Not Again! An iPhone Prototype Gets Lost in a Bar

Not Again! An iPhone Prototype Gets Lost in a Bar
Stop us if you've heard this one before. An iPhone prototype walks into a bar and gets lost . . .

You might be thinking of the iPhone 4 prototype that was accidentally left in a Redwood City, Calif., bar. That was last year. This year, according to web reports, it's an iPhone 5 prototype recently left in a San Francisco bar. The new iPhone model is expected to be released sometime this fall, possibly in late September or early October.

'Una Mas, Please'

According to rumors on the web, the device was reportedly left in Cava 22, a Mexican-styled lounge in San Francisco's Mission District that, according to its site, offers "live Mariachi music and margaritas that make you want to say, 'Una mas, please.'"

Representatives from Apple have declined to comment on the story, but the company reportedly contacted the city police and requested help in securing the return of the prototype.

Using the device's remote transmission of its location, Apple supposedly traced the prototype to a single-family home in the Bernal Heights neighborhood. An unidentified man in his twenties living at that address reportedly gave inquiring police permission to search the house, but nothing was found. The man was said to have been offered a cash reward for the device, no questions asked.

But one of the bar's owners, Jose Valle, has told news media that no representative of Apple or the police contacted him, although he said a man called several times about a month ago asking about a lost iPhone.

Last year's iPhone 4 prototype was left in the Redwood City bar by Apple engineer Robert Gray Powell. Two men were charged last month with a misdemeanor for selling the device to the Gizmodo technology blog, and an arraignment is expected soon. Gizmodo has not been charged. Under California law, a person who uses property that is known to be lost, when the owner can be identified, can be charged with theft.

Is It Apple?

In addition to the lack of confirmation from named sources or from Apple, there are a variety of questions about this rumored lost iPhone 5. For one thing, some observers have said that current iPhone prototypes use cases of existing models, such as the iPhone 4, so without analyzing the innards or the lost model's operation, it might be difficult to know that the device is a not-yet-released model.

On the other hand, there are expectations that the next iPhone could have a larger screen and possibly a somewhat redesigned body, so a prototype might be recognizable as such from the outside.

Another factor raising questions about the accuracy of this episode is that no report has been filed with the San Francisco police, although that may not be surprising. In the case of the missing iPhone 4 prototype, Apple went to a special enforcement team that concentrates on technology industry crimes, and even if local police were involved, Apple could possibly prevent a report from being filed.

Perhaps the most interesting theory is that Apple itself, which has been known for some ingenious marketing, is behind the rumor. On the other hand, Apple hasn't exactly needed much publicity when it releases a new iPhone.

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