Investigations into the leaked iPhone acquired by Gizmodo are escalating, after a US court began scrutinising computers seized from the site's editor.
Gizmodo acquired the prototype handset after it was left in a bar by an Apple employee. The site went on to publish photos and specifications of the phone, inciting the ire of Apple which alerted the police.
Site editor Jason Chen had various devices confiscated by the authorities in furthering their investigation and now a court official is being tasked with examining everything to establish if any foul play took place.
A so-called Special Master, essentially an independent qualified lawyer, has been given free reign over the evidence and these positions are usually filled by volunteers, according to Cnet.
Mr Chen is likely to have had PC hard drives, Apple Macs and portable devices confiscated from his residence. These will be scrutinised by the Special Master and various assisting parties.
Any pertinent information will then be made known to the judge presiding over the case, as well as to Mr Chen and his own legal team.
Commenting on the controversy, at the D8 conference Apple CEO Steve Jobs said he decided to pursue legal action because he felt that Gizmodo had acted in a way that contravened Apple's core ideals.
He also implied that the prototype handset was stolen from his employee and had not been lost as suggested by some reports.