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Apple reportedly on another lost iPhone scavenger hunt

Apple is reportedly trying to track down an iPhone prototype lost by a company employee at a San Francisco bar – an incident that sounds an awful lot like the high-profile lost-then-sold iPhone prototype scandal from last spring.

CNET reports that an iPhone prototype was lost in late July at Cava22 and then possibly found and sold on Craigslist for $200, much to the chagrin of Apple security forces. CNET was not able to get Apple or Craigslist to comment, and local police didn’t have much to say either.

One commenter on the Apple Insider website suggested that maybe the prototype was “just a Samsung phone that looked like an iPhone,”  referring to Apple’s efforts to get Samsung phone and tablet sales banned because of alleged patent violations. Others picking up on the latest lost iPhone story suggest anyone would recognize an iPhone 5 prototype would be worth more than $200, so that it probably wasn't an early edition of the iPhone 5.

SATIRE: Other high profile Apple products lost at a bar 

BACKGROUND: More on Gizmodo's non-reporting of the iPhone 4G

Last year’s lost iPhone 4 episode turned into a huge news story – and a full-blown criminal investigation that resulted in charges -- when tech website Gizmodo forked over $5,000 for an iPhone prototype found in a bar and then wrote about the device.  

Speculation over the next iPhone has been hotter than ever in recent weeks, with Apple watchers particularly curious about when the iPhone 5 might emerge (Consensus seems to be that it will be October). 

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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