Possibly a prototype/fake MacBook Air? Update! It has a Core i3!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by hackerwayne, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. hackerwayne, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    hackerwayne

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #1
    Umm.. Today i received a MacBook Air from a customer, he said the MBA can't power on and wanted to sell it as parts. So i bought the laptop from him. I tried to plug the MagSafe in and attempted to boot it, it shows no sign of life. MagSafe shows orange. Upon inspection, i see nothing odd about this MacBook, thinking that its a 2010 model since it doesn't have the backlit button. But then once i opened up the bottom case, i was shocked to find the board wasn't a C2D board, it has a thunderbolt controller on it and the SSD is 256GB, the battery is damaged/bloated. When i dig deeper, i found that the back panel has no serial number, and EMC number is left blank. Im in the process of replacing the battery. Ill update with pictures later. The logic board is black in color.

    UPDATE!!!!!

    I MANAGE TO START THE MACBOOK AIR WITH A REPLACEMENT BATTERY AND AFTER A SMC UPDATE & SMC RESET!
    However, the original SSD seems to be dead. EFI showing can't find boot drive, and i can't boot ML installer, don't know why. It just showed a prohibited sign, and so i replaced it with another SSD(that has ML already on it) I WAS NOT ABLE TO BOOT IT DIRECTLY, it shows a prohibited sign, so i had to remove PlatformSupport.plist (like my hack guide) to get it to boot. Apparently, the board ID wasn't on the platformsupport.plist.

    Booted it up. and wtf?! It has a i3 1.5GHz, never seen it on a Air before, and has NO SERIAL NUMBER. See pictures.

    The Backlit keyboard looks crappy comparing to a standard 2011 MacBook Air. Again, see the pictures.

    About This Mac.
    [​IMG]

    Screenshot [​IMG]

    Backlit keyboard compared to standard 2011 MacBook Air.
    Standard one on the left, unknown one on the right.
    [​IMG]

    Different angle showing the backlit keyboard. I have NO way of adjusting the backlit, it doesn't have the backlit keys. I turned off the lights to take this picture.

    Close up on the keyboard, looks similar to the one on the 2010 MacBook Air, except this has backlit.
    [​IMG]

    Apparently it shows its a Core i3 1.5GHz. I don't think that processor was ever used on a standard 13" MacBook Air. Only i5 or i7.

    UPDATE! March 14 2013.

    I took the board out for inspection, at first glance it look similar to a 2011 i5 MacBook Air, but then at close examinations, some of the connectors are not exactly the same. Keyboard flex connector is larger then a normal i5 one.

    No serial number on the inside too.
    [​IMG]

    Motherboard pictures. (I haven't put back all the screws yet)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    hackerwayne

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #3
    It runs OSX natively, has EFI. But hard to say.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    sundragon

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #4
    There's something wrong with this.

    Your F4 Key is not standard on the 2011-2012 MBA (I'm typing on it).
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    hackerwayne

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #5
    It doesn't have the backlit control keys too. I can't control the backlit. It also has a "Eject" key.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    jmoore5196

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Location:
    London
    #6
    Given your location, I'd say its more likely to be a Chinese knockoff than a prototype. The quality issues you see do not "ring true" for a genuine Apple product ... especially one as critical to Apple's laptop line than the 2010-generation MBA.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #7
    When you had the machine open, what color was the logic board? Was it green or red?
     
  8. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #8
    To pour some water on it - it's identifying itself as a 4,2 which is a mid 2011 MacBook Air. By that time, the keyboard would have had brightness controls.

    Also, it has a 1.5GHz i3 with Intel HD 3000 graphics, this can be one of two chips:

    - i3-2375M (launched Q1 '13)
    - i3-2377M (launched Q2 '12)

    Which would make it impossible/impractical to be a prototype. If you have a closeup photo of the MLB we can check it.
     
  9. iMacC2D, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    iMacC2D

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #9
    Has the Serial Number been blanked out from the screenshots, or does it actually not have a serial number? If it does have one, I may be able to check whether it validates as a recognised serial and if it has any listed specs or details at the time of manufacture. (I'm an Apple Repairer by trade, but not working for Apple.)

