New iPhone Leak- Accident or Marketing Ploy?

I heard about the next generation iPhone leak on the news this morning and couldn’t help wondering if this truly was a case of an Apple employee mistakenly leaving the new prototype behind at a bar, or if this could be one of the great marketing ploys of the day.

You can read the whole story, including the story of how the iPhone came to be misplaced, at gizmodo.com. The story is fascinating. The features on this new device seem simply amazing.

I’ll admit that after reading the account of how the phone was lost, it all seemed quite plausible. An honest- albeit ginormous- mistake.

But what if it wasn’t a mistake? Any Apple fan has heard of the company’s top-secret nature. So to let something like this happen seems like such an implausible security breach. Could it even be possible for Apple to slip up like this?

If this was intentional, this is one of those cases where any publicity is good publicity, in my opinion. It’s brilliant! Word of a new iPhone is in the national news, it’s blowing up the Twitterverse and it’s got Apple dorks (I’ll put myself in that category) salivating around the world.

As a Lakeland and Tampa, Florida public relations professional, I’m always up for a new way to pitch a new product or service. It can be challenging to come up with something fresh, different, eye-catching- something that makes a reporter or blogger say something besides, “Who cares?” This little “I lost my iPhone prototype” scenario meets all of that criteria.

I hope Gray Powell (the poor guy who supposedly lost the phone), doesn’t lose his job over this. I hope he was a willing participant in this brilliant marketing effort. But even if this was all just an accident, I truly believe the media coverage generated from this will FAR outweigh any potential damage caused by leaking this product before Apple had intended.

What are your thoughts?