Apple to Gizmodo, “we want our device back”

After the reports of a lost iPhone that was found in a bar somewhere in San Jose, California, questions have been floating if this is definitely the next iPhone, named iPhone 4G/HD, and if it belongs to Apple.

Gizmodo has been reporting that they have been receiving numerous calls about the device, all asking about the device, until Apple called.  Apple was requesting that Gizmodo returned the phone, and they were more than willing to do so, if Apple can officially write a formal letter requesting the device back.

A letter from Bruce Sewell, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, to Gizmodo said:
It has come to our attention that GIZMODO is currently in possession of a device that belongs to Apple.  This letter constitutes a formal request that you return the device to Apple.  Please let me know where to pick up the unit.”

This doesn’t answer the question, “is this the next iPhone”, but is solid proof that this device is definitely a prototype that Apple is experimenting with.  Whether or not you are still skeptical about the entire ordeal, this is likely the iPhone 4G/HD that we can expect to be re-unveiled on June 22.

gizmodoiPhoneDoc

image courtesy of Gizmodo.

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67 Comments

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I can imagine Apple will look at the comments on the device to gauge at least some feedback out of what is a crap situation for them.

I like the look of this, just hope it is resiliant than the 3G/3GS. The plastic back is crap and take a lot to keep in good condition.

Septimus said,
I can imagine Apple will look at the comments on the device to gauge at least some feedback out of what is a crap situation for them.

I like the look of this, just hope it is resiliant than the 3G/3GS. The plastic back is crap and take a lot to keep in good condition.

Mine is cracked from the bottom of the volume buttons to the headphone jack. I had a screw come loose inside causing shorts from it. I don't drop my phone too often and when I do, it's from my lap and has a rubber lol I had to open up the phone and do a little looking for the short and found the screw just loose stuck between a couple other parts. I took it out and no more shortin out.

There are two issues, (i) ownership of physical property and (ii) ownership of trade secrets.
This letter deals with the first: the phone belongs to Applie and it was outrageious of Gizmodo to disassemble it rather than return it. Just because it made a news story doesn't mean it was right to do this.
As for Gizmodo's use of the information it wrongfully obtained, the urgency has gone as the information is now out, but the question of the legal consequences is no doubt something of which we will hear more in due course.

gb8080 said,
There are two issues, (i) ownership of physical property and (ii) ownership of trade secrets.
This letter deals with the first: the phone belongs to Applie and it was outrageious of Gizmodo to disassemble it rather than return it. Just because it made a news story doesn't mean it was right to do this.
As for Gizmodo's use of the information it wrongfully obtained, the urgency has gone as the information is now out, but the question of the legal consequences is no doubt something of which we will hear more in due course.

If it is a real leak then Apple is FORCED to take legal measures against Gizmodo. Apple is forced to do it because is the will of the shareholder to not to hurts future sales, neither to slip secret technology to possible competitors.

Otherwise, if it is a scam then Apple will do nothing but just send snail mail letter, fax or simple emails.

"we want out super secret device that was "leaked" somehow and we dont want to make it public because its a secret"!. Give me a break.

Well, noone said that the attached document was legal correspondence. It seems it is a very nice way of asking for their device back. I'm sure if this email is ignored, then the legal bloodhounds will take this to the Nth degree and smack down Gizmodo.

It says sent by email. Which is not considered a secure form of delivery for legal correspondence last time i checked. Too many things smell fishy about this. Gizmodo seems likey they are turning into a worse form of gizmondo.

Windows7even said,
It says sent by email. Which is not considered a secure form of delivery for legal correspondence last time i checked. Too many things smell fishy about this. Gizmodo seems likey they are turning into a worse form of gizmondo.

Email transmits messages (i) conveniently and (ii) quickly. That's why it's so ubiquitous. This message did not have to be sent securely; that did not outweigh the advantages. So it was sent by email. Do you really think lawyers never use email?? Of course they do.

