We all know that Gray Powell committed the ultimate no-no in Apple world which is accidentally leaving the new version of one of the best selling products of all time in a bar, only to have it stolen and sold to a major blog.
At first glance this situation seemed ridiculous to me, why the hell would Apple, a company known for secrecy, let a 27 year old software engineering out into the wild with a prototype!?
When the story first broke I was convinced that the phone Gray lost was a very early stage prototype, not anything like what the new phone would be.
I was wrong on that note but that is not the point of this article, I watched the keynote last night and I heard something that I hadn't thought of before. Steve Jobs was talking about the new camera and how great it is; to prove his point he showed a bunch of photos that were taken with the phone. Up until this point nothing seemed strange, some Apple employees were tasked with taking tons of photos in the days leading up to the keynote. But then he said this "all these photos were taken by our employees, I just picked the best ones." The first time I watched the keynote this didn't seem strange but now that I think about it, the Gray Powell situation makes perfect sense.
Let me explain what I believe happened at Apple about 3 months ago...
There was an email sent out alerting employees that there was an exciting offer that anyone could apply for: "Want to try the next generation iPhone?!"
Bascially they had a beta test with their employees, allowing a select few to have the new phone so they could test the network, use the camera and scour the device for bugs. It's actually very smart from a development standpoint.
Now with all that being said things make more sense: Why wasn't Gray Powell fired for a such a major mistake when a story surfaced about a genius that got fired for showing Steve Wozniak an iPad the night before it released. Gray wasn't a big deal because Apple probably knew something like this would happen. With probably 10-20 iPhone 4s floating around someone was bound to lose one. The thing I find amazing is that only 1 person lost the phone and no one seemed to realize what was going on.
So there you have it, my idea of what happend with the leaked iPhone, it was one of many and on multiple levels from marketing to testing it was a brilliant move by Apple.