Apple giveth, and Apple breaketh down the door to taketh away

So. On the day I posted my last vomiting of ill-regarded words, Gizmodo lights up the technosphere with video, photos, description, drafting illustrations, ¼-scale clay mockups and an origami version of the semi-top-secret-except-we-already-knew-most-of-the-features-anyway iPhone 4G. (If you've been stuck reinstalling OS X on your Hackintosh the last 10 days—or was that just me—click here for the goods.) For those whose blood sugar has crashed and are unable to click on the Gizmodo link, let me summarize:

  1. On March 18, 2010, Apple engineer Gray Powell took a disguised prototype iPhone 4G to a German bierhaus in Redwood, California, to test the phone's new Fraulein Attraction Processor that Apple had scored in its acquisition of P.A. Semiconductor.
  2. After viel bier, Powell stumbled home or into a cab or, more likely, to a tattoo parlor to get a third "Zune Suxxorz Ballz" tat.
  3. A dude (now identified as 21-year-old Brian "Terry Bollea" Hogan) at the bar found the iPhone and, after waiting around for its owner to return (so he claims), took it home to spoon.
  4. The next morning, The Hulkster discovered the iPhone had been remotely bricked. It was then that he noticed the phone felt different than a standard issue 3GS. Sure enough, the shell was nothing but a clever ruse hiding the flat-bottomed girl within.
  5. Powell called the bar. No phone. Full-on freak out commenced.
  6. A friend of The Hulkster, possibly Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, called an Apple support number and mumbled something about having a prototype iPhone with "sweet nunchuck skills.dis54" The lowest-level Apple minions hung up.
  7. Beefcake allegedly dialed up some tech sites and got Gizmodo to cough up five large for the non-working but still dissectible prototype.
  8. After much poking and prodding, Gizmodo published a couple of articles and videos of the phone. Nerd bowels across the world spontaneously, simultaneously evacuated.
  9. Apple sent a letter (demanded by Gizmodo) requesting their phone back. Gizmodo complied.
  10. Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's house is raided by The Man at the request of Apple. No, not at the request of Apple. Yes, at the request of Apple. No, at the request of some guy in a black turtleneck named Steffan Jobes. The police actually broke down Chen's door while he was at dinner. And nothing harshes an In-N-Out buzz like finding the fuzz going through your wife's dainties upon your return. Trust me.
  11. The Internet and Jon Stewart called B.S.

And there you go.

I understand Apple being peeved that their top-secret (to them) device got plastered all over the net. And I understand that the legality of both selling the device to Gizmodo and Gizmodo buying the device are a bit nebulous. But come on, Apple. The only people you're harming in your little witch-hunt are yourselves. Your guy goofed. Period. Should The Hulkster have tried a little harder to get the phone back? Sure. But maybe if you hadn't bricked the thing and instead stuck a non-defeatable alert screen on the phone with, here's an idea, a contact number on it, things might've gone your way.

Should Gizmodo have paid money for it? Is that what journalists do these days? Heck if I know. I'm just glad the five grand went toward and iPhone and not another shot of a stumbling Lohan. And in an age where most news is spewed out with equal parts snark and venom (Venark? Snenom? Bennifer?), it's hard to get worked up about a journo fattening some guy's PayPal account to hand over a device that, oh wait, an Apple employee left sitting on a bar stool in a public place.

So yeah. Maybe Apple could just chill out a bit. Not like we didn't already know about the front-facing camera or higher-res screen. And is anyone not going to get the 4G now that they've seen the new form factor? I'm actually more likely to trade up now that I've witnessed the practical glory of the flat back. Always did seem dumb to have a curved back on a phone with a touch interface. You know, because it's nice to be able to set it down on a table or sherpa and be able to scroll without wobbling. Little things.

Anyway, Apple, please, go back to being the Susan Powter lookalike with the high-waisted orange shorts and less of a Red Forman drone. And me, well, I'll start spitting out these analogies before Stewart steals all my best material. Well, probably not.



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