Accelerated iPhone Launch Thanks to Leak, Wall St. Analyst Says


The Gizmodo Leak May Force Apple's Hand, One Analyst Says.

Gizmodo’s unofficial unveiling of Apple’s iPhone 4G may force the Cupertino, Calif. company to launch its next handset sooner than planned, a Wall Street analyst tells Cult of Mac. The leak could erode sales of current iPhones as consumers hold off until the new smartphone is available.

“This leads us to believe they [Apple] may come out with a new [iPhone] sooner versus later,” Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster writes in a Tuesday email.

Although the analyst couldn’t put a dollar amount on how much the leak is costing Apple, “it’s safe to say, more people are now waiting for the new one, which is a negative for June iPhone sales,” Munster said. Apple sold 8.75 million iPhones during the first quarter of 2010, the company announced April 20.

Monday, California police raided the home of Gizmodo blogger Jason Chen, seizing computers and other records as part of what San Mateo prosecutors termed an investigation into a “possible theft.” The gadget blogger made headlines when the blog revealed a prototype of Apple’s unreleased iPhone after purchasing the handset at a bar for $5,000.

Although the blog returned the handset to Apple after publishing photos of the device, some question Apple’s role in what has become known as iPhonegate. The consumer electronics company sits on the steering committee for the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) task force charged with investigating high-tech crimes.

This is not the first incident highlighting Apple’s well-known penchant for security and ensuring Jobs is the only person who announces the company’s latest products. Earlier this month, an Apple engineer was fired after Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recounted how he was shown an iPad prototype just minutes before the tablet device was set to go on sale.

In another example, developers were sworn to secrecy concerning the iPad, including a strict, CIA-like document requiring the tablet device be kept chained to an immovable object in a locked room with no windows.