Police Cast Doubt On ‘Lost’ iPhone Prototype


Police in San Francisco say they can find no record of having helped Apple locate a lost iPhone 5 prototype

US Police have cast doubt over reports that an iPhone 5 prototype was lost in a SanFrancisco bar, they can find no evidence of a supposed investigation into the disappearance.

A CNET exclusive on Wednesday reported that the loss in July, eerily reminiscent of one of 2010’s biggest gadget stories, had sparked a police investigation. However, two spokesmen for the San Francisco Police Department told PCMag yesterday that despite several internal queries they could find no evidence of such an investigation.

One said the victim’s name would be enough to adequately search their records and provide a definitive answer but Apple had stonewalled police attempts to find this out. An Apple spokesman told PCMag the company had nothing to say about the original report or its dealings with SFPD.

A likely story

The latest reports call into question the veracity of CNET’s story, which cited a single unnamed source as saying that after reporting the phone missing Apple electronically traced it to an address in the city.

There, a man in his twenties admitted being in the bar that night but denied seeing the phone and a subsequent police search turned up nothing.

According to the source, the man stuck to his story even when Apple offered a no questions asked payment for the phone’s return.

The story said the phone may have been sold on Craigslist, an American site similar to Gumtree, for $200 (£123).

CNET itself reported the SFPD as saying Apple did not file a report based on the loss at the bar. The closest it came to any corroboration was the bar owner’s recollection of a man calling several times about a lost iPhone about a month ago.

Deja vu

The story met with cynicism in some quarters, in part because Apple suffered a similar loss last year with an iPhone 4 prototype. That device was sold to Gizmodo for $5000 (£3085) and then dissected on camera.

Also, despite its policy of not discussing unreleased products the hype-hungry Apple has a reputation for conducting a covert programme of controlled leaks.

Yesterday the two men accused of selling the lost iPhone4 Gizmodo last year pleaded not guilty to charges of theft at a court in California. It emerged last month that no-one at Gizmodo would face charges for knowingly purchasing stolen goods.

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