Lightning Review: What Happened to Gizmodo’s iPhone 3GS Hands-On? (Updated)
File this one under “weird:” shortly after Monday’s WWDC keynote ended—concluding of course with the announcement of the iPhone 3GS—we spotted a group of broadcast journalists huddled around the new device. As we approached from the side, as to not ruin the interview, we were told that there would be no photography, video opportunities, or hands on time for anyone other than broadcast journalists. Okay; Apple’s on-stage demonstrations don’t give these journalists the extended product close-ups they need for television footage. Fair enough.
Thus, we were surprised to find several hours later that Apple had given Gizmodo extended hands on access to the iPhone 3GS, which was written about in an article titled “iPhone 3GS Hands On,” and complete with at least one picture of a new black 32GB unit that was resting face down on its box. Network problems seemed to be making the page load inconsistently, so we decided to wait until later to see what Brian Lam had to say about it. Only that never happened.
It is unclear exactly who made the order, or when it was made, but shortly after the story initially showed up online—including on sites such as Techmeme and Digg—it vanished from the pages of Gizmodo. Searching Gizmodo’s site for the article brings up nothing, and the page isn’t even available in Google Cache format. Only those links from Digg and Techmeme persist as evidence that the link was there, suggesting that incredibly, without any explanation, Gizmodo pulled its own seemingly exclusive hands-on for a product that is no doubt going to be one of the biggest gadgets of the year. Why would a gadget site ever do that?
It doesn’t seem to be for lack of information. Our cache of the story shows that Gizmodo was told how to calibrate the new digital compass (“twisting a figure 8 in the air with the phone”), given an opportunity to record video (“from our initial testing, [it] does so very well. Everything about the experience is fast.”), try voice control (“we tested the ‘dial’ command… as well as the call command… Both worked perfectly—as you can see on the video.”), and even was given an opportunity to compare Safari speeds between the iPhone 3G, Palm Pre, and iPhone 3G S (“Safari on the 3GS is also noticeably faster than the 3G, but also faster than the Pre”).
So what’s the deal here? Is the fix in—another example of Apple buttering up its buddies with early hardware access in exchange for a promise to hold their comments until just before launch day? Or is there another explanation? Whatever the case, it seems like Apple’s representative lied to us about who was getting access—notably, something that happened with last year’s iPhone 3G—or Gizmodo had a friend on the inside who offered an exclusive, then retracted it. Or maybe both. In any case, it appears that Apple wasn’t quite ready for Gizmodo to tell its story, as it all but completely disappeared with CIA-like quickness. We’ve requested comment from Gizmodo and will let you know what, if anything, we hear back.
Updated: Following our Friday story on this, Gizmodo offered and we accepted an opportunity to hear the story behind the retraction of its hands-on, but days later, it still has not been forthcoming. Meanwhile, a reader pointed out that videos of the iPhone 3GS were also posted by Gizmodo to YouTube, and then withdrawn around the same time as the story and photography. Especially in light of the BBC report on Apple’s threatened ‘sour’ relations with certain journalists, we remain curious as to what sort of influence Apple has been exerting over iPhone 3G S coverage.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple’s exclusive audiobook deal with Audible ends in Europe following EU antitrust scrutiny
- Nintendo officially announces Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS, coming Feb. 2
- Rumor: Apple working on second-generation Apple Pencil
- GarageBand 2.2 adds Logic Pro X integration, Alchemy synth, Multi-Take Recording
- FTC files complaint against Qualcomm citing royalty deal with Apple
- India mulling manufacturing regulation changes which could woo Apple
- Apple Music creative team discusses the service’s exclusives, future
- Apple raising UK App Store prices by more than 25 percent
- Iovine fuels speculation about Apple’s interest in scripted TV shows
- Report: ‘iPhone 8’ to include upgraded water resistance
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- iHome iPLWBT5 Docking Clock Radio for iPhone and Apple Watch
- Brydge 12.9 iPad Pro Keyboard
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10