A Letter: Apple Wants Its Secret iPhone Back

Illustration for article titled A Letter: Apple Wants Its Secret iPhone Back

Well, how can I explain this? I got some interesting calls today. It was Apple. And they wanted their phone back.


This phone was lost, and then found. But from Apple's perspective, it could have been considered stolen. I told them, all they have to do to get it back is to claim it—on record. This formal request from Apple's legal department is that claim. It proves—if there was any doubt in your mind—that this thing is real.

Here's my reply:

Bruce, thanks.
Here's Jason Chen, who has the iPhone. And here's his address. You two should coordinate a time.

[Blah Blah Blah Address]

Happy to have you pick this thing up. Was burning a hole in our pockets. Just so you know, we didn't know this was stolen [as they might have claimed. meaning, real and truly from Apple. It was found, and to be of unproven origin] when we bought it. Now that we definitely know it's not some knockoff, and it really is Apple's, I'm happy to see it returned to its rightful owner.

P.S. I hope you take it easy on the kid who lost it. I don't think he loves anything more than Apple.

And since this was the only missing piece of the puzzle, we have now both extinguished any doubts of its origin but also, we get to give the phone back. *warm, fuzzy, huggy feelings of legal compliance*

(Our legal team told us that in California the law states, "If it is lost, the owner has three years to reclaim or title passes to the owner of the premises where the property was found. The person who found it had the duty to report it." Which, actually, the guys who found it tried to do, but were pretty much ignored by Apple. )


I'm sad to see it go. We reasoned this pretty little piece of hardware is probably something we'll see again some time soon, but who knows exactly when. For some of us, that date can't come soon enough.

The Complete Lost iPhone Saga

How Apple lost the next iPhone

Why Apple couldn't get the lost iPhone back

All the details about the device

The next iPhone, dissected

Apple didn't leak the iPhone, and why that matters

And finally, how Apple asked for their phone back

To stay up to date on all things Gizmodo...

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Fan our Facebook

Follow our Twitter




did your legal team tell you what the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act section 3426.1 (b)(2)(B)(ii) says?

§ 3426.1 Definitions:

(b) "Misappropriation" means:

(2) Disclosure or use of a trade secret of another without express or implied consent by a person who:

(B) At the time of disclosure or use, knew or had reason to know

that his or her knowledge of the trade secret was:

(ii) Acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to

maintain its secrecy or limit its use;


section 3426.1 (d)(1)(2)

(d) "Trade secret" means information, including a formula,

pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process,


(1) Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from

not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can

obtain economic value from its disclosure or use; and

(2) Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the

circumstances to maintain its secrecy.

3426.3. (a) A complainant may recover damages for the actual loss

caused by misappropriation. A complainant also may recover for the

unjust enrichment caused by misappropriation that is not taken into

account in computing damages for actual loss.

(b) If neither damages nor unjust enrichment caused by

misappropriation are provable, the court may order payment of a

reasonable royalty for no longer than the period of time the use

could have been prohibited.

(c) If willful and malicious misappropriation exists, the court

may award exemplary damages in an amount not exceeding twice any

award made under subdivision (a) or (b).