Demystifying the Site Behind the Latest Apple Leaks

More

When photos of a new-looking iPod Touch surfaced online last week, there was one question on everyone's mind: What is the deal with this Vietnamese site and its Apple leaks?

The iPod Touch was the third unreleased Apple product featured on the Vietnamese technology forum Tinh Tế over the course of a week. It was preceded by what are generally accepted to be pictures of genuine and unreleased iPhone and MacBook models.

Last week we rounded up what little we could about the forum behind the leaks and, over the weekend, we got in touch with the forum's founder. He responded to my Facebook messages in somewhat broken English. Here's what we learned.

His name is Trần Mạnh Hiệp. The Associated Press first identified him and described Hiệp as a mobile phone accessory salesman, which he said is "rite and not." He founded and manages a company called Vimobi, which runs both the tech forum and Khắc tên, a store that indeed sells phone and electronics accessories. (Kachten.com appears onscreen at the end of the iPod Touch video.) But Hiệp also identifies himself as a journalist and said he reports tech news on his forum. In fact, he agreed to answer our questions "cause i am a reporter :D just like you."

Unlike its aggressive legal actions against Gizmodo, Apple has not reached out to anyone involved in the alleged leaks. No one involved in the Vietnam leaks has contacted Apple either, Hiệp said. The authenticity of the featured products is still unverified.

Hiệp told the AP that he heard there was someone in a cafe showing off the iPhone prototype, so he found the guy, took photos and recorded a video, and dutifully posted them on his forum. He confirmed that account to us and said he obtained the iPod Touch in a similar manner. It had been in the posession of a man Hiệp "met at Cafe Tinh Tế," which is located in Ho Chi Minh City and is where the forum's members "play around," Hiệp said.

He didn't know where or how the iPhone or iPod Touch were obtained, but guessed that both came from the United States because that's where most Vietnamese mobile products come from, he said, and a "lot of Vietnamese live there." The Macbook video was posted by another Tinh Tế reporter, he said.

Hiệp took the photos of both the iPhone and iPod Touch and a friend videotaped him as he demonstrated each. He doesn't have any other Apple products in the pipeline, but he promised to post whatever he can get his hands on.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Niraj Chokshi is a former staff editor at TheAtlantic.com, where he wrote about technology. He is currently freelancing and can be reached through his personal website, NirajC.com. More

Niraj previously reported on the business of the nation's largest law firms for The Recorder, a San Francisco legal newspaper. He has also been published in The Hartford Courant, The Seattle Times and The Age, in Melbourne, Australia. He's also a longtime programmer and sometimes website designer.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In