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Another Unreleased iPhone Lost by Employee In a Bar 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-think-I-saw-this-episode-already dept.
First time accepted submitter MightyMait writes "Looks like another Apple employee left an iPhone prototype in a bar. From the article: 'The errant iPhone, which went missing in San Francisco's Mission district in late July, sparked a scramble by Apple security to recover the device over the next few days, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Last year, an iPhone 4 prototype was bought by a gadget blog that paid $5,000 in cash. This year's lost phone seems to have taken a more mundane path: it was taken from a Mexican restaurant and bar and may have been sold on Craigslist for $200. Still unclear are details about the device, what version of the iOS operating system it was running, and what it looks like.' Once might be an accident, but two unreleased iPhones lost in bars starts to look like a strategy."
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Another Unreleased iPhone Lost by Employee In a Bar

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  • by Slur (61510) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @06:24PM (#37269734) Homepage Journal

    Once might be an accident, but two unreleased iPhones lost in bars starts to look like a strategy.

    No, it actually makes it look more like an accident.

    • by drpimp (900837)
      How many people lose their phones due to drunken bar attendance? So I second the accident and add that they are drunks.
      • by jhoegl (638955)
        They work at Apple, they have a lot to drink about.
      • it's not 'thier phone' it's a super secret prototype from a famously Nazi secrets company that they had to sign away their life and their job to get, They didn't leave a 'phone' in a bar, they left one of the hottest most wanted tech jobs on the market in that bar. They just lost their job. This DOES look like a strategy
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rutabagaman (120913)

      To quote my friend Auric Goldfinger: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times, it's enemy action."

    • by uniquename72 (1169497) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @06:51PM (#37269970)
      Maybe they were just holding it wrong.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Hey, that's not a bug, its a feature. BTW they may or may not be coming out with a stylish new case which prevents you from accidentally forgetting your phone at the tequila bar by not letting you take your hand off of it.
    • Apple knows they're going to lose more prototypes of iPhones, iPods, or whatever other new shiny things they make over the next few years, because that just happens sometimes. Employees accidentally take the wrong devices out of buildings, go to bars, whatever. They try to keep stuff under wraps, but can't stop all the accidental leaks.

      So Apple's now having their art department make fake prototype devices and leave them around in bars on purpose. They don't all have to work perfectly, the amazingly cool

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cyclomedia (882859)

        I just pictured a Police Squad like moment where someone goes into a bar and attempts to order a drink, their task being made more difficult because of the surfaces being piled high with "lost" tablets, phones, laptops, gizmos, dongles and widgets

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by MightyMait (787428)

      No, it actually makes it look more like an accident.

      Cut me some slack. When I saw that the story was only 23 minutes old, I almost peed my pants and rushed to submit it to Slashdot. I had to think of *something* to say along with the headline and URL, and that was the best I could do. Apparently it was good enough.

      It's been years since I'd even bothered to submit anything (and, as you can gather from TFS, none of my previous submissions were accepted). The fact that I'm strutting around right now as if I'd won the Superbowl must give you a sense of ho

    • by rednip (186217)
      I'm certain that both phones were lifted by an experienced pick-pocket. Likely the second guy, upon learning what happened to the first guy who tried to profit off of his 'find', likely broke the phone up and put it in the trash.
    • by optimism (2183618)

      Wow. I had no idea that you knew I was thinking you knew I knew what you thought I was thinking.

      Modern marketing techniques!

    • Once might be an accident, but two unreleased iPhones lost in bars starts to look like a strategy.

      No, it actually makes it look more like an accident.

      Oddly, something about it sort of reminds me of a Clancy plot [moviesounds.com].

  • Strategy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @06:24PM (#37269738) Homepage

    I have friends who lose their phones in bars every month. I had no idea they were strategic geniuses, I assumed they were just clumsy and drunk. Silly me!

    • I have friends who lose their phones in bars every month. I had no idea they were strategic geniuses, I assumed they were just clumsy and drunk. Silly me!

      The job interviews for marketing at mobile phone vendors must be fun. How many beers does it take before you begin to have trouble keeping track of items on the counter or table.

      • Judging from the people I know who are in marketing, I do actually believe this being part of the interview. Well, at least the "how much can you drink before you pass out" part.

      • by 1u3hr (530656)

        How many beers does it take before you begin to have trouble keeping track of items on the counter or table.

        Don't they have pockets?

        Or if they must display them, put them on a lanyard.

        I really don't know why so many people walk around clutching a phone in their hand all day long.

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Phones, wallets full of money, 15" laptops... it's ridiculous the stuff people leave at San Francisco bars. Sometimes they don't come looking for it for a month.