    EDIT: Oh, right. No serial number. I'm taking a quick glance at this over lunch so I missed that part.

    If you managed to install Mac OS X with no other modification than to remove or tweak PlatformSupport.plist, I'd be inclined to think it's a genuine Apple board at this stage.

    A photo of the board may also be useful in identification. A screenshot of the "Memory" section of System Profiler may also be useful in checking whether the on-board RAM identifies as Apple supplied memory.

    If I can be of assistance just let me know.
     
  10. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #10
    Backlit keyb except u can't see see what key is what. :D
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #11
    Was the i3 available as an "upgrade" when they had the dual core?

    I don't know enough to say they weren't but it might have been an upgrade at the time.

    But it is odd that yours doesn't show a serial number is very suspicious.
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    shenan1982

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
  13. macrumors regular

    raniel

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Location:
    Ph
  14. macrumors 6502

    iMacC2D

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #14
    Then it's a very good fake. If what the OP has stated is correct, it booted into Mac OS X once the board identifier check was stripped out (OS X Mountain Lion won't boot on a board it won't recognise, such as an EVT/DVT board or earlier Intel - this is a common solution), with full driver support for WiFi, Bluetooth, the Intel HD 3000 graphics accelerator... all visible and detected as present and functional in the screenshot.

    Not suggesting it isn't a fake unit, but I would like to see more before drawing a conclusion. At the moment, it's impossible to be sure either way. Perhaps it's an unusual hybrid of Apple and non-Apple components. Who knows.

    It's rare for pre-production units to turn up outside of the US, but it's by no means impossible. The curious side of me is intrigued.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    hackerwayne

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #15
    Heres the memory section of System Profiler
    [​IMG]

    ----------

    Title changed. Im in the process of contacting the previous owner asking him where this this thing come from.

    ----------

    Board is black. Ill take some pics now
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #16
    If the board is black (or very dark grey/green) - then it isn't a prototype. Apple's prototype boards are red.

    Also, that RAM is identified as being made by Samsung. I believe (may be wrong since I'm going by experience here), I've never seen Apple use any soldered-on ram that wasn't Hynix.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    hackerwayne

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #17
    Update. Ive taken the motherboard out to inspect. It looks fairly similar comparing to 2011 i5 model, except a few connectors are not the same
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #18
    Very interesting that the board is black (or maybe a very dark green?). Typically prototypes have red logic boards from Apple. However, maybe this is a very very late prototype that Apple actually cut at the last minute?
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    hackerwayne

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #19
    See pictures. I posted the board pics

    ----------

    See board pic
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Location:
    Australia
    #21
    When you're done inspecting, list it on eBay as a rare prototype! Starting bid $5,000!
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    hackerwayne

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #22
    Forgot to mention it has USB 3 but its MagSafe 1

    ----------

    It has USB 3.0. 2011 MBA doesn't have that
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #23
    I had a feeling it was going to be USB 3.0. Although the logic board isn't red, I am still thinking this is a prototype in a 2010 shell. Very interesting. Have you heard anything back from the seller regarding where they acquired this machine?
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    hackerwayne

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #24
    At first when i tried to contact him, I asked him where did he get this unit, was it a fake or what. he picked up and said he don't know much history about this unit, he got it from a friend for cheap, then he said he got another Air so wasn't interested in fixing this unit. Now when i tried to contact him, he's unreachable. Quite suspicious.
     
  25. macrumors 68040

    thadoggfather

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #25
    Wouldn't it be a tremendous amount of effort and talent to make a 'fake MBA'?

    'fake iPhones' are very easily distinguishable from the real deal.

    Still, maybe just maybe he stopped replying because aren't there legal implications involved with selling a prototype?

    Like I dunno, the whole iPhone 4 at the bar sold to a jouranlist-type fiasco?

    Even though this is well beyond the announcement of the 2010 MBA re-design and didn't become the end all leak.
     

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