The man who leaked iphone 4
Brian Hogan made headlines in 2010 for being that guy who found the unreleased iPhone 4 in a California bar and later sold it to tech website Gizmodo. Although he doesn’t discuss his story often, he participated in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) Q&A session on Reddit earlier this week and revealed some fascinating details about the ordeal, including that he was never paid, his girlfriend broke up with him soon after and tried returning the product to Apple first (they never responded).
“I rarely talk about topic with people, but my conscience is clear,” he said before diving into the AMA. “I’m over the embarrassment, and life’s too short for some of the guilt I was placing upon myself about it.”
Hogan — who was 21 years old at the time — said he was drinking late at a bar when someone followed him outside and told him not to forget his phone. Although the device wasn’t his, he agreed to look into it the next day and return it to the rightful owner. The next day, he noticed the iPhone looked different than other models — he spotted flat edges, a higher-resolution display and a forward-facing camera.
“[My friend] 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),” Hogan wrote in the AMA. “The people at Gizmodo took us seriously. We met and they thought it was real too.”
Weeks later, police tracked down Hogan, which is when the media whirlwind began. Here’s a look at Hogan’s perspective.
1. It affected his personal life.
It was extremely tough on my family, there were news vans in front of my house and we ended up staying at a hotel in the east bay for a week until they left. My name got out in the media because my girlfriend at the time made a Facebook post about it, which I asked her to delete, but the press found her and she couldn’t deal with all the stress that followed and we broke up maybe 3 months after that.
2. Although Hogan handed over the iPhone 4 to Gizmodo, he never received the promised amount.
Gizmodo told me they would give me $5,000 for the story, and another $3,000 after it was confirmed by Apple to be real. They knew that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to ask for the $3,000 after the story aired, but I didn’t. I ended up having to hire and expensive lawyer and had to pay him much much more than $5,000.
3. He had to pay up.
Legally, I was fined $125 dollars, had to do 40 hrs of community service and [had] one year informal probation. I was charged with a misdemeanor misappropriation of lost property, which I had expunged after my informal probation was up. I think the outcome was pretty good considering I had a special task force after me who’s sole purpose was to investigate high tech crime, and who Apple happened to be a board member of.The threat was/might still be looming of a civil suit, but I don’t have anything they could sue me for.
4. Hogan says he doesn’t use Apple products: “I’m a PC/Android guy now.” He also owns a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone.
5. The bar that Hogan found the phone in, Gourmet Haus Staudt in Redwood City, Calif., has since refused Hogan service because of the incident.
I loved that place, but the one of the bartenders and one of the bouncers decided to refuse me service one night because of the whole thing. This being despite the fact that I probably made them thousands of dollars. They flaunt the fact that it happened there too. I could probably go back now but I don’t want to.
6. In hindsight, Hogan wishes he left the phone with the bar management. “I should have done that!” he wrote. “I was 21, drunk, and I didn’t think about that at the time, however.”