      • Yeah right, so now the streets are paved with gadgets are they ? Not falling for it America.

        • I live in the poor part of town, mainly for the low rent. It's a HUD housing and welfare district. Anyway, I know every one of my neighbors and without fail they all have iPhone 4s. Yes, they may be single moms, or currently unemployed. Yet mysteriously they have a phone that I know I can't afford.

          Welcome to the United States. Maybe this is a good indicator for why our politicians of both parties consistently choose to spend more money than we make.
    • I have friends who lose their phones in bars every month. I had no idea they were strategic geniuses, I assumed they were just clumsy and drunk. Silly me!

      There's a bit of a difference when you lose your own production version phone vs. an unreleased version of an upcoming phone the company you work for is going to be marketing/selling in the near future. It makes me wonder just how many drunken clumsy incompetent idiots work in the iPhone department at Apple.

      • I have friends who lose their phones in bars every month. I had no idea they were strategic geniuses, I assumed they were just clumsy and drunk. Silly me!

        There's a bit of a difference when you lose your own production version phone vs. an unreleased version of an upcoming phone the company you work for is going to be marketing/selling in the near future. It makes me wonder just how many drunken clumsy incompetent idiots work in the iPhone department at Apple.

        I'm more curious what happens to the employees that lose "top secret" products. Surely if a person is given a phone that is not even released it would be paramount that the person is trustworthy enough to not lose it. At the very least a demotion, I would rate it as a sackable offence.
        If nothing is done about it (especially considering how hard Apple works at "protecting their IP" ), something is rotten in the state of Denmark....

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          Promotions for getting so much free advertising!
      • by greg1104 (461138)

        It makes me wonder just how many drunken clumsy incompetent idiots work in the iPhone department at Apple.

        They're just trying to understand their customers by hiring them.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        It makes me wonder just how many drunken clumsy incompetent idiots work in the iPhone department at Apple.

        The reason (at least one of the contributing factors to that reason anyway) Apple sells millions and millions of iPhones is because they have normal everyday people using iPhones before they are released to the public. It could very well be a secretary. You want a good sampling of different types of folks playing with a consumer device to get good data.

        Companies who have their devs test the software UI design before its released to the public end up like RIM and Microsoft's mobile line recent string of jo

      • by ibwolf (126465)

        There's a bit of a difference when you lose your own production version phone vs. an unreleased version of an upcoming phone the company you work for is going to be marketing/selling in the near future. It makes me wonder just how many drunken clumsy incompetent idiots work in the iPhone department at Apple.

        If you only had smart, responsible people testing the phones in the field, you wouldn't have any clear idea if the product is reasonably rugged or not.

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mensa Babe (675349) * on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @06:25PM (#37269742) Homepage Journal
    Do you really need to know what it looks like? I'm sure it has rectangular design with rounded corners, I mean Apple has invented [slashdot.org] rounded rectangles so I'm sure they wouldn't waste their greatest contribution to the world of computing. Seriously, this whole secrecy reminds me about Harry Potter. No one would read it if it wasn't the greatest secret on Earth. People, it's just a freaking phone! Who cares if it was lost or not, how it looks like or what OS version is it running. It could run Window$ Mobile for what it's worth and people would still line up to buy them because it's Apple. There, I said it. What I am more concerned about is not the OS version, the design or whether it finally has a real keyboard or not, but more important issues that have real impact on Web developers. Does it finally understand Mobile Web sites? Does it render XHTML Mobile Profile? Or even WAP for god's sake? ActionScript anyone? What about MMS? Let's face it - no matter how badly does it do all of those things that you expect from a $29 Nokia, people will still buy them and love them and the Mobile Web developers will have to live with all of their limitations. XHTML MP, cHTML, WML, AS, MMS, SMS - the level of support of those technologies that in the pre-iOS era we used to take for granted is what we should be interested about, not the shape or color of the new iPhone.
    • Actually, Apple literally did invent the rounded rectangle UI element: http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=Round_Rects_Are_Everywhere.txt [folklore.org]

    • by fredan (54788)

      People, it's just a freaking phone!

      Hey now!

      It's Apple so it's not just a phone!

      This is a Apple product, soon to come, so we need to know, right now, because we can't wait any further, goddammit!

    • I'm not sure you're thinking in the right direction. I personally can't STAND it when I get linked to a site and I get redirected to a mobile site and lose the link. Or the mobile site is severely functionally limited in comparison with the normal site. Or the "back" button doesn't work properly on mobile sites. Or the viewport is set so that I can't zoom in. This covers almost all the "mobile" sites out there. I almost always try to just browse on the regular site, but zealous webmasters often don't make t

    • by dintech (998802)

      Sorry, but who in the developed world cares about WAP anymore? If you have a smart phone, you want HTML5, clearly not WAP.

