Guy who sold iPhone 4 prototype to Gizmodo tells all in Reddit AMA

iphone 4

Gizmodo’s iPhone 4 scoop of 2010 will likely go down as one of the biggest product leaks in history. Anyone who’s been following Apple, or tech news in general, in recent years remembers the story of the Apple employee that left his iPhone 4 prototype in a bar.

The name of the guy who found the handset is Brian Hogan. And wouldn’t you know it, he turned up on Reddit last night to do an AMA about the whole ordeal. It’s quite interesting, as he talks about the night he found it, how much money he made and more…

The entire thread, first spotted by The Next Web, is worth reading. But we’ve highlighted some significant excerpts for you below:

“After the last call both of my friends went to the bathroom, as they left a random drunk guy came out, walked up to me, picked up the phone on the bar stool next to me, and said don’t forget your phone! I told him it wasn’t mine and I didn’t know who it belonged to. Random drunk guy hands me the phone and tasks me with finding its owner.”

Hogan says that he asked everyone at the bar about the handset, but it didn’t belong to anyone, so he took it home. The next morning he picked up the search again, and began looking at the phone itself for clues. That’s when he noticed that it wasn’t a normal iPhone.

“First I noticed that the screen looked like it had a higher resolution than any iPhone I had seen, then that the case had plastic pieces/buttons in strange places. When I took the case off I found an iPhone with a flat back, flat edges, and a forward facing camera. There were two bar code stickers on the back, and there were a series of x’s instead of a serial number. I was very curious/excited at this point, but I had no idea what I had.”

Once he determined the device belonged to Apple, Hogan says he phoned the Cupertino company. But his story was laughed off by the front office personnel, so him and his friend Sage decided to start shopping it around to tech blogs to see what they’d pay to see it.

“First Sage contacted Apple to tell them that we think we might have it, and after they blew him off he started contacting different tech blogs to see if they wanted to meet in person and look at the phone (for money). The people at Gizmodo took us seriously, we met, and, they thought it was real too. About a month after that first meeting Gizmodo posted the article leaking the phone.”

As for the money, Hogan says that Gizmodo promised him $5000 up front for the prototype and another $3000 after Apple confirmed it was real. The site apparently never sent him the latter payment, and he says he ended up spending more than $5000 on his lawyer.

Apple did take the pair to court over the matter. The last we heard, Hogan was being charged with misappropriation of lost property and, in addition to his attorney fees, was being asked to pay for half of a $250 fine. He also got 40 hours community service and probation.

If you’re interested, you can find Brian’s full account, as well as all of his AMA responses, by clicking here.