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iPhone 5 lost in bar was a hoax, say police

Reports circulating earlier this week that a prototype Apple iPhone 5 had been lost in a San Francisco bar have been labelled a hoax by local police.

In a repeat of an incident last year (opens in new tab) concerning the Cupertino company's iPhone 4 handset, a careless Apple employee was alleged to have lost the device while drinking in a bar this weekend.

But police in the area say the story - along with reports that Apple employees had been escorted by police to a building to which they'd tracked the misplaced iPhone 5 - is a work of fiction.

The story, 'exclusively' broken by Cnet (opens in new tab), had it that the iDevice had changed hands on US small ads site Craigslist for the paltry sum of $200 (around £125). The leaked iPhone 4 prototype that surfaced last year was flogged to gadget blog Gizmodo for a whopping $5,000.

American tech news site PC World quotes San Francisco police department spokesperson Albie Esparza as saying: "We do not have any knowledge of an Apple iPhone investigation. I am trying to locate a report associated with that case and so far have been unsuccessful in doing so."

Apple is notoriously secretive about upcoming products, and it seems unlikely that another accident-prone engineer would have risked the wrath of newly installed CEO Tim Cook (opens in new tab) by leaving the top-secret device in a public place.

No firm launch date has yet been announced for the device, but recent rumours (opens in new tab) have pegged it for a 5th October release.

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