    • by bobdinkel (530885)

      If you make your living developing web apps for mobile devices, you should care a great deal about a new iPhone. And not because of any of the device's inherent qualities. But because people will be in fact lining up to buy it. It's like the stock market in a sense. A stock is worth a lot because people think it's worth a lot. The iPhone is a big deal because people think it's a big deal.

      And people only like Harry Potter because it's secret? Really? Super compelling argument.

  • Once might be an accident, but two unreleased iPhones lost in bars starts to look like a strategy

    First we need to know how many unreleased iPhones are out there and for how long this field testing goes on. iPhones get lost/stolen in bars all the time, the pre-release loss rate may be comparable to the post-release loss rate. Personally I think it looks like drunk guys are not very good at keeping track of the expensive gadget they leave laying on the counter or table.

  • Strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kittenman (971447) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @06:36PM (#37269822)
    1: Create media interest in new product

    2: Deny all access to new product for rank-and-file

    3: When attention starts to wane, "accidentally" leave product somewhere it can be found and analyzed

    4: Watch media hype increase

    5: Release new product

    6: Profit!!

    • It's not like Apple is the only company that uses hype, is this Google-Facebook thingamajig still invite-only?

  • by geogob (569250) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @06:37PM (#37269826)

    It was neither funny nor subtle the first time. Now a second time? I was going to say that someone at marketing lost his original touch, but then I remembered the whole never ending "I'm a mac vs. I'm a PC" campaign... and that was that.

    Who losses a phone in a bar anyway?!

  • Either Apple encourages their employees to have fun on the job, or they need to offer alcohol treatment for their employees.
  • It would be nice to know what radios this thing has... CDMA? GSM? AWS? LTE?

  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @06:45PM (#37269912) Homepage
    real issue. Apple has a drinking problem.
  • Wouldn't you think that Apple would have immediately made it against policy to leave Apple grounds with a prototype if they were serious about preventing them from being lost? Unless Apple announces that in accordance with their policy set in place last year, WHEN THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED, the employee who lost the phone this time is fired, and then ask the public for assistance in returning of the phone, it is a marketing strategy in my opinion.

  • Okay, everyone call Apple and say you found this funny looking iPhone in a bar....
  • by manekineko2 (1052430) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @07:11PM (#37270112)

    I find most interesting from this episode the following:

    Apple electronically traced the phone to a two-floor, single-family home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood, according to the source.
    When San Francisco police and Apple's investigators visited the house, they spoke with a man in his twenties who acknowledged being at Cava 22 on the night the device went missing. But he denied knowing anything about the phone. The man gave police permission to search the house, and they found nothing, the source said.

    When you or I go to the police and tell them our phone/computer was stolen, but we can track it via GPS from any computer and can even use the built-in camera to take pictures of the perpetrator, they tell us to take a hike and go read up on vigilante justice.

    When Apple goes to the police with a missing phone, the police go with them, stick around to search a person's house, and in the last case:

    Last year's prototype iPhone went missing when Robert Gray Powell, an Apple computer engineer who was 28 years old at the time, left it in a German beer garden in Redwood City, Calif.
    In early August, San Mateo County prosecutors filed misdemeanor criminal charges against two men, Brian Hogan and Sage Wallower, for allegedly selling Powell's iPhone 4 prototype to Gawker Media's Gizmodo blog. An arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow.
    Prosecutors obtained a warrant to search the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, and indicated they might prosecute Gizmodo, but eventually decided not to file charges.

    • by ScottyLad (44798)

      When you or I go to the police and tell them our phone/computer was stolen, but we can track it via GPS from any computer and can even use the built-in camera to take pictures of the perpetrator, they tell us to take a hike and go read up on vigilante justice.

      When Apple goes to the police with a missing phone, the police go with them, stick around to search a person's house, and in the last case...

      That's because there's a difference between the value of an individual's retail handset and an industrial prototype.

      In the Gizmodo instance, the cost of the loss wasn't a few hundred bucks for a handset - it was a few hundred thousand, or maybe even a few million bucks as potential customers abruptly stopped purchasing the current product line in the shops at the time.

