Apple claims Gizmodo's iPhone 4G leak 'immensely damaging'

According to a report from CNN Money, Gizmodo's leak of pictures and videos of the iPhone 4G last month - which went into exhaustive detail, has been "immensely damaging" and will have a "huge" negative effect on the company.

Apple attourney, George Riley said that the leaked images of the phone and its features were "immensely damaging" to a detective at San Mateo's County Sheriff's Office. He went on to say that, "By publishing details about the phone and its features ... people that would have otherwise purchased a currently existing Apple product would wait for the next item to be released, thereby hurting overall sales and negatively affecting Apple's earnings," - although Riley was unable to estimate how large a financial hit could be to Apple from the event.

Gizmodo allegedly purchased the phone off a man who found the iPhone 4G in a bar in Redwood City, and published exhaustive details on April 19th - including pictures of the exterior and interior, as well as a video tour - many features such as a front-facing camera and a new display were revealed. In response, after retrieving the iPhone, police raided Jason Chen's home - the editor of Gizmodo and confiscated all his computer equipment.

Kevin Hunt, analysts and Hapoalim Securities said "It's a bunch of legalese and B.S. from lawyers, everyone knew a new iPhone was coming" and that the iPhone OS 4.0 event a week earlier revealed much more than the leak did, as the iPhone was not operational anyway and could not show it's capabilities.

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You can't blame Apple for wanting to field test new products outside the lab (recall problems with iPad wifi not working on some routers). Stuff happens, and when I lose something I hope for it to be returned by well-meaning people, unharmed.
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Your analogy is hardly apt - Gizmodo didn't just "mention it to friends", they disassembled it. Knowing they shouldn't.
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Don't you LOVE the irony of Jason Chan being upset by the fact that his own computer systems have been taken away and are being examined inside. :-) Mac or Windows?

gb8080 said,
Apple is RIGHT and Gizmodo were WRONG.
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Customers continuously have to make this calculation: do I buy the current model now (which means I get it at once) or should I hang on and wait for the next version (which means I don't have it now, but I might get better features). It's a subtle calculation - some people choose one way, some choose the other.
Manufacturers are entitled to seek sales of their current product, and to release details of future products at a time of their own choosing. That's business, and it's how they succeed so that we can all go on buying their products for years to come.
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Besides this general point, in this specific case many customers may have assumed that they could buy the current product now and just upgrade to OS4 later (as has been said above). Knowledge about the front-facing camera and other features will change that calculation.
Gizmodo's story tipped the balance - they knew exactly what they were doing and Apple were and are entitled to be protected against that kind of conduct.
It's worth adding that the Gizmodo story was picked up in the general press here in UK and so would have come to the attention of a wide range of potential customers.
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The seizure of Gizmodo's computers was also proper. Gizmodo almost certainly had further unpublished photos or details. It was appropriate to find and recover these to prevent still furhter wrongful conduct - Gizmodo had erred once and were likely to do it again unless stopped.
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As stated in another post, those who seek to justify Gizmodo's conduct should consider this - suppose you left your own phone somewhere by mistake, and it turned out that instead of returning it safely, the finder published anythign he could find in it - your messages, emails, web history. That's the nearest analogy. Gizmodo had no business dismantling property that they knew belonged to somebody else, and that's that.
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I would be very disappointed if the Neowin community does not know right from wrong.
I have no connection with Apple save that I own an iphone and a very old Apple ][.

The press print false stories about celebrities... No crying. They bash on president... No crying. They grind celebrities into the dirt... No crying.

But all of a sudden, they pick on poor little Apple and they are the most evil people in the world. A lot of people involved in this seem to lack objectivity. Seriously, it's just a prototype phone. A lot more serious things are happening in the world, and Apple are making more than enough money from the iPhone as it is. It's amazing how many people buy into Apple's horribly biased press these days and make issues out of things that hardly matter.

oh please... if customers get to see what the next phone will look like of course they will wait for the new phone and then customers will still buy the current phone so it ain't actualy damaging, it's just apple wanting to gouge the customer out of more money and controlling what they can see and do how lame of applefail.

soldier1st said,
if customers get to see what the next phone will look like of course they will wait for the new phone and then customers will still buy the current phone .

Eh? Does not compute.

