Engadget’s iPhone Knockoff

Last night Engadget published photos of what was claimed to be the fourth generation iPhone (or a prototype of such device). The reader who sent the photos in said that he found it on the floor of a San Jose bar inside of an iPhone 3G case. It was said to have a front facing camera, 80GB of storage, and a “decidedly new” OS (although it wasn’t booting at the time when he sent in the photos, how convenient).

The images wreaked of fake when I first saw them last night and they didn’t seem any more real when I looked at them this morning. And lo and behold, Applesfera reports that the device is indeed a Japanese iPhone knockoff.

This is less a story about the device itself and more a story about Engadget’s shoddy reporting.

Joshua Topolsky from the original Engadget report:

Is this the iPhone 4G (or iPhone HD)? There’s no way to tell for sure, but these photos which made their way into our hands certainly do a convincing job of making us think that’s very much the case. […] It’s not clear if this is definitely a production model, or just a prototype that found its way into the world, but it’s certainly a compelling design, no matter how you look at it.

I understand that it’s their job is to get pageviews, but why would you report on this without making it very clear that this could easily be a fake? “Certainly do a convincing job,” how is this the case? What was it that made you believe it was true, Josh? Was it the three — count’em three — photos with terrible framing that were sent in or was it the incredibly ridiculous story that was sent with them?