Missing iPhone saga continues; police said to be involved

April 23, 2010

iphoneblahSure, it was one of the busiest weeks on the tech earnings calendar, but despite a crush of important indicators about the health of the industry, all anyone seems to care about was that famously wayward iPhone, which caused such a stir earlier in the week.

And just as it seemed the story was about to peter out, there was a report Friday that the police are now investigating the case.

If you’ve been living in a cave for the past week (ignoring David Letterman and publicity-seeking airlines) and missed all the hubbub, here’s the recap: young Apple engineer accidentally leaves a apparent prototype of fourth-generation iPhone in a Silicon Valley bar, where the device is recovered by an unknown individual, who turns around and sells it to gadget site Gizmodo for $5,000. Gizmodo promptly reveals to the world all the glories of the new iPhone, complete with pictures. Apple asks for, and gets, the device back.

Cue raging debate across the Apple-obsessed blogosphere about Gizmodo’s ethics, Apple’s PR strategy, etc, etc…

The latest wrinkle: Cnet, citing an anonymous law enforcement source, reported that Apple has spoken to local police about the matter. The investigation, which Cnet said is believed to headed by a computer crime task force led by the local district attorney’s office, is to determine whether there is enough evidence to file criminal charges — the article cites an 1872 California law under which a person who finds lost property and knows who the owner may be, but keeps it anyway, can be guilty of theft.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. The company in the past hasn’t been shy about pursuing legal action against those it thinks are revealing its trade secrets.

Stay tuned, this story doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon…

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