Grey Powell: Idiot Of The Week (UPDATED)


It seems as though Grey Powell was celebrating his birthday. Of all days to lose Steve’s baby, what a hell of a birthday that must have been….

Well, these past 72 hours have been epic. We got images of the 4th generation iPhone, denials, proof, debating back and forth, conspiracy theories, tech specs, and after all of that, we now have the name of the idiot who lost the iPhone and started this all.

Meet Grey Powell. Secret Apple engineer. He is a 27 year old North Carolina State University graduate that was hired by Apple to work on, what just so happened to be, the baseband.

Yes, the baseband. The thing that makes the iPhone make calls. Not only that, it’s the thing that determines whether you can use the SIM that you want to use or not, as in, to achieve an unlock, you have to mess with the baseband, and this guy was working on the iPhone Dev Team’s next challenge.

Well, it seems as though on March 18th, Mr. Powell decided to go to his local pub to enjoy some beers. Well, it seems as though he was stupid enough to bring the iPhone along with him and get buzzed. He even sent a Facebook message on the concealed iPhone prototype.

Well, it seems he had one too many beers, and he got up, went to the bathroom, and most likely, was puking his brains out. Now, our leaker (who will be kept anonymous) was sitting next to Grey. Well, a “random drunken guy” next to him and “anonymous” had a small conversation:

“Hey man, is that your iPhone?” asked
Random Really Drunk Guy.

“Hmmm, what?” replied the person who ended up with the iPhone. “No, no, it isn’t mine.”

“Ooooh, I guess it’s your friend’s then,”
referring to a friend who at the time was in the bathroom.

“Here, take it,” said the Random
Really Drunk Guy, handing it to him. “You don’t want to lose it.”

No, not losing it was a decision that ended up being a great one!

After that, the Random Really Drunk Guy also left the bar. The person who ended up with the iPhone asked around, but nobody claimed it. He decided to wait.

During the time that he was waiting, he played with it. “I thought it was just an iPhone 3GS,” the leaker said. “It just looked like one. I tried the camera, but it crashed three times.”

The iPhone didn’t seem to have any special features, just two bar codes stuck on its back:

8800601pex1 and N90_DVT_GE4X_0493.

Next to the volume keys there was another sticker:

iPhone SWE-L200221.

Now, there was nothing different other than that, it just had 6 pages of apps. One was “Facebook”, he tapped on it, and up came Gray Powell.

Thinking about returning the phone the next day, he left. When he woke up after the hazy night, the phone was dead.It had been bricked remotely. It was only then that he realized that there was something strange about that iPhone.

The exterior didn’t feel right and there was a camera on the front. After tinkering with it, he managed to open the fake 3GS. There it was, a different iPhone that looked like nothing ever before seen.

He even called Apple multiple times. However, no one knew what to tell him. They gave him a ticket number. He hoped that the news would reach a higher up executive, but his phone never rang.

Well, that’s when he contacted Engadget and Gizmodo. He gave Engadget the pictures, and made a deal with Gizmodo. Some reports are saying that Gizmodo payed $5,000 to the man who found this rare treasure to be able to have it.

Well, after Gizmodo had a full tear down and inspections, there was no longer any doubt in anyone’s mind. This was the real deal.

Gizmodo contacted Grey Powell, here’s the conversation:

Gray Powell: Hello?

John Herrman: Is this Gray?

Gray Powell: Yeah.

John Herrman: Hi, this is John Herrman from

Gray Powell: Hey!

John Herrman: You work at Apple, right?

Gray Powell: Um, I mean I can’t really talk too much right

John Herrman: I understand. We have a device, and we think that maybe you misplaced it at a bar, and
we would like to give it back.

Gray Powell: Yeah, I forwarded your email [asking him if it was his iPhone], someone should be contacting you.

John Herrman: OK.

Gray Powell: Can I send this phone number along?

John Herrman: [Contact information]

Gizmodo says this about the phone call:

“He sounded tired and broken. But at least he’s alive and apparently may still be working at Apple”

Well, Apple’s secrecy can only go so far. It’s not perfect, especially when you have the human factor.

However, this was just stupid. The decision to bring the iPhone to a bar was just stupid. What topped that off was the fact that he got drunk and left the very valuable iPhone prototype on a bar stool.

This is why, he is my “Idiot Of The Week”! Congratulations Grey! However, this was not all bad, his EPIC FAILURE did bring us a lot of excitement and a sneak peek into the near future, and for that, we thank you.

Also, a huge thanks to the anonymous man that picked up that iPhone and opened it. Not only that, he actually TRIED to give it back, but no one listened. So, we want to thank him as well for selling it to Gizmodo and for leaking pictures to Engadget! (Next time, why don’t you throw some of those images our way. 😀 )

That’s all for now guys. 🙂

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  1. Dante says

    DAMN!!! Oh well. Congrats Grey on your LEI Mobile Idiot of the Week Award!! I hope they give you a big and shiny plaque in your honor!! CHEERS!!! *hiccup*

  2. says

    Dante: Haha. I was debating whether to post this article or not, but I was like “nah, he deserves it”. Lol. And hahaha. Very nicely put. We can make him a .pdf of an award he can print out. Lol

  3. Sir_Dante says

    @Alan it was really funny. It would be awesome if you could get a picture with Grey holding his epic award. Have you ever thought about making a thread of “Apple Failures and Idiots of the Week Awards.” A great example would have been that Apple employee who confiscated the hacked iPhone and called the police because of it. You should post events such as those above into a LEI thread of some sort. We could all enjoy a laugh or two.

  4. says

    Sir_Dante: Hmmm. Didn’t I call that guy an idiot too? Lol. Yeah. It seems like something we could do. Let me talk it over with the rest of the LEI Mobile team. Time for some more internal discussions! 🙂

    Brandon: lolz. We’ll get approved. Hell, all of the other sites have a story about this idiot and of the leaked iPhone by now. It’s world news. I saw it on NBC this morning. CNN did a report on it as well. This story is huge

  5. says

    T: Yeah, it’s all over the place. Nope. I haven’t heard anyone of the TV or radio press mention Grey Powell’s name. Thanks! I don’t get complimented often, so thank you! 🙂

  6. Dante says

    Alan: just so you know, we all appreciate your work, along with everyone from the LEI team. If it wasn’t for you and the others how else would we be able to keep up on the Apple gossip? And for that, we thank you!!! 🙂

  7. says

    Dante: Well thank you Dante. That really does mean a lot to know that people actually care about whether we do this or not. Sometimes, that’s all a 16 (will be 17 in July! :D) iPhone developer/reporter/blogger/hacker/etc. needs. 😀

  8. says

    This story shows aggain the ability of men to forget everything by drinking a lot of beer. But I guess I wouldn’t drink so much if I had an Iphone prototype with me. I think Gary just couldn’t live without beer:-).

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