Apple asks for its “iPhone 4” back

Apple has reportedly sent a letter to tech site Gizmodo, requesting the return of the now infamous iPhone 4.

Apple asks for its

Gizmodo yesterday claimed to have got its hands on a prototype fourth-generation iPhone, that was accidentally left in a bar close to Apple’s Palo Alto headquarters.

The site claimed the device was concealed within the casing of an iPhone 3GS, and contained genuine Apple parts.


Should Gizmodo have named the iPhone loser?

The device’s authenticity appears to have been confirmed by a letter from Apple’s legal department, which was sent to Gizmodo’s editor. “It has come to our attention that Gizmodo is currently in possession of a device that belongs to Apple,” reads the letter from Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell. “This letter constitutes a formal request that you return the device to Apple. Please let me know where to pick up the unit.”

Gizmodo editor Brian Lam says he will return the device, which the site is believed to have paid up to $10,000 for. “Happy to have you pick this thing up,” Lam writes in a reply to Apple. “Was burning a hole in our pockets. Just so you know, we didn’t know this was stolen when we bought it. Now that we definitely know it’s not some knock-off, and it really is Apple’s, I’m happy to see it returned to its rightful owner.”

Apple employee identified

The website has also managed to identify the Apple employee who mislaid the device. He’s reported to be 27-year-old software engineer Gray Powell, who apparently left the device in the bar in Redwood City.

The device was reportedly spotted by a fellow customer, who handed the iPhone to someone who was sitting next to Gray, believing them to be friends. The recipient of the iPhone turned on the device, which apparently operated like a normal iPhone, but kept crashing whenever he activated the camera – which has been upgraded on the prototype device. He found Gray’s profile using the Facebook application on the device.

The man took the iPhone home with him, and the next day he apparently noticed the unusual casing and the new front-mounted camera. At which point he decided to try and prise the casing open and discovered the new iPhone 4 inside.

By this time, Apple had disabled the device remotely using the MobileMe service. The man claims he tried to contact Apple to report the missing device, but says his calls were effectively ignored. It seems he then made a tidy profit by selling the device to Gizmodo.

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