iPhone 5 lost in bar -- or just a stunt?

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - September 1, 2011.

[Updated: laugh along, as more bloggers poke fun at this ludicrous non-story]

iPhone 4 (Apple)
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is said to have lost another iPhone field-test unit in a bar. And so the Web goes into "iPhone 5 release date" overdrive. This time, the portable prototype was left in a San Francisco watering-hole by an errant employee, who is presumably seeking a new position as we speak. However, there do seem to be some holes in the story. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers smell a rat.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Ladeez, Google brings you the perfect boyfriend: Gmale...

    Greg Sandoval and Declan McCullagh breathlessly claim this exclusive:

[It] went missing in San Francisco's Mission district in late July [and] sparked a scramble by Apple security to recover the device. ... This year's lost phone...may have been sold on Craigslist for $200.


Apple declined to comment. ... [T]he San Francisco Police Department said the company did not file a police report. ... Apple electronically traced the phone to a...home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights. ... When San Francisco police and Apple's investigators visited the house...police...search[ed] the house, and they found nothing.   

   Déjà vu much? Paul Hales helps out:

Last time this happened the phone ended up being bought by a...journalist leading to...a ludicrous police raid on the hack's home.


According to...this latest tale of woe - or...incompetence - the phone was left in a...tequila-themed [bar]. ... [And] it appears the phone remains out there somewhere.   

Hillel Fuld is laughing, apparently:

OK, am I the only one laughing here? I mean, once, I get it, it happens. But losing two mobile devices that are under the highest level of security and for which the absolutely craziest measures of precaution have been taken, in a bar, twice?   

John Paczkowski pokes fun:

Apple should really begin requiring signed sobriety pledges from anyone given a prototype.   

And Lore Sjöberg writes from an alternative universe:

Apple has developed a drinking problem. ... [P]resumably...the owner was propositioned by an Android smartphone with more “swagger.”


[W]hatever flaws iPhones have, they’re gin-proof. ... I lost my first Newton to a Singapore Sling in ‘94. ... Apple has a suspicious knack for headline-friendly loss incidents. ... “Apple Loses...Prototype at a Bar” sounds a lot better than “Blackberry Prototype Lost at Marketing Seminar.”


All this is taking place against the backdrop of the departure of Steve Jobs...which has led to widespread speculation as to whether his replacement will have enough chemistry...to carry the trendsetting international company through.


What changes will we see at Apple? ... [G]iving out product prototypes to forgetful, bar-hopping employees will be...[forbidden] unless at least two publicity agents and a professional photographer are present.   

  But Jonny Evans wonders if it's true:

It sure makes a great story. ... As you might expect, this tale is running worldwide -- it is after all especially poignant in light of...the storied status of the two reporters...who share stints at the Washington Post, LA Times, Time and Wired between them.


[T]he decisive fact given in the tale is that it is based on the words of one single unnamed source. I've been known to cite individual sources...myself, but that a source is individual should be borne in mind when considering the veracity.


I'm not saying the story is false, just that it depends on one source.   

And Peter Jamison lays down the law:

There's just one problem: [an] SFPD spokesman...says no records exist of any such activity by [the] SFPD.


"[No] record of any such an investigation,"...no records of the visit to Bernal Heights...exist at either...station...which would have handled the incident. ... [No] records of any incident involving the address where the search...supposedly took place.


[He] related this information...weeks ago, when [the reporter] first called him on the story.   

So Doug Aamoth implies an implication about Apple PR (or perhaps the bar):

Unfortunately, we have no idea what sort of shrimp ceviche the bar serv—oh, whoops. I glossed right over that part. Lime-marinated shrimp ceviche. It's right there. ... I can't believe I missed that.   

And Nick Farrell comes right out and says it:

Cnet has cleared Apple of carrying out a cheap publicity stunt. ... And AP claims It has dusted off an an advertising expert who says it is unlikely [to be] a publicity stunt...claim[ing] that stunts like that are not in Apple's DNA and...weren't necessary. Apple just has to fart...and fanboy drones will start queuing.


Apple also goes to great lengths to keep its pre-release products secret. ... Tame Journalists were allowed to see the iPad in advance, but...were fitted with neck collars which would sever their heads if they tried to leave the room. .... Well something like that.   

   And Finally...
Ladeez, Google brings you the perfect boyfriend: Gmale
[hat tip: Keith Shaw]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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