Apple to Gizmodo: Give Us Back Our Phone

Gizmodo claimed that it managed to get its hands on the next generation iPhone on Monday, and even offered up photos and video as evidence. Later in the day, the company apparently received a letter from Apple’s legal team demanding the device back, essentially confirming that it really is an iPhone — but not that it will be the next version to ship.

The letter stated, “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.”

Engadget kicked off the iPhone firestorm over the weekend with a series of photos they claimed showed the next generation iPhone. Gizmodo followed up on Monday with more photos and videos showing the device, and later in the day another article highlighting the Apple employee they claim lost the device.

While Gizmodo is claiming the letter is positive proof that it is in possession of the next iPhone, it’s actually proof that it managed to get ahold of a prototype. What Apple actually ships may or may not look like the device Gizmodo reported on, and it may include different features, too.

Apple and its legal team are more than likely very curious to find out exactly how Gizmodo managed to get the prototype device. Despite claims of “warm, fuzzy, huggy feelings of legal compliance,” from Editorial Director Brian Lam, law enforcement officials may have some questions they want answered, too.