As you probably remember last year, an Apple employee who was testing the iPhone 4 prototype in the wild lost the prototype in a bar. The man who found the phone quickly realized what it was and contacted well-known tech blog Gizmodo and sold it to them for $5,000. Apple was apparently far from pleased with the incident as they started a police investigation and tried to sue the pants off Gizmodo, which subsequently settled. In a thoroughly altruistic mood, Apple also ended up firing the employee that lost the phone despite a large public outcry not to, which included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Fast forward a year, and we have found that CNET is reporting in an apparently “exclusive” that the latest iPhone 5 prototype has also suffered the same fate… in yet another bar. When I heard that a couple of days ago, I thought it sounded a little fishy and promptly moved on. Well it turns out that an editor at SF Weekly called the San Francisco police. Turns out they had no record of any such investigation – exactly what they told CNET.
Apple has not responded to this incident publicly, yet.
In this case, something doesn’t add up and clearly somebody is lying. Consider all the possibilities:
1. Apple intentionally lost this phone to steer attention away from the recent departure of CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs.
2. A prototype was accidentally lost, but the police don’t know about it or are lying about it for some reason.
3. CNET fabricated this whole story to get all the press coverage. They get an exclusive high-profile story without having to shell out 5 grand as Gizmodo did.
I’ll let you decide, but personally I have a sneaking suspicion that this is a CNET fabrication, and a poor one at that. I can’t possibly imagine Apple employees are so careless that they would be running around with iPhone prototypes and losing them in bars. Especially just a year later. What’s more, Apple really didn’t seem to be too pleased with the loss of their phone last year – and they certainly weren’t shy about making that crystal clear.
Then we come to CNET, they have the most to gain from this by far. This story is just too perfect and they have too much to gain.