Has another iPhone prototype been lost … in a bar?

1 Sep 2011

It has emerged that a year after a furore over a prototype iPhone 4 was lost and bought by a gadget blog, another iPhone prototype has gone missing ahead of the launch of the long awaited iPhone 5.

It is understood the iPhone prototype went missing in a bar called Cava22 in the San Francisco Mission district and may have winded up being sold on Craigslist for US$200.

Last year, an Apple employee lost a prototype iPhone 4 wrapped in an iPhone 3G casing that found its ways into the hands of Gawker-owned blog Gizmodo which paid US$5,000 for it.

According to a report on CNET the device had been missing two days by the time Apple representatives contacted the bar seeking its return.

It is understood that Apple investigators then electronically traced the phone to a home in San Francisco and spoke to a man in his 20s who admitted he was in Cava22 the night the phone went missing but denied knowledge of the device. It is believed that even when offered a cash reward the man denied he knew anything about the device.

How the device went missing in the first place is a mystery since Apple tightend up its security around device testing considerably since last year. Test devices are sent to carriers inside locked and sealed boxes destined for the carriers’ labs.

Apple’s next generation iPhone, the iPhone 5, is due for release this quarter, with launch expected between late September and early October.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years