How Nick Denton “Found” the Next iPhone
The story behind the story. From Mr. Denton’s Perspective.
Denton I just bought pre-release iPhone from some guy, and I think it’s the real deal! We’re fine, right? I mean, Apple can’t sue us for writing about it as long as we give it back once they ask for it?
Lawyer Uh, not exactly… You really have to be careful with stuff like this… First off, how do you even know it’s real?
D It was logged into an Apple engineer’s Facebook account before they remote-wiped it!
L Good heavens… Apple can’t be happy about this. How did this guy get it?
D That doesn’t matter now, right? It was out in the wild!
L My god. He stole it.
D I mean, I don’t know that he stole it. That’s what matters, right?
LOh man. Well, if it was stolen and you spill the beans, you might be liable for misappropriation of trade secrets. You might be OK if it was really lost, but if it’s stolen you’re screwed… All you can do is distance yourself from this guy, and make it clear that what happened is unclear.
D What if this guy, like, found it on the ground? Finders keepers!
L But he knows which engineer it belonged to - he’d have to try to track him down.
D Isn’t it enough to say he tried to contact Apple and failed? That’d be like trying to tell the Obamas that you have Bo! It’s not your fault if they don’t believe you!
L Bottom line is that you might be screwed if this guy took it from an Apple engineer and didn’t do enough to return it.
D Then… what if someone else found it - and handed it to him thinking it was his!
L Hypothetically, maybe, but…
D Yeah! And the guy who found it was, like, really really drunk… and if he said “here! take this!” I mean, then he’s not taking it from the engineer - the drunk guy is! I have to go write this down!
L [pouring a stiff drink] Good luck.