Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

Summary: North Carolina resident Carl Frega is soon to be its former owner of a rare 3G MacBook prototype that he was selling for $70,000+ on eBay.

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Remember that cool-looking 3G MacBook Pro prototype that showed up on eBay in early August? CNET News’ Josh Lowensohn reports that North Carolina resident Carl Frega is soon to be its former owner.

Frega originally purchased the machine from someone on Craigslist for parts for his repair business. After opening it Frega noticed that (in addition to the integrated antenna) also had a red logic board. Apple's production boards are typically either blue or green, so this sent up an immediate "red flag."

It's essentially a 2007 MacBook Pro with a retractable antenna around the monitor bezel, a SIM card slot, and matching 3G hardware.

Frega had a friend post the ultra-rare Mac on eBay where it was bid up to $70,000 in a little less than a day before being removed at the request of Apple who cited copyright and intellectual property infringement.

There's that, and the fact that the prototype is practically identical to an Apple patent filed in 2008.

Lowensohn reports that Frega said he was contacted by Apple this afternoon "to have someone from the company pick it up."

Bummer.

Check out this ZDNet photo gallery of the ultra-rare 3G MacBook Pro.

Images: eBay seller abhw752579

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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17 comments
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  • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

    Hope they are paying him well but being Apple I couldn't imagine it.
    TKR1
    • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

      @TKR1 I hope they are as well but if it was stolen Apple property why should they? Of course I am sure the only reason for posting had little or nothing to do with what might be fair to him and all about taking any opportunity to knock Apple.
      non-biased
  • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

    I know, at least throw the guy a top of the line MBP!
    slickjim
    • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

      @Peter Perry
      Or something good like a new samsung laptop, Galaxy tab 10.1 and free wi fi for life which would be about half the price of a new mac book pro and much more useful.
      Fletchguy
    • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

      @Peter Perry Agreed! Apple should give the guy some sort of compensation.
      athynz
  • Heavy Handed Apple once again

    Its funny how crazy they get with stuff like this. More like a Chinese company than an American company!
    OhTheHumanity
    • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

      @OhTheHumanity Care to explain how? You actually think they react any differently that any other company would if a prototype of theirs hit Ebay?
      non-biased
  • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

    I don't really understand what grounds they have for taking it back. He bought it fair and square from Craigslist and then decided to sell it on eBay. I've sold 2 MacBook Pros and one PowerBook G4 on eBay. Guess I should watch out. I'm liable to be black-bagged at any moment!

    I love Apple products and use them daily at work, but this is ridiculous. They should at least compensate him for finding their "lost" prototype.

    And how does Apple keep losing prototypes anyway? First, that whole iPhone 4 thing at the bar and now this?
    heymatthew
    • Maybe not ...

      @heymatthew ... who's to say that the person from whom he bought it obtained it legally? Or had any right to sell it?

      If it's essentially "stolen property", the guy could be lucky he's not being charged with trafficking stolen property.

      If it was a machine that Apple provided to a business for testing, it might still belong to Apple, legally.

      Unless we learn how it came to be posted on Craigslist, it's hard to say who's in the right.

      Of course, given that it's 5 years old, it's not like Apple stands to gain a lot by getting it back out of circulation. Laptops with built-in 3G? Wow ... what a concept! (for 2006!)
      jscott69
      • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

        @jscott69
        To be stolen property apple had to report it when it went missing and file a report. then to reclaim it they have to show that they filed it as stolen prior to this guy buying it and it being listed on ebay.If not apple has to buy it at this guys price or they have no right to get it back.
        Fletchguy
      • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

        @jscott69 Who's to say the guy that bought it knew it was stolen? Have you ever bought anything second hand? I'm assuming you have. Are you 100% certain that the second-hand item you bought was not stolen?

        I still think Apple owes this guy at least what he paid for it as he most likely bought it not knowing it was a "lost prototype" from Apple.
        heymatthew
      • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

        @Fletchguy Apple doesn't have to have had filed a report before hand for it to be stolen. As mentioned before it could have been sent to another company for testing and Apple did not know that it was missing. Doesn't change the fact that it's their property and he doesn't have a legal right to posses it.

        @heymatthew You don't have to know that what you are buying then reselling is stolen to be charged with trafficking in stolen goods. In most cases if he didn't know, which appears to be the case here, he wouldn't be charged but that doesn't mean that he couldn't.
        non-biased
    • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

      @heymatthew <br>I suspect the person he bought it from may not have had true rights to the prototype and he never truly owned the prototype. Still I hope Apple does the right thing and compensates fairly, only Apple and the seller will know for sure if that is the case.
      geoff.schardein@...
    • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

      @heymatthew Anything you buy "fair and square" isn't fair or square if it wasn't the rightful property of the person selling it. Thus, he would forfeit the item and is due NO compensation. Apple could, at their discretion and IS NOT required, compensate him for his "trouble".
      jokila
  • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

    Prototypes, even 4 year old ones, should never make it out in the wild - too much liability. Detroit autos, Milwaukee iron and pretty much any other mass production manufacturer spend large amounts of money to assure that prototypes never see the light of day. American manufacturers have locked-up prototypes and pilot builds since the 1980's.
    Gr8Music
    • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

      @Gr8Music
      Yes and no. There are many prototypes and one off cars on the market. Makers close or get resold or give designers one off if not used or changed. They don't always keep the proto types around forever. A cool clear acrylic 1948 GM car just was sold in a public auction. the entire body panels were made as a prototype in works with the guy who invented plexi glass was pretty cool.
      Fletchguy
  • RE: Unique 3G MacBook Pro prototype headed back to Apple

    How do we know that Apple didn't pay Frega what he needed out of it. Paying the man would have been cheaper than going to court and hashing it out there, plus no bad publicity. I'll bet the man got the $$ and signed a deal where he couldn't talk about it.
    Mr. Science