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Apple May Have Lost Another iPhone Prototype

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on September 07, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Apple really needs to keep a closer eye on their iPhone prototypes.

Reports are surfacing that an iPhone 5 prototype was lost in a tequila bar in San Francisco by an Apple employee.

Does this story bring you sense of déjà vu? Maybe it should, since it was only last year that an iPhone 4 prototype was lost in a beer garden in Redwood City, California.

Last year's iPhone 4 leak launched a criminal investigation and charges against the two men who found the phone and sold it to online tech publication Gizmodo, reports CNet.

For those scratching their heads as to what is criminal about selling something you found in a bar, an old California law makes it a crime for a person to benefit off of lost property if they know who the real owner likely is.

Luckily for Gizmodo, prosecutors decided not to levy any criminal charges against them, CNet reports.

So far the lost iPhone 5 has generated hype. Some even believe that it's a publicity stunt ahead of the phone's projected October release date, according to eWeek.

Apple does have a history of controlling certain leaks of information to build up hype, according to PCWorld.

So, is it true that an iPhone prototype was stolen? If you believe the reports, then the facts are as follows: the lost prototype is believed to have been sold on Craigslist for around $200. The prototype was then tracked down to a home in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, according to CNet. The resident there admitted to being at the tequila bar the night the phone disappeared, but denied any knowledge of the phone's whereabouts.

All of the facts about the lost iPhone 5 prototype come from one source: CNet. Is CNet a purveyor of one of these "controlled" Apple leaks?

It seems that only time will tell if the iPhone prototype really was stolen. However, the San Francisco Police Department is says that they have no knowledge that this prototype was ever lost - and that Apple has not verified any of CNet's claims, PCWorld reports.

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