It was one of the tech stories of 2010. An Apple employee walked into a bar with a prototype of an unreleased iPhone and walked out again without it. The iPhone 4 was picked up by customer Brian Hogan who, on realising what he had found, contacted gadget site Gizmodo and offered to sell it.
Apple was so keen to get the phone back that Steve Jobs called Gizmodo editor Brian Chen to demand its return, but by then the site had already got its scoop. Hogan, however, now says he didn’t get everything he was promised and regrets taking the phone.
Speaking on a Reddit Ask Me Anything, reported by Read Write Web, Hogan explains that Gizmodo had agreed to pay him $5000 for the iPhone and another $3000 when Apple had verified it was the real thing. Those phone calls from Jobs took care of the verification, but Hogan never saw the $3000. Worse, he claims lawyers’ fees ate up the $5000 and more.
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.
When asked about the attention directed his way once his identity was discovered, Hogan said:
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.
When asked why he hadn’t just handed the phone in to bar staff, Hogan answered: ‘I was 21, drunk, and I didn’t think about that at the time however.’