Officers did not say exactly what Apple had lost, but they left a clue – the San Francisco Police Department’s Friday press release about the hunt was called “iPhone5.doc,” an apparent reference to a new version of the mobile phone that tech industry watchers expect to be released soon.
Last year, before the release of iPhone 4, an Apple employee lost the prototype of iPhone 4 at a bar. Gadget site, Gizmodo bought the prototype from the person who found the phone, and released pictures and specs of the iPhone 4 before the company’s official announcement. Gizmodo received legal threats for putting up pictures and releasing specs.
A source told CNET formerly that last July while enjoying at Cava 22, a Mexican restaurant and bar in Mission district, San Francisco an Apple employee misplaced the iPhone 5 prototype.
Apple legislative body contacted San Francisco police, saying the device was precious and the company was in frantic need to have it back securely. SF Weekly claimed that through GPS signals, Apple investigators have pretense as police officers to assist in finding the robber’s house but never refurbish.
However, the resident of the searched Bernal Heights home was identified as Sergio Calderon, 22 who told SF Weekly that six badge-wearing individuals came to him last July, but didn’t recognize if he works in Apple’s personnel.
Calderon, the owner of the house said in an interview that none of the investors acknowledged being Apple’s employees, and one of them offered him $300 and said if he returned the phone, no charges would be pressed against him. He confirmed only two of the six people who came by, entered his house and they did not identify themselves as police officials.
SF Weekly quoted a 22-year-old man who described himself as the resident of the searched house as saying the group identified themselves as police and that none had said they were working for Apple. They had traced the phone to the house using satellite positioning software on the device but did not find anything in the house, he said he was told.
Although a prototype of the iPhone 4 went missing in 2010, police said this time Apple had tracked “the lost item” to a San Francisco house and four police accompanied two Apple employees to the house.
“The two Apple (security) employees met with the resident and then went into the house to look for the lost item. The Apple employees did not find the lost item and left the house,” the police statement said.
Undoubtedly, the last thing that Apple wants is another iPhone prototype revealing to the public, and it’s apparent that the company is doing its utmost to stay out of the public eye right now.
Hence, speculations revealed that iPhone 5 will be released this October with Apple still not issuing any formal proclamation on this as well as on the alleged lost iPhone 5 prototype as involvement in criminal activity to recover a lost prototype is definitely a tough job.
It is not even verified if the lost device was an iPhone 5 prototype or Apple was trying to retrieve some kind of arbitrary test unit which isn’t set to become a consumer product.
It is also surprising that the trusted Apple employees who are given the iPhone prototypes for testing, lose it at a bar and get away with the carelessness without being fired by the company.
The company’s loss of the iPhone prototypes twice before their release raises a lot of questions, the answers to which will not be clear until Apple comes up to comment on the alleged phone loss. [via Reuters, iPhone 5 Newser and International Business Times]