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Next two iPhones may have been designed under Steve Jobs

During discussions about phone theft with an Apple liaison, San Francisco's district attorney says he was told the next two generations have already been designed and that "they preceded Tim Cook."

Did Steve Jobs have strong involvement with development of next two iPhones?
James Martin/CNET

The Steve Jobs era may not quite be over at Apple.

The late co-founder may have been involved in the development of the next two versions of iPhone, according to a report in the San Francisco Examiner. That information was supposedly imparted to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón by Apple's government liaison, Michael Foulkes, during discussions with Apple regarding the growing problem of mobile phone theft.

Gascón described his hour-long discussion with Foulkes as "very underwhelming," saying that Foulkes did most of the talking.

"It was incredible. He would just go on and on, one subject to the next," Gascón said. "It was hard to follow. It was almost like someone who's been trained in the art of doing a lot of talking and saying nothing."

However, whatever special communications skill Gascón suspects Foulkes of mastering, the Apple liaison may have accidentally said too much about closely guarded company secrets. In discussions about kill-switch technology for lost or stolen devices, Foulkes allegedly revealed that the next two generations of iPhone had already been developed and that he was told: "They preceded Tim Cook."

If true, that would seem to suggest that Jobs was involved with concept and design discussions about several future models not long before his death in October 2011.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Law enforcement officials report that the problem of mobile phone theft, particularly of Apple's iPhone, has reached near epidemic levels, especially in metropolitan cities. Last year, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed a surge in thefts of iPhone and iPads for a slight uptick in New York City's overall crime rate, noting that Apple's products were the preferred mobile device target of many thieves in the city.

Recognizing how popular its phones and tablets are with criminals, Apple filed a patent application last year for a theft detection system for smartphones that would sound an alarm if the device determined that it had been stolen.