I was briefly quoted in Guy Kewney‘s wireless blog. It was a good catch, as I have zero profile as a blogger – like we are talking Z List. Anyhow, I had dropped a bit of personal inside info on a potential Apple product from a seemingly credible source. Guy correctly pointed out that if I believed the rumor, I would have blogged it.
Hmmm. The tip concerned the rampant speculation of an impending Apple tablet. The source was one of Apple’s in-house IP line attorneys. A line attorney is a lower level person for filing and doing the drudge work of licensing, creating contracts, and dealing with USPTO (some have engineering and law degrees, like this gent). He was not a friend of mine, he was a young man that owned me a big favor. I had bailed him out of the San Jose lockup when he got pinched for D&D, indecent exposure (public urination), and resisting arrest. This happened in Feb 2007. I am sure that if he reads this, despite my not revealing his identity, he will be chagrined. Burn that bridge. Sorry dude, when you go out partying, behave.
The young man had previously met me in Cupertino, where I had commented in the parking lot on his maxi-scooter (a Suzuki Burgman), and he on mine ( an Aprilia Scarabeo 500), we talked about Apple, scooters, jobs (I was there pitching myself as a contractor), and his (Low-Level IP lawyer). I gave him my card. Done.
Nice looking young man, thirties, presentable. Figured I would never hear from him again, professionally.
Two nights later, I get a call, he needs someone to get him out of the San Jose lockup, lost wallet in a fight, can’t call family. I jumped on my scooter and and rode from San Mateo to San Jose. Got him out, rode him to his pad in Santa Clara, he got his spare ATM card, paid me, thanked me, that was it.
Never heard from him until early this month; He called, remarked that I was owed a favor, I said, “Tut Tut”, he insisted. I told I had no profile on the web, and if he was going to leak, do it up right. “Nah”. he said, “You are just right, as Goldilocks said, not too big, not too small”.
Have at it I said. And this is what he told me:
“Early Q4 2008, Apple will introduce a product based on the iPod touch platform. It will compete with connected devices by Nokia. Rough dims are half page – 8×6. Slots for upcoming Wimax, or an optional 3g modem. May ship with stylus. Advanced Gestures (patents working through). Clever swing cover that protects the front and completely disappears when you flip it.”
As you all know, Apple has many products flowing though their IP and engineering information management process, and many never see the light of day. This one, however, seems to have the stink of something approaching credibility.
There you have it. What lessons have we learned here: IF you have the opportunity to talk scooters with or to bail out a reprobate Apple IP lawyer, don’t hesitate to take the midnight ride and spring them out the SJ clink.