iPhone 5 Prototype Investigation Denied by SFPD: Report

Apple supposedly lost another iPhone prototype in a California bar, sparking a police search. But San Francisco police are denying any investigation.

For a day or two, it looked as if history was about to repeat itself: for the second time in two years, an Apple employee had lost an iPhone prototype in a California bar, sending the company and police on a mad scramble to retrieve the device.

This latest whoopsie supposedly occurred at Cava 22, a San Francisco establishment known for its tequila. According to CNET, Apple's people "traced the phone to a two-floor, single-family home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood," but a police search failed to retrieve the lost device. The publication's source for the information was anonymous.

But according to other publications, the San Francisco Police Department has no record of an investigation for a missing Apple prototype.

"I talked to CNET," a SFPD spokesperson told local paper SF Weekly. "I don't know who his source is, but we don't have any record of any such investigation going on at this point." Nor are there, apparently, records of the San Francisco police visiting a Bernal Heights apartment in search of the device.

In 2010, an Apple employee lost an iPhone 4 prototype at the Gourmet Haus Staudt beer garden in Redwood City, Calif. The device's discoverers promptly sold it to Gawker Media, parent company of tech blog Gizmodo, which dissected it in a lengthy and much-circulated posting.

California prosecutors later abandoned plans to file charges against Gizmodo, but the two men who sold the prototype weren't so lucky. The early leak had a negligible effect on sales of the iPhone 4, which remains a linchpin of Apple's smartphone line.

Rumors suggest the next iPhone, which could be launched in either September or October, will feature a larger screen and faster processor, along with an 8-megapixel camera and possibly a redesigned body. There's also a widespread theory that Apple intends to release a line of low-cost iPhones to complement its next-generation device, which in turn would allow Cupertino to combat the rising number of cheap Google Android smartphones on the market.

Even if it proves a vaporware story, the Incredible Lost iPhone accomplished one pretty amazing thing: for a day or two, it managed to drown out all the tech-news stories related to Apple's seismic transition following the resignation of CEO Steve Jobs. Former COO Tim Cook is now at the reins, overseeing the launch of new products-including the next iPhone.

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