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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Classic Story: Engineer Walks Into A Bar...

So yesterday, Gizmodo got a hold of what it breathlessly described as the latest Apple iPhone. I saw the story and clicked through, amazed that so much buzz could be created by such little story. ("It's clear that the features in this lost-and-found next-generation iPhone are drastically new and drastically different from what came before." Like, for example, it's squarish! The volume button isn't a single button anymore--there are two! There appears to be a video cam on the front! Okay, that one is new.)

Today we get the rest of the story. Yup, it's a new iPhone, all right, and Apple wants it back. But how did it get into the hands of the dastardly (and comic) press? Beer.
Apple engineer Gray Powell, who was working on the Baseband Software that will allow the phone to actually make calls, lost the device at the beer garden not far from company headquarters, where he was celebrating his 27th birthday. He'd been testing it, disguised as a 3GS. His status update sent from the phone read, “I underestimated how good German beer is.”
A rookie mistake. Beer bloggers and other tech-dependent pub-goers know that you never take your phone out of your pocket except to use it. We've all been there: a few panicked moments patting every pocket and craning around wildly, trying to remember where you've been. Pretty much one of those adrenalated buzz-kills is all you need to mend your ways.

My guess? Powell has learned his lesson.


  1. I think one of two things...the engineer was incredibly thoughtless and will lose his job, or it was done on purpose to generate free publicity. I keep thinking of all the 'secret photos' of new vehicles in car magazines...given Jobs' history, I'm betting the 'done on purpose' scenario. Love the blog, Jeff, keep up the good work! Cheers!

    Gary McMahon

  2. Warten, warten,
    . . .
    ? Was ist der name der Biergarten ein Cupertino ?

  3. "Gizmodo managed to speak briefly to Powell by phone, saying he sounded 'tired and broken.' There's still no word on his future as a software engineer at Apple."

    "tired and broken"...oh boy.

  4. Gary, I had exactly that thought. When I compare the two possibilities, this looks more likely an intentional act of guerrilla promotion:

    1) An engineer with a highly secretive new product goes to a pub, updates his facebook and accidentally leaves it there.

    2) Apple plants the new device, makes sure it's "leaked" to the most popular gadget site on the internet, and watches 48 hours of free, breathless coverage unfold.

    Knowing Apple's media strategy, it's hard to think that this is a case of a forgetful engineer.

  5. What astronomical odds are involved that an engineer testing the secret new model would leave his phone somewhere that it would get picked up by someone who can get it to a tech / gadget website instead of doing the proper thing and turning it into a lost and found at the pub? I call shenanigans on this.. but well played shenanigans for sure!

  6. friend brought a braggot of yours (series 2 prickly pear) back to Saskatchewan canada it wasgreat. thank you for making such an outstanding beer