Apple pressed local police to investigate the loss of a next-generation iPhone a day after Gizmodo published photographs, telling investigators that prototype was so valuable a price could not be placed on it, according to court documents made public Friday.
In response to arguments made by CNET and other media organizations, a San Mateo judge unsealed documents that provide a detailed glimpse into an April 20 meeting between Apple lawyers and executives and law enforcement, and highlights of a madcap dash for evidence that evening that led a police detective to a gas station, a church, and a bush in Redwood City where a thumb drive and a 1 GB Lexar Media compact flash card were allegedly hidden.
During the meeting with law enforcement, Apple attorney George Riley told detectives that the publication by Gizmodo -- part of Gawker Media -- was immensely damaging. "Sales of current Apple products are hurt wherein people that would have otherwise purchased a currently existing Apple product would wait for the next item to be released, thereby hurting overall sales and negatively effecting Apple's earnings," Riley said, according to an affidavit prepared by a police detective made public on Friday.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally contacted Gizmodo editor Brian Lam to request the prototype's return the day the story was published on April 19, but Lam refused to do so unless the company provided "confirmation that it is real, from Apple, officially," according to an e-mail message that was also made public.
"Right now, we have nothing to lose," Lam wrote. "The thing is, Apple PR has been cold to us lately. It affected my ability to do my job right at iPad launch. So we had to go outside and find our stories like this one, very aggressively." (Gawker Media has offered to pay anyone who gave them or lent them Apple prototypes.)
Brian Hogan, a 21-year old Redwood City resident, found the phone in a bar. But the affidavit prepared by Detective Matthew Broad in the San Mateo County sheriff's office reveals that an important tip came when Hogan's roommate, Katherine Martinson, called police on April 21 to let them know he had examined it.
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