Second iPhone 5 Prototype Reportedly Lost in China

Foxconn loses a next-gen iPhone, punishes management

A Shenzhen-based accessories supplier has revealed to a Chinese blog that Apple is currently missing not one, but two iPhone 5 prototype devices. The second one was reportedly obtained directly from a Foxconn factory in the Futian district, Shenzhen.

This is reportedly the reason why we’re seeing all these alleged iPhone 5 cases floating around. Apparently, the designs don’t lie. Apple really is launching a teardrop-shaped iPhone this fall, or at least one that borrows the tapered design of the iPad 2 / iPod touch, according to MIC Gadget.

The supplier who allegedly knew about the Foxconn leak said the missing prototype had been enclosed in a case so that it could be disguised.

As some of our readers will recall, last year was the same, when Apple lost an iPhone 4 prototype enclosed in a case that made it look like a 3GS.

However, according to the supplier, this device is larger, so the case was not necessarily intended to make it look like something that’s already out there.

The chassis is reportedly finalized, but the inner workings are said to be “slightly modified iPhone 4 electronics with components such as the A4 chip and even the same amount of memory.”

Although Apple has strengthened security in an attempt to keep such leaks from ever occurring again, the company was reportedly outsmarted, again.

The accessory shop manager said the person who had access to the unit was careful to wipe the phone’s memory so that the GPS wouldn’t work.

This person allegedly sold the prototype to one of the numerous iPhone case manufacturers in China for RMB ¥20,000 (about $3,100), after getting paid himself / herself to take the phone outside the confines of the Foxconn factory.

The report reveals that Foxconn immediately became aware of the theft and punished management for the incident. There are no specifics on what penalties were applied.

It is unclear whether Apple is trying to hunt down the people involved with this second prototype leak, but it is reasonable to assume they are.

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By    28 Sep 2011, 07:33 GMT