Missing iPhone 5 prototype leaves Apple in a panic


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To lose one secret iPhone prototype may be regarded as a misfortune.

To lose another looks like carelessness, which is why Silicon Valley is agog over reports that an Apple employee may have left a test version of the forthcoming iPhone 5 in a late-night tequila bar, sparking a furious hunt for the device.

When a staff member left a yet-to-be-released iPhone 4 in a bar last year, the finder sold it to a tech industry blog for $5,000. Apple reacted with ferocity, even sending the police to execute a warrant to search the blogger's home and has since tightened up security around prototype devices.

The iPhone 5 is expected to be launched this autumn, with upgraded microprocessor technology, but details are being kept tightly under wraps. Except that one of the devices may now be on the loose, at least according to a report on the tech website CNET.

The device is said to have been left at a San Francisco tequila lounge called Cava 22. The bar owner received several calls a few weeks ago from a man desperately asking about a lost iPhone.