The Weekly Round-Up: 23.04.10

Oops, I lost my iPhone...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

Oops, I lost my iPhone...

You know what it's like, you work hard, go to a bar after work, have a few drinks, relax and get home only to find you've lost your mobile. It happens to a lot of us and it's happened to some of us a lot of times. Ahem.

It apparently happened to a Silicon Valley software engineer called Gray Powell recently. No big deal?

Unfortunately, he works for Apple and the device he lost was a prototype of the next iPhone - due out this summer.

Apple, in case you haven't noticed, is a company that likes to keep its cards close to its chest when it comes to unannounced products.

According to reports, Powell's last Facebook status update read: "I underestimated how good German beer is." Indeedy.

Unfortunately for the Apple employee - and Apple - the lost iPhone found its way to technology publication Gizmodo, which photographed it from every angle, and published a long article about it seen by millions, before returning the device to Apple when it asked for it back.

Question one: was it a genuine iPhone 4G model? Consensus appears to be that it was: and the letter to Gizmodo from Apple reads: "It has come to our attention that Gizmodo is currently in possession of a device that belongs to Apple. This letter constitutes a formal request that you return the device to Apple."

Question two: assuming the loss was a mistake by a tipsy 27-year-old Apple engineer (and not a marketing masterstroke) just how bad was the roasting he received from the top brass at Apple when the truth came out? It makes your eyes water just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, if you're wondering what the next iPhone will look like, imagine the end product of a drunken dalliance between the current iPhone and a Sony Ericsson handset.

It allegedly has a front-facing camera, a second microphone to reduce background noise (the Round-Up is guessing for the purposes of video calls - wow) and a higher resolution screen.

Finally, new T-shirts are already the fashion in Silicon Valley within the geek community.

The plain black T-shirts come with the printed legend: "I went drinking with Gray Powell and all I got was a lousy iPhone prototype."

In passing, the Round-Up saw some research this week that claimed men who own an iPhone handset are said to be more attractive than those who do not. As an iPhone owner, the Round-Up can tell you this is officially a fact and totally indisputable.

One respondent to the survey suggested "if he has an iPhone then he's obviously intelligent and well-off". Other factors for sexy smartphone gents being looked upon more favourably in the dating arena include better grooming, a good sense of humour and ease of communication (which is ironic given how poorly the iPhone performs as an actual phone).

Actually the Round-Up would just like to admit at this point that it is still waiting for evidence of this particular 'halo effect' - perhaps it needs to upgrade to a 3GS from its two-year old 3G, perhaps it should whip it out more in packed public places, or perhaps it's just a load of old claptrap.

Current UK sales of the iPhone are estimated at around the two million mark - with 75 per cent of the market attributed to males between the ages of 18 and 40.

And yet despite the 'sex bomb' appeal of the iPhone, downloads of dating applications for smartphones in the UK soared past 250,000 last year...

Finally this week, as the Round-Up writes these words the three leaders of the main political parties are engaged in their second televised debate, this time in a Bristol art gallery.

There is oratory, there are sound-bites and there is the growing realisation that one of these suits is going to be in charge of Britain in about a month and it's probably not going to be that nice man with the yellow tie that all the Tory papers have taken such a sudden dislike to.

With the general election hullaballoo well underway, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour leaders are getting on their virtual soap boxes with online campaigning.

Meanwhile, malware writers and spammers are using the election to spread junk mail, viruses and more nastiness.

So while one pernicious group is taking advantage of the democratic process to spread hyped messages, lie about achievements and offer a series of outrageous promises about superlative performance, the other lot are... oh, right.

The point is that a security firm has warned there is likely to be a marked increase in the number of malware and spam employing social engineering techniques ahead of the May election.

Tom Kelchner, threat research manager at Sunbelt Software (who commissioned the research) said: "The parties are already sending a large volume of legitimate marketing email in the names of David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and others."

He added: "If spammers do likewise, unsuspecting users could be duped into opening unwanted or potentially harmful emails and attachments instead of a harmless election communication."

Interesting use of the word 'harmless', Tom, given the current statements being churned out about Europe in the current televised debate.

Kelchner's solution? Keep your antivirus software up-to-date and be alert. Or the Round-Up would suggest alternatively buy a Mac and click on anything you damn well like.

Anyway, be careful out there and trust nothing or no one, especially on polling day.

Remember: vote geek...

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