Apple employee 'leaves prototype of new iPhone in bar'
An Apple employee is thought to have left a prototype of the next iPhone in a bar in California, in a bizarre repeat of an incident last year involving the previous version of the device.
The staff member was reported to have been drinking in Cava22, a “tequila lounge” in San Francisco’s Mission district, when the much-anticipated iPhone 5 went missing in July.
Selected employees are allowed to take prototypes of new gadgets outside the computer giant’s secure testing laboratories, to ensure they work in everyday settings.
The loss prompted a frantic investigation by Apple executives and local police to recover the device, according to CNet, an authoritative US technology website.
Apple reportedly contacted the bar repeatedly to stress the phone was “priceless” and must be returned. But it is then thought to have electronically tracked the device to a small house in San Francisco.
When they arrived with police officers, they reportedly spoke with a man in his 20s, who acknowledged being in Cava 22 on the night in question, but said he knew nothing about the phone.
“Before leaving the house, the Apple employees offered the man money for the phone no questions asked,” according to the report, but “the man continued to deny he had knowledge of the phone”.
It is thought the phone may now have been sold on Craigslist, the listings website, for $200 (£120).
The incident is likely to prompt renewed scrutiny of Apple’s internal security procedures.
Robert Gray Powell, a 28-year-old Apple engineer, lost a prototype of the iPhone 4 last year in a bar in Redwood City, California.
Two men, Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower, have been charged with selling the iPhone 4 prototype to Gizmodo, a gadget blog, for $5,000 ($3,000).
It is a crime in California to sell found property if the seller knows the identity of the original owner.
Apple declined to comment. San Francisco police said no police report had been filed. Jose Valle, the owner of the tequila lounge, told CNet: “I guess I have to make my drinks a little less strong”.