Everyone remembers the story from last year. An Apple employee who had hold of an iPhone 4 prior to its release was in a bar. After a few drinks the employee went home, leaving the device in the bar where it was discovered by some other customers. They then sold the device to Jason Chen of Gizmodo for a reported $5000. Apple then used the REACT task force to raid Chen’s home and recover the device, while Chen and the customers who originally found the phone were prosecuted.
While Chen has been acquitted of all charges against him the original finders of the iPhone 4 have not been so lucky. Considering the amount of effort that Apple went to in order to retrieve the phone and bring legal punishment on all parties involved in its sale to Gizmodo, it would make sense to assume that Apple would be a bit more careful with its future prototypes. This is apparently not the case, according to a story from CNET, as now another Apple employee has left the latest iPhone 5 in a tequila bar in San Francisco.
Apple has not confirmed these rumours and the device has not yet appeared on Gizmodo or any other online tech website, leading some to speculate on the rumours are untrue. Reportedly, Apple traced the device electronically to an address in Bernal Heights, San Francisco, where the FBI searched a property. Nothing was found and the occupant denied any knowledge of the phone’s whereabouts.
While the iPhone 4 was sold to Gizmodo for $5000, this current misplaced iPhone has supposedly been sold on Craigslist for just $200. Considering that the phone will probably retail for more than $600 without contract this seems a little bit odd. $200 may be an accurate valuation for the iPhone 5 on contract once it is released, but for an unlocked device, and particularly a pre-release model, the person who found the phone in the tequila bar would surely be seeking much greater financial benefits for its resale.
If this story does hold any truth to it, and the device has not been recovered by Apple, we could expect to see some more tantalising details about the phone in the coming days and weeks. There is still some speculation about the nature of the next iPhone and just exactly what it has in store. Of course, this story could just be a publicity stunt by Apple after they realised the benefits of last year’s fiasco. We will just have wait and see whether the device crops up any time soon.