The man who found Apple's lost iPhone 4G and gave it to Gizmodo for $5,000 has been outed by Wired, the Dick Rowe of hot hardware. Wired identified Brian J Hogan of Redwood City, California via clues on social networking sites, having apparently failed to respond when they were emailed about the phone at the end of March.
Meanwhile CNET, citing sources, claims that a Berkeley student, Robert Wallower, acted as a go-between. Wallower told CNET that he did not find the phone, but "I know who found it." CNET claims that at least one other person was involved.
Hogan's attorney provided Wired with a statement in response to questions from the site, saying that Hogan regrets he didn't do more to return the phone, and that he is willing to cooperate with authorities. According to the statement, Hogan says he believed that the $5,000 he received was for allowing the site exclusive access to review the phone, not for selling it, and that Gizmodo told him "there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press."
Gizmodo still had the phone in its possession after publishing its exclusive, and demanded that Apple claim it in a letter. Presumably Apple now has it back.
Hogan's statement appears to be at variance with Gizmodo's account of how the iPhone was found in a couple of ways. "Brian opened the phone onto a Facebook page but then the phone shut down," it says, while according to Gizmodo it was bricked overnight. "A friend of Hogan’s then offered to call Apple Care on Hogan’s behalf, according to Hogan’s lawyer," writes Wired, "That apparently was the extent of Hogan’s efforts to return the phone." Whereas Gizmodo says:
He reached for a phone and called a lot of Apple numbers and tried to find someone who was at least willing to transfer his call to the right person, but no luck. No one took him seriously and all he got for his troubles was a ticket number.
He thought that eventually the ticket would move up high enough and that he would receive a call back, but his phone never rang. What should he be expected to do then? Walk into an Apple store and give the shiny, new device to a 20-year-old who might just end up selling it on eBay?
Just a tad of difference there, no? Wired claims several journalists were offered access to the iPhone prior to the deal with Gizmodo, but so far Wired's are the only ones to have been outed, by themselves. For the record, if Hogan or any of his friends called The Register, we were too drunk to remember. ®