The employee appears to have left a yet-unreleased version of the iPhone in a tequila bar in the Mission district of San Francisco. After someone found it there, the phone was apparently sold on Craigslist. Citing an unnamed source “familiar with the investigation,” the phone went missing in late July, sparking a furious search from Cupertino.
Police reportedly traced the phone to a two-story family home, but a search turned up nothing.
It’s a strange echo of the incident that led to Gizmodo’s iPhone4 scoop in 2010. Charges were recently filed over that leak; Gizmodo editors and reporters were cleared of all misconduct. And the company has reportedly taken pains to prevent another high-profile leak. The Guardian reported that the company had been testing the handset’s network compatibility in locked boxes.
One man told 9-to-5 Mac that he believed he’d spotted an unreleased iPhone on a San Francisco train, but this is the first report of Apple letting the handset out of their sight.