The story of the lost iPhone prototype (presumably an iPhone 5) that I mentioned last week has gotten much, much stranger in the last week.
As you may remember, last week word leaked that another Apple employee left a prototype iPhone in a San Francisco bar and that Apple employees and the SFPD had searched at least one residence in an attempt to retrieve it. That all seems reasonable, yeah? But then this chain of events took place:
- SFPD said it had no record of its investigators participating in any search for a missing iPhone. This, of course, raised the possibility that Apple employees had impersonated SFPD personnel when conducting a search (especially given that the person whose home was searched said that only two out of six people entered his home and that they didn't explicitly say they were cops).
- But then the next day SFPD changed course and said 3-4 plainclothes officers had worked with Apple security staff in searching the home.
- Once Labor Day had passed, SFPD launched an internal investigation into what happened during the search (as they should; way too many strange things going on with this one not to at least figure out exactly what happened).
- And, quite sensibly, Apple is now hiring for product security managers.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of the SFPD investigation and whether Apple has anything else to say about the matter. It's not hard to imagine Apple being particularly vigorous in its search for the missing phone after last year's Gizmodo-led debacle with the iPhone 4. While it's conceivable that vigor to keep the phone from the press could have led Apple staff to overstep their bounds, there's no concrete evidence of that yet. Still, it would be nice to know exactly what happened.
Once Labor Day passed, the Apple news really started to heat up. I think this is going to be a busy fall. Here are the items that stood out to me:
On the iPhone 5 front:
- Foxconn, Apple's Chinese manufacturing partner, is said to be producing 150,000 iPhone 5s a day.
- Best Buy seems to be expecting an October launch of the phone.
- Want more evidence that the iPhone is coming to Sprint? Installation of Sprint cellular equipment to Apple stores is rumored to be underway.
In legal news:
- HTC is yet again suing Apple for patent infringement using patents Google just provided (apparently for a fee, but it's unclear how much) to the company. (Just because I like to keep saying it: we obviously and urgently need patent reform in the U.S.)
- The U.S. Justice Dept., which has sued to prevent AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile, has been ordered by a federal judge to discuss possible settlements with the companies.