Even funnier now may be the fact that the moron who found the phone, and thought he's make a quick buck by selling it to Gizmodo will now probably blow through that money he got from them and more so on legal fees now that he could be possibly be in trouble for selling stolen property. Personally I would have returned it to Apple, who probably would have been so happy to get it back you would have at least gotten a free new iphone once they were finished and being sold. Now the guy probably wont need a cell phone because you can't have one in jail. LOL

Apple has gone ballistic for lesser things, issuing cease-and-desist orders as well as legal notices for the smallest infractions. The fact that it would take Apple and its legal counsel that long to respond to a lost device, as if it were some careless piece of stolen luggage, seems supicious. They let it sit out on the internet for nearly 72 hours before contacting GIZMODO, and with a paper letter, leaving a trail for the blog to post on the internet. This is not Apple.

If the device is reported stolen, wouldn't Gizmodo be in possession of stolen property, or worse, guilty of purchasing stolen property that they obviously knew was owned by Apple. I think this will be a pretty interesting story to follow. Obviously Gizmodo purchased the phone to review it and get traffic to their site, but wow, not a real smart move legally. I look forward to Neowin looking into this legal snafu that Gizmodo has put themselves in.

Assuming a June 22nd announcement, when will the phone actually be released? I haven't kept up on my apple announcement/release dates... so when can we expect this phone to hit shelves?

Windows7even said,
Since when do legal requests get sent over email?

When it's urgent. Why not, happens all the time. Lawyers and judges can understand email, you know.

I keep seeing this implication that this was intentionally leaked. Assuming this was not some early 4g prototype, what could apple change between now an June? Nothing. I don't think this was intentionally leaked at all. Perhaps the final units have tighters seams and whatnot, but it sure looks more professional than the 3g I have now.

I also see comments about legal claims from Apple. Gizmodo has no NDA from apple. They bought a phone and wrote about it. Apple contacted them and they returned it.

I wouldn't be suprised if apple does a 180% on the device just to continue to show innovation and difference during the annouchments. They will keep the minimal features like a front facing camera. But I wouldn't doubt the design of the device may change significantly. They may not keep the squarish look and revert back to the rounded look but keep the same features.

Klownicle said,
I wouldn't be suprised if apple does a 180% on the device just to continue to show innovation and difference during the annouchments. They will keep the minimal features like a front facing camera. But I wouldn't doubt the design of the device may change significantly. They may not keep the squarish look and revert back to the rounded look but keep the same features.

The thing is probably almost in production. I highly doubt that.

At least there are a few of us around that when this 'found' article first showed up our first thoughts were 'Isn't our first reaction as a human supposed to be "Hey, I found this, I should try and find the rightful owner." ?'.

chadlachlanross said,
At least there are a few of us around that when this 'found' article first showed up our first thoughts were 'Isn't our first reaction as a human supposed to be "Hey, I found this, I should try and find the rightful owner." ?'.

yea. It's a bit gay to run off with it and give it to "Gizmondo".
Plus if you were honest and gave it back, you might get a free Macbook Pro, or more realistically, an Apple sticker.

Lamp0 said,

yea. It's a bit gay to run off with it and give it to "Gizmondo".
Plus if you were honest and gave it back, you might get a free Macbook Pro, or more realistically, an Apple sticker.

I think they bricked it the next morning

chadlachlanross said,
At least there are a few of us around that when this 'found' article first showed up our first thoughts were 'Isn't our first reaction as a human supposed to be "Hey, I found this, I should try and find the rightful owner." ?'.

According to the Gizmondo article, the original finder tried to contact Apple about it but was fruitless (calling tech support, eh?). Apparently the finder had used the device and looked around enough to find Gary's Facebook, and this was supposedly a month ago too..

Martog said,

According to the Gizmondo article, the original finder tried to contact Apple about it but was fruitless (calling tech support, eh?). Apparently the finder had used the device and looked around enough to find Gary's Facebook, and this was supposedly a month ago too..


And the next logical course of action was to sell the device to a major tech news outlet?

I'm confused the letter says sent by email, but its formatted like a real letter, with a logo and proper signature.

OS X will create and display PDF documents without a byte of Adobe binary. PDF isn't so bad, it's Adobe Reader that rests right on the line of being useful or more trouble than it's worth.

"Please let me know where to pick up the unit". Are they gonna put it in a briefcase and leave in a park or at a train station? Can't they just send it through the mail or arrange a meeting?