Technology story of the decade? Possibly. Apple software engineer Gray Powell has certainly booked himself a place in geek folklore as the person who got p**sed and left a prototype new iPhone on a bar stool in California.

Had he have done the same thing in say Dudley or Walsall, he’d probably have gotten an email by the time he was home offering him his phone back for £500. Alas and alack, losing it in a bar full of technologically-curious drinkers meant that it was soon in the hands of top technology news website Gizmodo, and low, the secrets of the next generation iPhone were out.

A bad day for Apple then? I’m not so sure. Apple‘s security is notoriously tighter than a chicken-wire tourniquet, so would it really let an albeit it heavily disguised new phone out on the town?  Yes, Powell could have gone off-piste and disregarded rules about how and where you road test new products, but there’s still a slight whiff of “fit up” about this.

For one, the new specifications seem a little too obvious; camera flash with front facing video camera, higher resolution screen, bigger battery. Do you need to road test these? Secondly, the design looks like it’s taken a step backwards. It’s gone bulkier and less rounded (though of course the case could just be work in progress).

I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t an intentional Apple curve ball, thrown to keep the IT pack off the scent of the new handset which, let’s face it, will be launching into a market that is a lot more hostile than the one the original phone made such an impact in.

Either way, Gray Powell has made himself a quiz question for Technology PR agencies the world over, while Apple has got everyone talking about the iPhone, at a time when everyone is still talking about the iPad. Clever boys.

And should all this turn out to be true, then Apple can take solace in the fact that no matter how much this leak will damage the legendary mystique that usually  accompanies an Apple launch, it’ll be nowhere near as bad as Coca-Cola’s launch of its bottled water Dasani. Apparently early adverts carried the slogan “bottled spunk” (until they did a UK slang check) and it was soon ‘outed’ as being treated tap water, from Sidcup apparently. Then it was linked to causing cancer – and not even by the Daily Mail which usually holds the copyright to such speculation. Apple has nothing to worry about.