Report: iPhone 4G prototype near-final, legality questioned
In a lengthy post discussing Gizmodo’s procurement of a fourth-generation iPhone prototype, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has offered up some previously-unknown details about the device, citing inside information from Apple sources familiar with the project. Referencing one of the barcodes found on the outside of the device, “N90_DVT_GE4X_0493,” Gruber writes that “N90” is Apple’s internal codename for the fourth-generation GSM iPhone, slated for release “this June or July.” The “DVT” portion of the code reportedly stands for “device verification test,” an Apple production milestone that occurs very late in a device’s development, suggesting that the unit “very closely, if not exactly” resembles what Apple plans to release.
Regarding the legality of both Gizmodo’s purchase of the device—the site claims to have paid $5,000 for the unit—and the actions of the party that sold it to the publication, Gruber suggests that California law could make the seller and possibly Gizmodo’s editors guilty of a crime. The seller, who used the Facebook application on the device to ascertain the identity of the Apple employee who lost the phone, yet failed to return it to him or his employer, may possibly be guilty of theft, while Gruber argues that Gizmodo’s editors, by purchasing a device they likely knew belonged to Apple, may be guilty of purchasing and receiving stolen property. An iLounge source has indicated that Apple is unlikely to sue Gizmodo for civil damages over the prototype, however.
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