3. The iPhone 4 Lost Device Controversy
Apple's legendary secrecy was comprised in April when tech blog Gizmodo published photos of what it claimed was a prototype iPhone 4. How Gizmodo came to be in possession of the device wasn't initially clear, but it later emerged that Gawker Media, the blog's parent company, paid $5,000 to an individual who found the device in a bar after an Apple engineer misplaced it during a night out. Gawker subsequently returned the device to Apple, but not before sharing photos of it with millions of curious Web viewers around the world.
As it turned out, Gizmodo's device was essentially identical to the iPhone 4, which Apple launched in June. Apple called the leak "immensely damaging" because of its potential to crimp iPhone 4 sales, but the whole scenario amounted to a bunch of free advertising that made it virtually impossible to get one's hands on an iPhone 4 for months after launch.