/12/17/iphone-is-available-but-not-that-iphone/ I don’t think this was a hoax, but I do think they’ve got the all douche nozzle credentials that would be required for such an endeavor.
April 20, 2010 at 6:20 pm
There are two key points you’re not really taking into consideration that make me believe:
- We know the supposed identity of the person who lost the device.
- We’re given a pretty good breakdown (in some accounts) that every effort was made to return the device to apple.
On the second point, this is exactly how I’d expect apple to react if they were to receive a phone call. “Oh, you have a device? Yeah right, buddy.” and then when they realize they’ve fucked up, immediate legal action.
On the first point, why name names unless you were desperate for credibility when all else was failing?
On most of your points about details, Gizmodo was doing one thing: avoiding liability. There’s a certain point you don’t want to cross or face severe legal action. I hate to say it, but Gizmodo was practicing a form of responsible disclosure.
However, I gotta agree with Bryan. They are complete douches, down to revealing the guy’s name and causing him no end of problems.
April 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm
As for the identity of the employee who lost the device — again, we’ve only got Gizmodo’s word on that. Though I’m sure plenty of people have (or will) searched for his Facebook account. (which, of course, could be faked, too). Same goes for the effort to return the phone to Apple.
Mostly, I think it’s probably real — it just seems like way too much trouble to go through for a hoax. And perhaps they were trying to avoid some additional liability by not providing chip details. Though I kind of subscribe to the “If you didn’t want it leaked, you shouldn’t have let it out of the building” mentality. But I’d bet that some of the points I raised (iPhone device identification, frequently discussed in the context of web logs, or close-up screenshot giving a chance to estimate pixel count, picture of the micro SIM, etc., all probably could have been revealed without significant additional risk.)
And as for them outing the guy, and not the person they bought the phone from — yeah, that’s over the line. Not like Apple didn’t already know, but it’s really not anyone else’s business.
But I still wonder — what would other industries have done? Or more reputable, more professional news organizations? God knows Hollywood is constantly fighting release of details for movies, etc., all of which could be construed as trade secrets, but an entire industry exists to discover, purchase, and exploit those secrets. Not saying they (Hollywood reporters or Gizmodo) are not in the wrong — just wondering where the line is.
April 20, 2010 at 7:57 pm
For your hollywood example, see TMZ. ‘nough said.
I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that Gizmodo would go to all this trouble for a fake? So they paid 5 grand for a fake device, then create a whole back story when they find out it’s bullshit? It’s better and more cost efficient to admit you’re wrong then to lose complete credibility.
Now if you go back and think about the points you raised about proof, then consider the liability for exposing that information, you’ll soon discover why they didn’t. Gizmodo knows that the line is simply where do start losing money. If Apple pursues this and takes them to court, they will lose and it will cost.
April 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm
The “it’s all a back story to cover up a bad purchase” line was really tongue-in-cheek. Shoulda added a smiley. :)
They have, since I posted this, put up some more images of the internals, but again didn’t show much detail. But at least it’s something….
Anyway, the entire point of this wasn’t so much to try and convince myself (or anyone else) that it was or was not a hoax, but really just to point out that everything we know is coming from a single site. And to encourage healthy skepticism and critical thinking.
Of course, at this point, we seem to have more than enough confirmation of different aspects from multiple sources (@gruber’s followup linked below by Jedi is a great piece). So it’s pretty clear that they really did get a real phone. Which is cool — looked like it had some pretty great features.
April 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm
Followup. Good investigative journalism…. by a developer: