History of the Leaked iPhone 4 Prototype

Hey guys, it’s Greg with Apple Explained,
and today we’re going to explore the history of the leaked iPhone 4 prototype. This topic was the first place winner of last
weeks voting poll and if you didn’t get to vote, make sure you’re subscribed, that
way the voting polls will show up right in your activity feed and you can let me know
which video you’d like to see next. So if you’re one of my younger viewers,
you may not know much about this story since it took place eight years ago, but you need
to understand that what we’re about to discuss is considered by most people as the biggest
tech leak in history. And that probably sounds impossible since
Apple is known for being the most secretive company in the world, I mean, they have multiple
locks on labs with unreleased products, they have armored doors, they constantly change
system passwords, and they even have their own security force patrolling their campus
at all times for intruders and spies. And if that wasn’t enough, every prototype
they built was kept under surveillance with restricted access only to people who were
directly included in the products development. And this is why most Apple employees are just
as shocked as we are when the company introduces a new product. There was even a story about a worker being
fired for showing an unreleased iPad to another Apple employee. So it’s pretty hard to imagine that a super
secret iPhone prototype would appear on a random bar stool twenty miles away from Apple’s
campus. But that just proves that no matter how hard
a company tries to be perfect, it’ll eventually make a mistake since companies are just made
up of humans, and humans are imperfect. So this mistake had something to do with an
unreleased iPhone 4 prototype, a tech news website called Gizmodo, and a very angry Steve
Jobs. So all of this happened back in April 2010
when the 3GS was the most recent iPhone model. An employee named Gray Powell was responsible
for field testing an unreleased iPhone prototype which would later become the iPhone 4. Now Gray was a twenty-seven year old Apple
engineer who had been with the company for two years, and this whole event actually happened
on his birthday. Now keep in mind that most of this story is
based on what Gray Powell said happened, so we don’t really know if all of this is 100%
true, but we’ll at least get the main idea. So it was April 2010 and Powell went out to
celebrate his birthday with drinks at a German bar called Gourmet Haus Staudt. He had a few drinks and even updated his FaceBook
status from the phone he was testing. Now the person who eventually ended up with
possession of the leaked iPhone was named Brian Hogan who was at the bar with his friend,
and he was sitting next to Gray Powell but obviously didn’t think much about him at
the time. Eventually Gray Powell left the bar and forgot
his iPhone prototype on a stool. So we know Brian ended up with the iPhone
prototype, but he wasn’t the guy who found it. Someone else sitting on the other side of
Powell was the first person who actually saw the iPhone on the stool. He asked Brian if it was his iPhone, and Brian
said no, but the other guy figured it must’ve belong to one of Brian’s friends so he handed
the phone to him saying, “here, take it, you don’t want to lose it.” Now I’m not sure if that’s actually what
happened or if Brian made that part up to remove some responsibility for taking the
phone, but either way he ended up with the phone in his hand, and he didn’t know who
it belonged to. So he asked around the bar, but no one claimed
it. And then he thought, maybe it belong to the
guy who was sitting next to him earlier in the evening, which it did. Because the person who sat next to him was
Gray Powell. So Brian and his friend stayed at the bar
thinking he might come back for it, but Gray never returned. Now Gray and Brian never actually talked or
introduced each other while sitting at the bar, so Brian didn’t know anything about
the phone’s owner to try and get into contact with him. Because of this, Brian figured that if he
could get into the phone and look around a little bit, he’d eventually find the owners
name or even their contact information to return the phone. So he successfully unlocked the phone and
played around with it while waiting. At this point he just thought it was a normal
iPhone 3GS but then it started doing some strange things. He tried opening the camera app, but it crashed
every time. There were also two weird looking bar codes
on the back, and a model number sticker next to the volume keys, so the whole thing just
seemed a little off. Now there was six pages of applications on
the home screen, and one of them was Facebook. He launched FaceBook figuring that’d be
a good way to identify the owner, and that’s when he discovered the iPhone belonged to
none other than Apple engineer Gray Powell. Now since Brian knew who the owner was, he
left the bar and figured he’d just get into contact with Gray later on. But when he woke up the next morning, the
phone was dead. It was bricked remotely through MobileMe,
similar to the remote wipe feature offered by iCloud today. And it was only then that he realized that
there was something strange about the iPhones design. The outside of it didn’t feel right and he
noticed there was a camera on the front. Some that no iPhone ever had before. So after messing with it a bit, he managed
to take off the fake 3GS case and realized he was holding a device no one had ever seen
before. Its design was completely different from any
iPhone ever made. With a stainless-steel band around the perimeter
and a flat glass back. At this point he understood how serious the
situation was, he was holding an unreleased iPhone that Apple definitely knew was missing
and definitely was looking for. Brian didn’t want Apple showing up on his
doorstep. So he used his own phone to call Apple support
and tried to find someone who was at least willing to transfer his call to the right
person, but that didn’t happen. Here’s the actual transcript of the conversation
that happened between Brian and an AppleCare representative: Hello, thanks for calling AppleCare / Hello. I think I have some kind of iPhone prototype,
or something! / What? / Yeah, it’s kinda square, and it doesn’t
work. I found it in a bar. / Ok! Thanks for calling. Obviously no one on the other end took him
seriously but who can blame them? I mean imagine working for Apple and some
random guy calls up claiming he has an iPhone prototype. I’d probably think it was a prank call or
something. Eventually Brian got a ticket number from
Apple so he expected someone to call him back, but no one ever did. Now Gray Powell told his boss that he lost
the iPhone prototype and that news went straight to the top. Steve Jobs was furious. But Apple had no way of tracking down the
iPhone since it was remotely disabled. And if you’re thinking, “why didn’t
they just locate it with Find My iPhone,” well they couldn’t because the beta release
of iOS 4 that the prototype was running didn’t work with Find My iPhone. So Apple, and Brian, were totally screwed. At this point Brian figured if Apple wouldn’t
take their own prototype, maybe a media outlet would. And maybe they’d pay a lot of money for
it. So he called around to different tech blogs
like Engadget and Gizmodo and offered them the prototype for $10,000. Apparently there was a bidding war between
the two companies and Brian eventually accepted $5,000 from Gizmodo plus a bonus depending
on how much traffic the post received. Then on the morning of April 20th, Jason Chen
from Gizmodo published a post called “This Is Apple’s Next iPhone.” It was a hands-on tell all about the prototype
they had received from Brian, and Jason Chen gave a detailed explanation why he believed
the device was a legitimate Apple product. His explanation was so convincing that Jon
Gruber, a well known Apple insider, said himself that the leak was legit. And this endorsement actually caused Engadget
to revise their article about the prototype to make it sound less skeptical, since all
signs were pointing to this leaked iPhone being the real deal. Now once the story got out and was validated,
every news outlet imaginable ran wild with their own stories. But the focus of the coverage always came
back to Gizmodo since everyone was wondering how they got the iPhone in the first place. Some outlets thought Gizmodo was guilty of
receiving stolen property, and all of this drama quickly got the attention of Apple CEO
Steve Jobs. He actually called Jason Chen himself and
said “I want my phone back.” Now this began a series of emails back and
forth between Apple and Gizmodo, but Apple isn’t a very patient company when it comes
to recovering unreleased products, so they sent a police force called the California
Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, whatever the heck that is, and they actually kicked
down Jason Chen’s door, took four computers, two servers, cameras, and an an iPhone. Now this was technically legal since they
had a warrant, but this move by Apple was very controversial since journalists are entitled
to “shield laws” that protect them from having newsroom equipment seized. But no charges were filed against anyone in
this case. Now what’s interesting about this whole
ordeal is what Steve Jobs publicly said about it compared to what he allegedly did about
it. Here’s a clip of him discussing the issue
at the All Things Digital conference in 2010 [clip] So Jobs made it sound like he wasn’t really too involved and it was
all being left up to the district attorney and whatever ended up happening was fine with
him. But sources close to Jobs described a much
different attitude than what he was showing in that clip. They said Jobs was furious about the situation
and was more involved than anyone else at Apple, demanding updates on any new developments
in the story, no matter how small. And remember the California Rapid Enforcement
Allied Computer Team? Well that turned out to be a private security
force that was largely funded by Apple, and supposedly it was Jobs who pushed for that
team to get a warrant and forcefully enter Jason Chen’s home. Now Apple may have made some morally questionable
decisions during this event, but the real jerks were the people at Gizmodo. They promised Brian a $3,000 bonus after the
post was published, but never followed through. They also threw him under the bus legally,
so he was burdened with all the attorney fees and court costs that Gizmodo managed to avoid. Actually, after the whole ordeal was over,
Brian ended up losing money and it completely destroyed his personal life. If you want to read more about how this effected
him you should read his AMA on Reddit from 2013, its a kind’ve sad but really interesting
story. And as for Gray Powell, the Apple engineer
who actually lost the iPhone, he continued to work for Apple and didn’t really face
any consequences which is kind’ve surprising, but hey, I guess everyone makes mistake. So that is the history of the lost iPhone
4 prototype, and if you want to vote for the next video topic, don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next

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100 thoughts on “History of the Leaked iPhone 4 Prototype

  1. This feels like it has been a setup by the engineer to cause controversy and expand the Apple name on news headlines.

  2. How about instead of calling Apple Care, just go up to the Apple campus and hand it to a security guard. Make it their problem

  3. Oh god, imagine if an iPhone 22 (for the sake of technology advancement), which iPhone didn't even release yet right now, just ends up, abandoned in a bar

  4. You forgot to mention that the police busted down his door AFTER he returned the iPhone. The guy had returned the iPhone, then the next day they raided his house.

  5. It absolutely makes my blood boil to hear how Apple forced their way into someone's house to take some of their stuff. If I had my way, that would be very illegal.

  6. now days applemakes a pattent and samsung comes to apple to shove it up his face… still samsung fold sucks but, the s10 is great btw surely were apple was heading.

  7. Apple employee shows another Apple employee the new iPad: Gets fired.
    Loses the super secret iPhone prototype in a bar: Nothing happens.

  8. I read a biography about Steve Jobs… read one and you’ll know why a angry Steve Jobs isn’t good…

  9. I was a regular Gizmodo reader back then, I was so amazed by this while it was happening it was such a big deal. Gizmodo was barred from life from Apple events for this and were bitter ever since. The only thing I could think of for comparison would be someone finding a copy of Avengers End Game today.

  10. Is Apple a state? Since when do private companies get to obtain warrants to break into someone's apartment/office and confiscate their computers?

  11. Now if you found a prototype people would steal it (I’m not saying that you would, some people would)

  12. People here are saying well look how much it leaks now. No. This was an actual prototype, new design, new iOS that people could actually see and play with. Not alleged pictures of leaks

  13. I wanted to be able to root for at least one person in this situation, or maybe feel bad for one of the people involved… But I thought about it… No.. This is a story about a bunch of fucking dipshits.

  14. I said then & I believe it still, that whole thing was purposely done by Apple. Why is it that every year we get leaks on upcoming phones and then when they're released, they' look just like the leaks?

  15. How does a private citizen get a search warrant? I thought those were only given to official police. Plus, it seems that Steve Jobs lied multiple times in his version of the story. When the guy who found the iPhone tried repeatedly to give it back to Apple, but Apple would not take it, then how exactly is that considered "theft"?

  16. Lol i bought a brand new iphone 3g not long ago just for the hell of it and i tell ya its seriously fucking slow idk why it was even released even for back then it was so fucking slow

  17. I kind of liked the video BUT … I've had to go through two adds before the clip even started and had to go through two additional adds during the video. This is ridiculous for a barely 11 minute video. It's worse than TV!

  18. Oh boy, I remember this very well, it was huge huge news and spawned so many conspiracies. I still think the whole thing was intentional!

  19. The engineer didn't get fired because he didn't do anything wrong.

    The guy from the bar got in trouble (legal fees etc) because he sold property which he knew didn't belong to him, property which he knew the rightful owner of full well.

    And Gizmodo got in trouble because they bought it.

    If you went to Apple HQ and the big metal Apple sign at the gate had fallen off and was laying on the floor, would you just pick it up and sell it on eBay and think that was okay? Because that's what he did.

    He knew the correct thing to do when you find a lost phone was to find a way to identify its owner and return it. He should also have reasonably suspected that if an Apple employee lost an iPhone prototype in a bar and that prototype was leaked, the employee would be much more likely to be fired than if it was returned without incident.

  20. Steve definitely was going ape-shit that day, as it was the most radical redesign of an iPhone with a new body shape and style that would last until late 2014 when the iPhone 6 came out, as the 5 and 5s were basically similar to the 4 with the exception being the 5 and 5s used lightning port instead of the old 30pin connector ,anyway the 4 and 4s were a million times better than the awful 3GS only complaint is the lack of 4g but in 20110 4g was a brand new technology only available in South Korea, i myself was very lucky to own one of the first 4g smartphones in 2011 a Sony Xperia i remember i was on a flight from London to Los Angeles and the guy next to me was amazed by the size of the phone as it had a 4.5 inch display which back in 2011 was huge !! anyway good memories

  21. Imagine if the iPhone 11S was leaked in 2020, ten years after the iPhone 4 leak. exactly the same way the iPhone 4 leaked. Just wait.

  22. All Gray Powell needs to put on his resume is “I lost an iPhone prototype, Steve Jobs found out, and I didn’t get fired”. If that isn’t proof that you are a great engineer, I don’t know what is.

  23. My first time watching your videos. I'm on my lunch break and this looked awesome. I work for AT&T and we get inside looks on all things Samsung but apple… Never. We don't know anything until release date lol

  24. Actually find my iphone first came out with iphone 4, not during 3gs days, so your story is flawed


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