3G MacBook Pro prototype 'owner' gets parts returned to him

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has sent back custom-installed parts to the unwitting buyer of a 3G antenna-equipped MacBook Pro prototype, after reclaiming the computer last month.



Josh Lowensohn reported for CNet that Carl Frega received back from Apple a hard drive, battery and two sticks of RAM that he had installed in the machine to repair it.



Frega, a North Carolina resident, enlisted the help of a friend to post the prototype unit on eBay in August. The unusual laptop quickly attracted interest, with bids shooting up at one point to as high as $70,000 before the auction was shut down at Apple's request.



The Cupertino, Calif., company then contacted Frega and sent a private investigator to pick up the computer on Sept. 1.



Frega told the publication that he had made multiple requests to Apple to get the parts back. The components reportedly arrived in an unmarked Fedex box.







The laptop features an extendable 3G antenna on the right side of the display and a SIM card slot. Rumors that Apple has been developing notebooks capable of cellular data connections have persisted for years.



Frega claims to have purchased the machine from a former Apple engineer he met via the classifieds site Craigslist. The Apple employee allegedly received the prototype for "software development work" and never tested the cellular functionality.



After repairing the unit, Frega sold it on Craigslist, but the new buyer complained that the laptop was a fake after an Apple Store Genius Bar technician refused to service the machine.







"Opened machine to observe that nearly every internal part was third party; main logic board, optical drive, display, hard drive, top case, and others. Machine serial number (W8707003Y53) is also not recognized as a valid number," the Genius Bar repair sheet reportedly read.



The purchaser took the owner to small claims court, where a judge ruled that Frega must compensate the buy for the notebook and take back the device.



Frega is now considering legal action against the original owner of the MacBook Pro prototype. Including legal fees, he estimates that he has incurred $400 in costs related to the notebook.
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Comments

  • chabigchabig Posts: 592member
    For $400 he should let it go. This doesn't require legal action.
  • lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    "the purchaser took the owner to small claims court"



    oh maybe I got it - the guy who bought it (Frega) is looking to get the money he paid to buy it from the "Apple engineer" - at least I think that makes sense.



    Somehow the engineer got hold of it - sold it to Frega - Frega tried to make a huge profit off it - Apple reclaimed it (did they have a court order? was it a polite request? did they offer to reimburse Frega? why did he not take the parts he installed out of it before handing it over?) - and now Frega wants to get his mine back form the guy who evidently had no right to sell it to him in the first place.
  • bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,443member
    And who would ever think that a prototype would have valid serial numbers?!
  • realisticrealistic Posts: 1,111member
    IMO he bought this figuring he would make big money reselling it. Apple won't fix it, he can't fix it so so his plan blew up in his face and now he wants his money back.
  • whozownwhozown Posts: 128member
    He should be so lucky that $400 was all he's had to pay. Apple could have brought down the hammer on this guy with a team of layers.
  • russellrussell Posts: 296member
    "Opened machine to observe that nearly every internal part was third party; main logic board, optical drive, display, hard drive, top case, and others. Machine serial number (W8707003Y53) is also not recognized as a valid number," the Genius Bar repair sheet reportedly read.





    The person at the Genius bar was not a genius.

    How likely can someone install a third party main logic board, LCD display, top case, and others in a notebook? Virtually impossible.
  • lamewinglamewing Posts: 742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post


    For $400 he should let it go. This doesn't require legal action.



    If $400 doesn't mean much, why don't you sent him $400. This is what small claims court is for.



    It doesn't matter why the guy bought the prototype. If the courts forced him to return the payment to his buyer, he should have no problem doing the same to the original seller. Why is this such a problem for you folks?
  • spuditspudit Posts: 45member
    Buyer beware...it wasn't sold with a warranty so the original seller owes this guy nothing. Small claims court is possible, but what would the argument be? "I tried to resell the laptop for some real money and got screwed...". Apple has already confirmed it is the real deal, so the original sale was somewhat legitimate. His only argument is that the sale was invalid because the laptop was never really 'owned' by the original seller. It was Apple's all along. Either way, he will end up expending more time, money, and effort for very little reward.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,069member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Russell View Post


    "Opened machine to observe that nearly every internal part was third party; main logic board, optical drive, display, hard drive, top case, and others. Machine serial number (W8707003Y53) is also not recognized as a valid number," the Genius Bar repair sheet reportedly read.





