Apple iPhone
A man uses an Apple iPhone in Santa Monica, California August 24, 2011 Reuters

An Apple employee has lost a next-generation iPhone prototype in a bar at San Francisco, and Apple can't get it back.

This reminds one of last April, when an iPhone 4 prototype went missing in a bar just before its release. But Apple was successful in getting the phone back from gadget site Gizmodo after it had been sold by a finder.

This time Apple is having a tough time getting back its iPhone 5, the next-gen iPhone, about which the company has not announced any plans in public. Rumors suggest the phone might be launched either in September or October.

According to reports, the iPhone 5 was left in a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco and then was sold on Craiglist for $200.

It is surprising that a trusted employee who was given an iPhone prototype for testing outside the lab would take it to a bar and carelessly leave it there.

I guess I'll have to make my drinks a little less strong, said the owner of the restaurant, Jose Valle.

Cnet reports that Apple has contacted the San Fancisco police and via location tracking eventually tracked the phone to a single-family home in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights area, but the resident has denied any connection to the event.

Reporters and analysts are suspicious of the loss of iPhone prototype, not once but twice.