Blog Post

Apple having some trouble not losing iPhone prototypes

A repeat of last year's missing iPhone prototype (pictured) playing out again?

Gray Powell can take a little bit of comfort in today’s news: According to a report Wednesday, he’s not the only person to lose track of an unreleased iPhone (s aapl) in a bar. Cnet reports (s cbs) that Apple has again lost a prototype of an unreleased iPhone. It reportedly went missing in a San Francisco tequila bar last month, and then was possibly sold by a San Francisco man on Craigslist for $200. It’s the second high-profile Apple prototype to go missing and wind up on a public online sales site this year, and of course, follows last year’s missing iPhone 4 prototype brouhaha.

Cnet says Apple was “desperate” for the missing iPhone’s return:

Apple electronically traced the phone to a two-floor, single-family home in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood, according to the source.

When San Francisco police and Apple’s investigators visited the house, they spoke with a man in his twenties who acknowledged being at Cava 22 on the night the device went missing. But he denied knowing anything about the phone. The man gave police permission to search the house, and they found nothing, the source said.

It’s not clear in the report if the device made its way back to Apple. A police report was not filed.

It’s been a busy summer for Apple’s lost-and-found. Earlier this month, an older model prototype MacBook modified with a 3G external antenna and SIM card slot showed up on eBay(s ebay). The bidding was up to $70,000 when Apple asked the auction to be shut down, and Apple has since requested the prototype’s return.

And who can forget spring 2010’s lost/stolen iPhone 4 scandal, that only recently resulted in criminal charges for the two men who found and sold the device that Apple engineer Gray Powell left in a bar.

Apple is rather famous for the tight security of its labs. But the company still seems to be rolling the dice by allowing employees to take prototypes outside the office before they’re released to the public.

Image credit: Gizmodo

12 Responses to “Apple having some trouble not losing iPhone prototypes”

  1. Ian Kemmish

    The cynic would conclude from this that Apple reviewed all of the free publicity they received last year, and decided that it was, on balance, more positive than negative.

  2. Glenn Gore

    As I see it, they keyword(s) here is: TEQUILA BAR Nothing much more needs to be said, as anyone with ANY experience with this delectable elixir can understand how this could have happened.

  3. Anonymous

    How would companies field test prototypes if they never left the lab? The loss of a prototype is no more excusable even if field tests are common practice, but that may be a matter of the enumerated repercussions in employee policies. After one or two public floggings, they’d probably get the idea. ;)

    • Erica Ogg

      Ha, you’re right…It doesn’t say it wasn’t him. I guess I would think he’s disqualified himself from the list of people allowed to take prototypes off campus though.