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iPhone 5 “found in bar” story a hoax?

A man walks into a bar, orders a drink, gets plastered and loses the test iPhone 5 he’s been lugging around. “Why the long face?” says the barman. “Steve Jobs Tim Cook is going to have my kidneys for this!” etc etc.

So yesterday we heard that something along these lines had happened, in a bizarre repeat of last year’s events.

Except that it might not have. PCWorld is quoting SFPD spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza saying that: “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.”

Well there you go. Case closed right? The original story however said that an a unnamed twenty-something had allowed police to search his house for a missing iPhone; so either this isn’t genuine or is was a search for an iPhone 4 whose owner was trying to trace using MobileMe or something.

So it’s possible that the report was real (looking unlikely) a hoax (doubtful) or just a huge misunderstanding (most probably).

Beatweek Magazine goes further, suggesting that the whole thing has been cooked up for publicity, lulz and/or both. This article notes that that the sum allegedly paid for the device on Craigslist, said to be $200 (about £125) is way off the $5,000 (roughly £3,080) that Gizmodo paid for the (real) iPhone 4 prototype last year.

It is possible that an enterprising troll placed an item marked as an ‘iPhone 5 test model’ on Craigslist and suckered someone into buying it. It’s happened before on the internet, as it did with the P-P-P-PowerBook reserve scam.

We’d love it if turns out that someone’s paid £125 for a brick with a screenshot taped on the front…

Beatweek also mentions that Cava 22, the tequila bar where the phone was supposedly lost, gets too much of a mention in the piece, suggesting that the owners might have made it up. Then again, as the PCWorld article says, how often is it that people get drunk and lose their phones/iPhones in bars? If I’d spent hundreds of pounds on a phone and then lost it on a train or something, I’d do everything I could to get it back.

However they also say that “no one seems to know the name of the bar in which the iPhone 4 was lost last year,” actually not true, the iPhone 4 was of course lost in the Gourmet Haus Staudt.

We’re certainly not accusing Cnet or anyone of just making something like this up, but we have to admit that some of the particulars seem to be a bit on the thin side.

We has a look around on Craigslist yesterday for any mention of an iPhone 5, unsurprisingly, we found nowt. We’ve asked Craigslist for a comment on this and are waiting to hear back – we’re not holding out breath.

What do you think? Too good to be true? An elaborate PR stunt on behalf of the bar and/or Apple?

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