    The person at the Genius bar was not a genius.

    How likely can someone install a third party main logic board, LCD display, top case, and others in a notebook? Virtually impossible.



    Not that impossible. I have a friend that builds custom notebooks all the time.



    Fact even even he thinks this story is more bogus than the iPhone 5 prototype one. Kyle's theory is that someone got a MBP and maybe damaged it spilling water on it or something and decided to use the body to have some fun and rebuild a new laptop into it. Or at least tried. and then tried to pass it off as a prototype and this John bought into it.



    It seems unlikely that a prototype would be given to someone for 'software development' that didn't involve the antenna or that Apple didn't track that thing every few days to make sure it didn't walk. Just doesn't fit their style.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spudit View Post


    Apple has already confirmed it is the real deal,



    No they haven't. We have only CNet's story that they have. Not the same at all.
  • tony1tony1 Posts: 258member
    You know, in the end is $400 such a bad deal for a MacBook Pro even if the 3G aspect is inoperable?
  • flaneurflaneur Posts: 3,845member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Russell View Post


    The person at the Genius bar was not a genius.



    deleted, not worth it to confront this person . . .
  • xsuxsu Posts: 401member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Russell View Post


    "Opened machine to observe that nearly every internal part was third party; main logic board, optical drive, display, hard drive, top case, and others. Machine serial number (W8707003Y53) is also not recognized as a valid number," the Genius Bar repair sheet reportedly read.





    The person at the Genius bar was not a genius.

    How likely can someone install a third party main logic board, LCD display, top case, and others in a notebook? Virtually impossible.



    You're obivously no genius either.



    It was a very special prototype, thus nothing on that machine was serial production parts. Since Apple doesn't make any of those parts, they had to be custome made by a third party. Database accessible by Genius bar wouldn't have contained any information on these custom, in many cases unique, parts.
  • wolfmanwolfman Posts: 79member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    Kyle's theory is that someone got a MBP and maybe damaged it spilling water on it or something and decided to use the body to have some fun and rebuild a new laptop into it. Or at least tried. and then tried to pass it off as a prototype and this John bought into it.



    I think that's unlikely and given the quality of the build (looking at the injection molding of the lcd bezel and the antenna), it appears pretty legitimate.



    I am not sure why everybody thinks that Apple exerts such tight control over past development machines. That maybe the case now, but certainly not years ago (like this MBP).

    Over the years I had purchased several pre-production Apple computers (G5's and Xserve's) that showed the various stages of designing the final product. That included custom logic boards, and internal plastics, etc.

    These machines even had several stickers describing them as development builds. Either way, they were discarded just like other "old" computers.



    I am actually more surprised that Apple even got involved. My assumption is this maybe the only remaining model like this and they like it for their own "museum"...
  • cescocesco Posts: 22member
    His last name (Frega) is telling: at the end he's been 'Fregato" (Italian for "shafted")
  • cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,084member
    $400 includes his legal fees? Sound fishy to me.
  • tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Whozown View Post


    He should be so lucky that $400 was all he's had to pay. Apple could have brought down the hammer on this guy with a team of layers.



    Wouldn't be that bad if they turned out to be great lays.
  • iansilviansilv Posts: 283member
    I can't imagine anyone stupid enough to buy a prototype Apple anything except as a curiosity or to collect...
  • jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    $400 includes his legal fees? Sound fishy to me.



    It was small claims court. He probably represented himself.
  • chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,517member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    The components reportedly arrived in an unmarked Fedex box.



    Not even shipping labels?

    Someone just "dropped it off" on his doorstep?
  • chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,517member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    It was small claims court. He probably represented himself.



    So what were his legal fees? You can recover courts costs and such.

    He likely did represent himself as lawyers are almost never allowed to represent you in small claims.
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