Apple's just ****ed off because now they can't have some holy press conference about how the new iPhone is going to be the best thing ever. Now Apple can't reveal "revolutionary" features that everybody already knows about now, which aren't really revolutionary to start with.

But we'll see. I personally hope Apple still has some tricks up their sleeves regarding the new iPhone.

The bottom line is the phone should never have made it out of a secured area in the first place. I work in a similar field, designing software for phones that won't be on the market for up to 9 months (for example future Android devices with prototype OS versions that nobody's ever seen before). If I were caught with such a device outside the office, I would be terminated instantly. Our clients take security very seriously. It is a shame to see Apple apparently does not.

All this legal action is the equivalent of closing the barn door after the cows have gotten out. The only effect it will have is that the next time an Apple employee loses a prototype device, the pictures will be posted anonymously instead of by an entity or website that can be sued and prosecuted.

Now, I'm not saying what Gizmodo did was right. They stirred the hornet's nest, and they'll have to deal with the consequences. But make no mistake, this fiasco is Apple's fault as much as theirs.

too bad they can't take a play from HTC or nokias book and just announce and show it off early build up hype feedback then proceed... whoever at Apple made all that stuff happen really needs to pull their head out their ass imo.

I actually like the way this iPhone looks. I wouldn't buy an iPhone now because it's rather slow .. I know this first hand because I bought my wife one. It lags compared to the response time of my Nexus One. If T-Mo ever gets the iPhone, then I will buy it, if not for me ... for my wife. I'm kinda still love Android, it's an amazing OS.

Everyone knew a new iPhone was coming out, people make their own choices. If they wanted to buy an iPhone 3GS now they would, if they didn't want to .... they wouldn't.

people that would have otherwise purchased a currently existing Apple product would wait for the next item to be released

I think this guy just made it to Failblog. By his logic no one would ever buy anything because the latest and greatest would always be around the corner. Even Apple's customers know that when they buy an iPhone... even if they wait to buy the "leaked" phone... Apple will continue to work on it and release newer and beter devices. You simply cannot buy a piece of technology that isn't future proof.

The only thing "immensely damaged' here is Steve Jobs' feelings and that's only because he is a control freak. The "financial hit" on Apple cannot be calculated because all the "lost" customers are already drooling over the leaked phone thanks to this huge wave of free publicity. Apple has only gained from this entire incident and owes Gizmodo some appreciation for that.

Oh No, the press leaked information about something!!! BURN THEM AT THE STAKES!! seriously, people need to learn what the hell the press's job is, because they are only do what they get paid to do....
Apple's fault for not protecting their products enough from this type of thing. And who cares if apple loses some money, they make plenty. Are they paying any of you for all this loyalty? Because the way some of you are acting, its like Jobs is your bed fellow or something... He doesn't care about you, as you can see by the way he locks his stuff down, so why do you care so much about him and his company?
So much outrage over such petty things. If only people would get this involved in real matters, like priest touching little boys, oil spills, or our government.....

I'll give them that it might have affected sales a bit because the leak gave some people even more reason to maybe go ahead and wait on possibly purchasing a current version iPhone. But, I would also think that some of those that might have decided to wait were already leaning that way anyway or (like myself) had already decided to wait until June to see exactly what the new iPhone would bring.

Fix sales by releasing iPhone it to all carriers. Everyone will buy a 3GS and leave the 4G exclusive 1yr to At&Shi**ty Problem solved! I know people would still buy an iPhone even if it wasn't the 4G.

STOP

Its all bull****... Everyone knew a new iPhone was coming out anyways... Apple didn't lose any money on this, They actually saved money. Think about how much free press Apple got... Every news station in the country air'd a segment about a glorified phone. This is one big, outta control, reckless, PR Machine that is just chugging along being refueled by idiots who are oblivious.

can't agree with "immensely damaging", but it must have affected the current iphone sales somewhat. whether the leak was intentional or not, the way the Gizmodo crew handled it is totally wrong. even if it was indeed "lost" by the engineer , it doesn't give you the right to just tear it up into pieces. no matter how you sugar-coat it, "omg we called Apple but they didn't want it!!!" , you tore something that doesn't belong to you (and you know it) to pieces, that is WRONG. i can't believe i'm actually siding with Apple on this as i usually hate Apple, but this time i really do hope they sue that stupid Jason guy and the whole retarded Gizmodo site.

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