      If you or I contributed as many tax dollars to the US as Apple, we could probably expect a pretty darn attentive service from the police

        • Compare this sentence from your link :

          "Apple reported income of $18.5 billion and paid $2.7 billion in income taxes, or about 15 percent. "

          With this article [reuters.com] "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study." :

          * eBay whose CEO John Donahoe made $12.4 million, but which reported a $131 million refund on its 2010 current U.S. taxes.
          * Boeing, which paid CEO Jim McNerney $13.8 million, sent in $13 million in federal income taxes, and spent $20.8 million on lobbying and campaign spending
          * General Electric whe

      • by jittles (1613415)
        Throwing away some mod points to say this but... What you said makes absolutely no sense. Everyone knows that Apple releases a new iPhone every 12 months. They have done so without fail until this year. So the loss of that phone doesn't cause people to hold off on buying a new phone. People are either smart enough to hold out for an update, or they aren't.
    • by pete6677 (681676)

      Why are the police wasting taxpayer money participating in Apple's publicity stunt?

  • As some people have already said in the comments on CNet, this entire story may be made up, as the only citation for the phone being lost–and searched for–is an unknown source. The SFPD never received a request from Apple to get the phone, as is noted in the article; however, the unknown source tells us that SFPD did search a house in the SF area. I have a hard time believing this story because of a lack of specific information about the phone itself.

    The conclusion? CNet page views. Mission A

  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @07:14PM (#37270144)

    Remember that prototype MacBook with what appeared to be a SIM card clot and antenna popping up on e-bay?
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20092180-248/3g-equipped-macbook-prototype-pops-up-on-ebay/ [cnet.com]
    ( I'd link to a Slashdot article but Google's failing to find it. Or maybe /. never covered it. )

    Welp, they want it back. Rather suddenly, coinciding with cnet's requests for comments from Apple.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20099494-248/apple-wants-its-3g-macbook-prototype-back/ [cnet.com]

    I had actually been talking to Cnet all week, since the writer found the full backstory (especially the small claims part) interesting. He asked me if he could publish it, and I asked him to wait until I had heard something from Apple. Despite all my attempts I never did, so I finally said sure go ahead.

    Then did Apple contact me . . . . directly, by phone. Quite possibly because Cnet contacted Apple PR to ask for comment before publishing. Their representative was very pleasant and polite actually, and we chatted for a while. He promised to call me back an hour later with a resolution. When he did they wanted to send an agent from Charlotte directly to me to recover the laptop immediately, tonight, and I didn't feel comfortable with that. Not based only on a phone call, with nothing at all in writing, and in the middle of the night (by the time they would reach Raleigh).

    I said I needed to consult my lawyer, since I had promised I would do so before taking any action regarding the machine, and that we will take the matter back up first thing in the morning. I'll let him handle the matter from here rather than dealing with Apple directly, and hopefully everyone will be happy with the outcome. I actually rather like Apple and their products, so try not to bash too much guys! They haven't really done anything wrong at this point.

    source: http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=13272429&postcount=38 [macrumors.com]

  • Guy walks up to a discarded iPhone on a bar.

    Guy: Hey, you're new here.
    iPhone: Yeah, that's right.
    Guy: Could I sell you to iGadget for a million dollars?
    iPhone: Oh, well, yes!
    Guy: How about ten dollars.
    iPhone: How dare you! What kind of iPhone do you think I am?
    Guy: We already established that, now we're just talkin' price.
    • I first heard that joke as the following Winston Churchill witticism:

      Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
      Woman: My goodness, Mr. Churchill Well, I suppose we would have to discuss terms, of course
      Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
      Woman: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
      Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

  • Wait, stop me if you've heard this one before.

  • by seven of five (578993) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @07:28PM (#37270254) Homepage
    Bartender says, hey, buddy... you look lost.
  • Still unclear are details about the device, what version of the iOS operating system it was running, and what it looks like.

    (Emphasis mine)

    Having never owned an Apple product in my life, I just googled images of iphone original, iphone 3g, iphone 3gs, and iphone 4. After carefully comparing the changes over the years, I think I have a pretty good guess about what the iphone 5 prototype probably looks like.

  • And finds out the warranty won't cover that kind of damage.

  • Well, if it works...

  • by PPH (736903)

    Hey babe. Want to see my new iPhone? Its a 5, at least. I'll bet you've never held a 5.

    Sorry. That's never happened before. It usually stays up all day. Maybe its the way you held it.

  • ...So an Apple iPhone Engineer walks into a bar...

  • by smash (1351)
    2 lost iPhones from the company in several years = standard field testing by engineers who drink beer (who would have thought it), i very much doubt it is strategy. the whole point behind apple's keynote address release style is that people DON'T have advance notice of what the new shiny looks like.
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      They really should start putting a tee-totaller clause in the field test section of the NDA, though.

  • That's certainly not a company I'd entrust my data to.

  • The errant iPhone, which went missing in San Francisco's Mission district in late July...

    It would have been more appropriate if the iPhone had been lost in a bar in the Castro district instead...

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