September 01, 2011, 4:52 PM — 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?
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.