Second secret iPhone left in San Fran bar gives Apple security another chance to shine

Apple security does not shine, though it tries to bully another alleged iPhone recipient

Remember that once-in-a-lifetime, mondo bizarre Apple iPhone incident a year ago when an Apple engineer left a prototype iPhone 4 in a San Francisco bar?

Then two guys picked it up, realized what it was and sold it to a Gizmodo reporter for $5,000?

Then Gizmodo ran a bunch of reviews and analyses of the best evidence anyone had ever seen of an unannounced Apple smartphone until Apple's lawyers quit sending threatening letters and started sending thugs (actually a police special-operations unit) to break down the Gizmodo writer's door and search the place?

Then Apple got so mad that the phone wasn't there that it told Gizmodo it had to give back the iPhone 4 immediately or Apple was going to sue, and maybe do worse things, like declare everyone at Gizmodo Not A Genius™ and maybe excommunicate them so they'd never be able to be represented as a cool, dancing silhouette with no face or depth (the kind of customer Apple prefers, actually)?

So Gizmodo gave back the phone and Apple went back on its meds and everything went back to its neurotic, paranoid normal in Cupertino?

Except the whole place closed up even tighter, as Apple installed the giant scrolled-iron gates from the defunct Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory, put armed Oompa Loompas in the guardhouses and at the doors and everyone knew there was no way anyone from Apple would ever be allowed out the gate with a prototype of anything being made on the inside, ever ever, on pain of death or disdain of Steve Jobs?

It happened again.

Someone left an unreleased iPhone in a bar in San Francisco's Mission district sometime in late July, prompting frantic searches by Apple, offers of rewards, and house-to-house searches by hordes of Apple storm troopers, according to an exclusive scoop from CNET (except for the part about the storm troopers, which is my own contribution to the balanced discussion of best practices in the management of employee security and intellectual property protection).

The otherwise undescribed unreleased iPhone was taken from a "tequila lounge" and Mexican restaurant called Cava 22 and may have been sold on Craigslist for $200, though CNET doesn't cite a source for that information.

It does say Apple refused to comment, the San Francisco Police confirmed Apple filed no police report about a lost prototype phone and that Craigslist also refused to comment.

But, remember, your iPhone secretly tracks your location, even when you don't want them to?

So do Apple's iPhones.

"Apple electronically traced the phone to a two-floor, single-family home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood, according to the source [described earlier in the story as asking for anonymity while begging CNET to hide him from Apple's goons].

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. Before leaving the house, the Apple employees offered the man money for the phone no questions asked, the source said, adding that the man continued to deny he had knowledge of the phone. " – CNET, Greg Sandoval, Declan McCullagh, 8/31/11

No more is known about the mysteriously disappearing iPhone, though the house to which Apple traced the phone was destroyed mysteriously later that night in what neighbors called a spectacularly well-designed series of explosions with no obvious source, though some neighbors did report seeing what looked like the featureless silhouettes of stealthy attack drones shaped very much like the three-dimensional drones armed with Hellfire missiles the U.S. Air Force has used to kill the No. 2 leader of Al Queda 127 times during the past 10 years.

Apple denied any involvement. "We don't even know Al Kayda, OK?" according to a spokesman. "All terrorists are PCs anyway. We're a Mac."

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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