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Counterfeit iPhone 3G stops by MacMedics by way of disputed eBay auction

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Update 9/24/13: This post from 2009 lives on! Thanks to PC World for also linking to this post in their article titled The unreal deal: How to ID phony phones, counterfeit CPUs, and other tech traps by Christopher Null

Update 2/24/12: Thanks to the New York Times for linking to one of our most popular stories and videos we’ve ever had from their article titled An iPhone That’s Cheaper, but Fake.

Update 12/27/09: Be sure to see our new post with new pictures from next generation “fake” iPhone.

See large size photo here.

As you can see the case back is not fingerprint resistant.

See large size photo here.

The box looks pretty real, but it’s much taller then a real iPhone 3G box.

See large size photo here.

The crew here at MacMedics HQ in our Millersville, MD office often gets to see all kinds of crazy and interesting Macintosh, iPod, and iPhone carnage and unusual service/repair situations. We were all caught off guard on Friday when a new client called to ask if he could bring in a “counterfeit” iPhone 3G for us to examine. We told him to bring it on it anytime. We were not really sure what to expect.

Well, Friday was growing long, and we had visions of the evening’s Orioles vs. National game in Baltimore. Late in the afternoon our fake iPhoner showed up with the device he had bought off of eBay. Turns out, he’s going to try and get his money back and in order to do so PayPal requires that a local expert look at the situation, write a letter, and document the situation. Well, we’re not really experts on counterfeit iPhones, but all that was required was to point out as many differences as we could find, and to explain why we believe it’s not the real McCoy. As sort of a joke we went ahead and filmed the following YouTube video.

Update 7/1/09 – Thanks to Gus Sentementes of the Baltimore Sun’s BaltTech Blog for his post about our fake iPhone adventure! Also, thanks to www.macsurfer.com, www.macrumors.com, www.wired.com, www.boingboing.net, and www.cultofmac.com for the link to this post.

After I shot the below video, I did test some of the other features on the unit. While the icons look very much like the real iPhone 3G, the features were not easy to navigate to. As you can in the video I tried to go back to the “Video” part of the iPod function, and I could not get that navigation link to work in the video. The unit also has a pretty decent FM radio in it. I was fooling around with the different functions and tried the FM radio, and it requested that I plug in headphones. It wanted the headphones in so they could act as the radio’s antenna. The unit was smart enough to know the headphones were not plugged in and it also noticed when I did plug them in to test the radio. I tuned in our local NPR station (so not super high power) WYPR 88.1 FM and it came in great.


The video we took (via a real iPhone 3G S) is available below. So far it’s been viewed over 700,000 times!

What’s MacMedics? MacMedics is an Apple Authorized Value Added Reseller and an Apple Authorized Service Provider founded in the Annapolis, Maryland area in 1989. As Apple Certified members of the Apple Consultants Network, our employees provide our award-winning and progressive style of on-site and in-lab Mac service and consulting to most of the Mid-Atlantic region via our three locations in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. MacMedics provides Apple service and consulting for ALL Macs, Macintosh servers, and networks in professional, government, educational, and home environments. In 2011 MacMedics purchased Apple Specialist and Service Provider macUpgrades of Bethesda, Maryland.

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