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9/1/2011
09:47 AM
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iPhone 5 Lost In Bar? Say It Ain't So

Another Apple employee has reportedly lost yet another iPhone prototype in a California bar.

Heard this one before? An Apple employee walks into a bar and (in a punchline that's becoming too familiar to be funny) he leaves his prototype iPhone behind. It may sound like a joke, but apparently it really did happen again.

According to a report from CNET, an Apple employee took an iPhone 5 prototype out on the town in San Francisco and left it at a tequila bar called Cava 22 in the city's Mission district. The device was reportedly then sold for $200 on Craigslist, which is a pretty good deal for a yet-to-be-released iPhone 5 with no contract.

Perhaps aiming to keep the incident under wraps, Apple apparently did not contact San Francisco police right away, but waited a couple of days before notifying the police that the "priceless" device had gone missing. According to CNET, a source inside Apple claimed that the company traced the missing phone to a house in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood, but the resident there denied any knowledge of the phone.

Given the weeks-long fiasco that last year's loss of an iPhone 4 prototype--also in a Bay Area bar--had caused (including a police raid on the home of a Gizmodo editor), it's more than a little surprising that the company would allow a repeat of the incident. One might expect that this latest story would have to be either a stunt or a hoax, because it's practically unthinkable that Apple wouldn't have put measures in place to avoid losing yet another of its prototype devices, particularly given the company's penchant for Draconian secrecy about forthcoming products. Perhaps Apple workers just need to learn to handle their liquor a little better.

The iPhone 5 is expected to launch in October, according to prevailing rumor, and is expected to be available on all of the major U.S. carriers, including Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. The device will reportedly ship in both 3G and 4G versions, including an LTE model.

[See our related mobile coverage on Samsung's new tiny tablet and huge smartphone. Plus, a privacy case asks, how far can laptop tracking software go?]

Apple's new iPhone will face its stiffest competition yet from the rival Android OS, which has surged to a 42% share of the smartphone market, according to a ComScore report. In the coming months, a new Android device reportedly called the Nexus Prime is expected to drop and could provide some competition to the iPhone 5.

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