One year ago, Apple was losing a prized possession: an iPhone 4 prototype, that was forgotten by engineer Robert Gray Powell in a bar. The device was found by Brian Hogan, a 22 year old student, who then sold the prototype to Gizmodo for $5,000. Next came the Apple charges and the authorities started a case.

The investigation is still going on and it’s approaching finalization, with the time frame being so long because the authorities also had other cases to deal with, according to district attorney Stephen Wagstaffe. Apple put pressure on the local police to investigate the loss of the product, it seems and at some point Gizmodo editor Jason Chan had to face home searches.

A warrant was involved and it all went down last Spring, causing a strong reaction from fellow journalists, who mentioned the freedom of the press laws. These say that news organizations are  immune to searches, unless the journalists have committed crimes. Apparently holding a lost possession, that was borrowed without asking is a crime, so Gizmodo was in trouble…

While we wait for convictions (or lack of accusations) to go down, we notice hat Brian Hogan is still an Apple employee, as the Cupertino giant let this incident slip. Will it happen again this year?