Apple has seen another prototype iPhone disappear, insiders revealed late Wednesday. The device, either an iPhone 5 or the 8GB iPhone 4, disappeared at San Francisco's Cava 22 lounge. Apple reportedly tracked it back to a man in his twenties at home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights but, according to CNET, couldn't prove or have him admit to taking the hardware himself.
The company hinted that it wasn't entirely convinced by his story as it offered a no-questions-asked reward for returning the device even after the denial.
Apple is likely to be very frustrated at the leak, which over a year after a lost iPhone 4 prototype was bought and shown to Gizmodo. Apple has since started shipping prototype iPhones to carriers in locked boxes to minimize the risk, but it can't do the same for Apple employees, who are encouraged to live with pre-release iPhones to see how they work in practice.
Who had lost the iPhone wasn't identified, although it's near-certain to be an Apple worker rather than someone from AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. The knowledge that the iPhone had escaped will very likely discourage any attempts to publish photos of the phone or to sell it off, since it's now known to be someone else's property and could lead to an arrest for the buyer.