Another iPhone prototype lost in bar

You’d think that after last year’s debacle, any Apple staffer being entrusted with a prototype device would have it threaded through his sleeves on a piece of elastic.

Because it’s happened again: according to a report from CNet, an employee has left a prototype iPhone 5 in a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco.

In April last year, Californian Brian Hogan found an iPhone 4 in a local bar and sold it to tech blog Gizmodo, sparking legal wrangling and stern words from Apple for all concerned.

On this occasion, apparently, Apple realized the phone was missing almost immediately and contacted the police – describing it as ‘priceless’. The phone was electronically traced to a man who admitted having been in the Cava 22 restaurant that night, but denied all knowledge of the phone.

This little fit of absentmindedness is said to have taken place last month. While CNet suggests that the phone may have been sold almost immediately on Craigslist for $200, there’s been no news of it since – which may indicate that the story isn’t entirely accurate.

Various media reports have suggested that the iPhone 5 will be officially launched late this month or early next. So maybe this is simply Apple’s new launch strategy for phones – after all, leaving one in a bar is an awful lot cheaper than hosting massive press events.