Actually, it turns out the man who sold it to me worked for nVidia (I finally contacted him a few days ago). I'm assuming it was an engineering sample given to nVidia while they were working on moving to the GeForce 8600GT GPU. He says it was given to him as a gift for his own use, and he was under no sort of NDA or restrictions as to how he could use it. He was fully aware of the cellphone functionality and such and didn't think it was a big deal. Granted, who knows what's true and what isn't, but he seemed geniunely surprised by the way Apple had treated the matter.
And yes, I'm Carl Frega.
So yeah, the sequence actually was:
1. I bought it as a nonworking machine for parts. I run an ad on Craigslist saying I buy broken Apple hardware, and he responded to that ad saying he had a non-functional Macbook Pro.
Upon meeting him I noticed the SIM slot, and he explained to me that it was a version that wasn't released. I thought it was REALLY COOL. He had bought a replacement logic board off eBay, installed it, and it still didn't work. So he sold it to me. To give you an idea of how long I've been dealing with this whole thing, that was in JUNE.
2. I set about repairing it. That's what I do, after all. It turned out that the new logic board he had bought was defective as well (whether from the start or due to his installation, who knows). But he gave me the original red board in a bag with it. Of course I really wanted to make that red board work . . . . that was the neat part! I spent a huge amount of time and labor repairing it, since I couldn't wait to see what it would look like in the OS and whether the cellphone part worked. I had to desolder and resolder vias, clean everything, fix broken connectors he had damaged trying to fix it himself, and reflow the BGA soldering on the GPU (what killed it in the first place, and a common point of failure for these Macbook Pros. In the end I did get it all working again, and it functioned exactly like any other Macbook Pro . . . . no different. I posted on some forums about it, nobody really cared, I thought it was neat only to tech geeks like me.
3. I sold the machine on Craigslist, thinking it had no real special value. Again, this is kind of what I do . . . . buy, repair, resell. I advertised it as an Apple Macbook Pro and listed the exact hardware specifications. At this point the machine was WORKING: fully tested, fully functional, and with the same capabilities and specifications as any normal 2007 Macbook Pro.
4. The guy I sold it to took it to the Apple Store (Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh NC). Why, I don't know, but he did. I'm assuming he had some sort of software issue, because the hardware all functioned perfectly after I got it back later. And they told him it was some sort of Chinese counterfeit/etc and denied him service.
5. He sues me in small claims court. I couldn't believe it. It was obvious to anybody familiar with these machines it was nothing of the sort. It had proper Apple markings throughout, ran OS X natively and identified itself in the OS as a proper Macbook Pro. If it were a counterfeit it was obviously the best one ever.
6. I lost the case. I was dumbfounded. I lost solely due to that Apple Store receipt where "certified" Apple Geniuses quite literally said I was a liar. The judge obviously wasn't the technical type.
7. After paying the judgment and court costs (at this point I'm starting to be out serious money, time, and labor and really frustrated) I get the laptop back. I say what the heck, AGAIN fully disassemble the machine and take pictures of everything, spend a day writing a detailed listing, and post it on eBay. I just hoped to make back what I lost, and since the machine still worked flawlessly and was definitely neat I figured that might just happen. Maybe someone would want to own a unique Macbook Pro. I NEVER expected how crazy it would get.
8. After the bidding hit $70k (let me tell you, at this point I was basically glued to my comp hitting refresh with my jaw dropped) it was removed by Apple. I was not given a reason as to why. I then spent TWO WEEKS trying to get in touch with Apple or eBay . . . . neither would answer, they ignored me completely.
9. CNET wrote their article about it and asked Apple PR for comment. Then suddenly they cared. Not 30 minutes later I got a call from Apple.
Well, that's enough typing for now, but wanted to kind of set that part of the story straight. Maybe I'll tell more later, heh.
Originally Posted by MyopicPaideia
I think you guys missed something in the story here, unless I am way off the mark...
1. Former Apple engineer sells Frega the protoype on Craigslist
2. Frega then resells it to unnamed party who takes it in to Apple Store for repairs
3. Unnamed party is refused repair service by Apple Store due to non-standard hardware
4. Unnamed party takes Frega to small claims to get his money back due to false representation - assuming that it is a counterfeit machine
5. Frega loses small claims but decides to repair the laptop himself and then puts it on eBay to recoup his losses
6. Bids go through the roof and tech sites all over the Web pick up the story
7. Apple gets wind of this, and shuts down the auction as bids soar to over $70,000 and reappropriate the laptop as company property.
8. Frega wants the parts he installed to repair the laptop returned to him by Apple, which he eventually does.
9. Frega wants to sue the former Apple engineer for the money he spent on legal fees and repairs of the "misappropriated" prototype 3G Macbook Pro
You all seem to be ignoring a layer of events here, unless, as said, I am missing something. It seems Frega didn't try to make huge money off of it initially, probably didn't see the potential in it. He sold it first on Craigslist to someone, who also didn't see the potential in it, and just thought they were getting an Apple laptop that could be repaired to standard operating order. Not even the Apple store employees saw it for what it was, apparently.
It appears that even when Frega subsequently lost small claims court and then repaired it himself and put it out on eBay he wasn't expecting it to get bids in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. But that kind of bidding got the attention of the tech Sites, and subsequently Apple itself.
The fact that Apple stopped the auction and demanded the machine be returned to them is proof enough for anyone that it was a genuine piece of Apple hardware.
Am I wrong?