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Apple called: They want their prototype 3G MacBook Pro back


Astute TUAW readers may remember a story from two weeks ago about a prototype 2007 MacBook Pro with a 3G antenna built into the side of the LCD screen as well as a SIM slot. The device was being sold on eBay and had received bids in the neighborhood of US$70,000 before Apple requested that the sale be stopped. Now Apple wants the prototype back from its current owner.

CNet contacted the seller, Carl Frega of North Carolina, who had purchased the unique machine from someone on Craigslist. The machine wasn't working, so Frega sold it again on Craigslist. This owner brought the machine to an Apple Store Genius Bar. When the machine was opened up, Apple refused to repair it as they noted that almost every part inside the device was "third party" -- the main logic board, optical drive, display, hard drive, and top case were all non-standard.

The second buyer was miffed that Apple refused service and, thinking that the machine was a fake, took Frega to small claims court. Frega was forced to return the buyer's money and got the one-of-a-kind MacBook Pro back, after which he tried to sell the device on eBay to see if he could recoup his losses.

Apple has now contacted Frega to recover the MacBook Pro, and the fate of the machine rests in the hands of the powers-that-be in Cupertino. It's too bad that this one can't be photographed for the Shrine of Apple.

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