An Apple Inc lawyer considered a missing iPhone 4G prototype invaluable and publication of its details immensely damaging to the gadget maker's future sales, according to a search warrant unsealed by a California judge on Friday.

The loss of the prototype, which was owned by an Apple employee, in late March prompted a meeting between company executives and law enforcement, according to an April 23 search warrant written by Matthew Broad, a detective with the San Mateo County Sheriff's office.

Riley stated the publication of the device and its features is immensely damaging to Apple, wrote Broad in the warrant, referring to Apple's outside counsel, George Riley of O'Melveny and Myers.

Others at the April 20 meeting included Apple's director of information security, Rick Orloff, and the company's general counsel, Bruce Sewell.

Broad wrote that Riley said Apple customers would delay purchases until the new iPhone was released, thereby hurting overall sales and negatively effecting Apple's earnings.

Riley stated he could not currently provide an estimated loss, but he believed it was huge, Broad wrote.

Apple officials were not available for comment.

News of the wayward prototype dominated Silicon Valley chatter last month, as Apple moved to recover the device apparently lost in a bar. It later resurfaced on Gizmodo, a popular gadget website, which splashed photos and details of it over the Web.

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge had sealed the search warrant on April 28, but ordered it unsealed on Friday after petitioning by a coalition of media outlets.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Richard Chang)