Gizmodo controversy overshadows Apple’s developers conference

Apple has confirmed that it will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 7 through June 11 at San Francisco’s Moscone West. 

The five-day event is expected to include iPad development sessions, hands-on working labs for iPhone OS 4 and Mac OS X core technology sessions.

However, the long-awaited WWDC is likely to be overshadowed by the ongoing investigation into Gizmodo’s controversial purchase of a next-gen prototype iPhone.

“Gizmodo already gave us a sneak preview of the new iPhone by posting photos and a detailed breakdown of a next-generation iPhone prototype the gadget blog acquired earlier this month,” wrote PC World’s Ian Paul.

“How will Apple CEO Steve Jobs handle this one? Will he acknowledge Gizmodo’s scoop with a passing reference or a joke, or just pretend that the biggest tech leak of 2010 didn’t happen?” 

Meanwhile, investigators have reportedly identified and interviewed the

individual who found the phone in the Gourmet Haus Staudt bar after it was left behind by Apple engineer Gray Powell.

“[But] we’re still not saying it’s a crime,” San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the San Jose Business Journal.

“The investigation has contacted as many segments of the people involved in this situation, including the person who took the phone from the German restaurant. The police know who he is and they have talked to him.”

Wagstaffe also noted that the computers, hard drives and servers seized from the home of Gizmodo reporter Jason Chen would remain untouched until investigators determine whether Chen is indeed protected by the shield law.

“I told (Gizmodo) we will hold off and not do any investigation into the computer itself while we resolve this issue,” added Wagstaffe. 

However, Gaby Darbyshire, chief operating officer of Gawker Media, (Gizmodo’s  parent company), has officially protested the seizure by questioning the warrant’s validity.


In a letter to the officer in charge of the search, Darbyshire dubbed the warrant “invalid” due to Chen’s status as a journalist – which theoretically should have protected his unpublished material as per state and federal law.

“The California Court of Appeals has made it abundantly clear…that these protections apply to online journalists,” claimed Darbyshire, citing a 2006 case that also involved an Apple product in which the Cupertino-based company was prevented from forcing writers to name names and identify anonymous sources.

“In the circumstances, we expect the immediate return of the materials that you confiscated from Mr. Chen,” she wrote.