Although things have gone quiet in the Gizmodo iPhone 4G prototype story, it seems that a lot has still been happening in the background. Thanks to the efforts of CNET and other media organizations, what exactly has been happening has now been revealed via the unsealing of the affidavit of the detectives in the case.
I’m telling you right now, someone is turning this into a made-for-cable TV movie. This whole story reads like a suspense novel … except it’s about a phone.
The most important piece of info, and the one we’ve all been speculating on, is that it has now been confirmed that it was Apple that filed a complaint and asked for the investigation. Apparently Apple contacted Gizmodo asking for the phone back as soon as the pictures appeared on the site. Not only was it Apple calling, but apparently Steve Jobs himself made the call. Gizmodo said they would only do it if Apple confirmed it was the next iPhone, which they never came right out and said.
At this point in the tale, Apple called the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office and asked them to investigate the case. Once they received the phone back, they added to the authorities that the phone had been damaged by Gizmodo, listing the following problems:
Sewell said that upon returning to Apple, employees attempted to power the phone and found that it no longer functioned. Upon examining the phone, they found the following damage occurred to it as a result of the phone being disassembling[sic]:
1. Broken ribbon cable
2. One screw was inserted into the wrong location and caused an electrical short
3. Back plate snaps were broken.
4. Stripped Screws.
As the investigation continued, Detective Matthew Broad of course wanted to discover who it was had sold the phone to Gizmodo, and it was a call from a Katherine Martinson who revealed who it was. Ms. Martinson was the roommate to Brian Hogan and Thomas Warner who was concerned of being accused of being an accessory due to the fact the two men had connected the iPhone to her computer. She told Det. Board that Mr. Hogan had shown her a box full of $5,000 in $100 dollar bills he had received from Gizmodo, and that he had been promised $5,000 more if this was the phone eventually debuted by Apple.
The next chapter … well, it is mind blowing, so it is best left to the affidavit (images produced by TechCrunch)
Just a future tip for anyone in this sort of situation, don’t try hiding or destroying evidence, it never ends well.
While there is no real way to know where this will end up going in the end, one thing is for sure that Hogan and Warner sure have acted like guilty parties. It could come the naiveté of their age, or it could just be plain stupidity, but either way it doesn’t reflect well on either of them.
Of course there is still the debate if this should have ever moved to an investigation, but it has, and that can’t be changed. It will be ultimately up to the district attorney if any charges will be filed, but at least we finally have an idea of what is going on.
What say you? Should this be under a criminal investigation?