LOST: Another iPhone Prototype

by Matt Klassen on September 2, 2011

In other Apple news, sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. In a bizarre case of déjà vu, on the day two men pleaded not guilty to theft in the well publicized story of the lost/stolen iPhone 4 prototype last August, we hear that this summer Apple has once again lost one of its newest iPhone prototypes, this time sold on Craigslist for a measly $200.

For those who may not remember, last year Apple software engineer Gray Powell made the honest mistake of forgetting his state of the art prototype iPhone while enjoying several pints of quality German lager, a phone that was picked up (or from Apple’s perspective, stolen) for the floor of the bar and sold to tech site Gizmodo for $5000. Gizmodo then disassembled the phone and posted the specs for the world to see, a move that did absolutely nothing to hurt the overall sales of the subsequently released iPhone 4.

So is this latest story of lost phones and Mexican liquor another security snafu at one of the world’s most secretive tech companies, or is it simply a hoax to generate even more buzz around Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 5?

In this most recent case, the iPhone prototype in question was lost in a Mexican “tequila lounge” restaurant named Cava 22 in San Francisco’s Mission district in late July, which according to a CNET source, sparked a mad security scramble that failed to produce the device.

It seems that this time, however, Apple took a more covert approach in its attempted recovery of the phone, with Apple representatives apparently contacting the restaurant owner but never identifying the company behind the investigation.

However, Apple’s own security was able to electronically track the phone to a nearby apartment complex, and with the assistance of police unsuccessfully conducted a search for the device.

It’s really no surprise to me that we didn’t hear about this story sooner, as the only reason Apple acknowledged the loss/theft of the iPhone prototype last year is that Gizmodo had illegally acquired it and was splashing the new iPhone specs across the Web. In this most recent case, however, it looks like Apple damage control was in full effect, aided by the fact that the phone prototype is apparently difficult to differentiate from a regular iPhone 4 from simply observing the exterior.

For me, however, this whole story is still almost too far-fetched to believe, with the news breaking weeks after the fact and coinciding directly with the legal case against the two people accused in last years iPhone 4 prototype theft. When I covered the latter story last summer, I jokingly mused that it all might be a devious plot hatched from the dark and disturbed mind of Steve Jobs, but if it is, Jobs clearly has got lazy this time around, perhaps the real reason for his recent departure.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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