Are replacement 3GSs refurbs?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by sananda, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. sananda macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #1
    My iPhone 3GS keeps turning itself off despite restoration. I have to take it to the Apple Store in Regent Street, London.

    Does anyone know if the replacement (should that be necessary) will be a refurb? Do they yet have 3GS refurbs?

    And are refurbs likely to have scratches or a battery that has been through many cycles?

    Thanks
     
  2. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #2
    AFAIK only phones that have a serial number beginning with '5K' are refurbished. Those beginning with a factory number starting with 8 are straight off the manufacturing line.

    A white box replacement does not imply refurb. The white boxes are just phones, either new or refurb, that are specifically set aside for warranty replacement so that stock levels of new phones for sale do not affect Apple's ability to take care of its current customers. Whether a given Apple Store's stock of white box replacements happen to be new or refurb is pretty much luck of the draw as far as I have been able to tell. I had to have my 3G replaced 6 months (in December) after I bought it on "opening day" and the store I visited gave me a non-5K unit, and not even because I asked.

    I have yet to hear of anyone getting a 3GS replacement that is a refurb. It's probably too soon for us to be seeing refurbs out there, especially given that stock levels are still tight for those looking to purchase. It seems to me that it took a few months after the intro of the 3G for 5K serial numbers to start showing up on service/white box handsets.

    Honestly, though, I'm sure you would be happy with either. Apple refurbished products are given all new externals, so there should be no visible scratches or dirt or funny smells or anything like that. ;) For all intents and purposes, it is brand new, or at least appears so. And, frankly, between all of the handsets that I have had, I prefer my refurbished 3G one the most. All my retail phones have had problems or imperfections of one sort or another, but this refurbished one has been great. I suspect that the ones that get refurbished have more personal attention applied to them during the refurbishment process than any of the phones ever did going through the overseas manufacturing plants.

    I would readily accept another refurbished phone again in a heartbeat.

    -- Nathan
     
  3. sananda thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
  4. SpaceKitty macrumors 68040

    SpaceKitty

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Fort Collins Colorado
    #4
    Starting with the 3G, Apple stated that refurbs could begin with any serial number and 5K serial numbers could be new or used as well.

    Do some searching and you will see other posts stating this as well from last year. I believe they started doing this so that people would have no idea if the replacement was new or used.
     
  5. NathanA macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 9, 2008
    #5
    That doesn't make any sense. Then why even bother using the 5K prefix on serial numbers at all then? They could have accomplished effectively the same thing by having refurbs keep their original serial number.

    Here's a question: what do the serial numbers look like of those people who have purchased refurbished 3G phones from AT&T?

    -- Nathan
     
  6. SpaceKitty macrumors 68040

    SpaceKitty

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    Nov 9, 2008
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    Fort Collins Colorado
    #6
    I got that straight from Nathan C on the Apple discussion boards. He's one of the guys representing Apple there.
     
  7. SpaceKitty macrumors 68040

    SpaceKitty

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    #7
  8. NathanA macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 9, 2008
    #8
    Interesting. But it still doesn't answer my question of what the 5K serial numbers mean and why they were kept around. One thing that I think can be said with 99.9% confidence is that you will never find a retail boxed iPhone that ever has a serial number starting with 5K; all 5K phones are service phones, but not all service phones are 5K phones. For this reason I think we can be sure that "5K" wasn't simply reassigned to be the designator of yet another iPhone factory in China.

    -- Nathan
     
  9. The Californian macrumors 68040

    The Californian

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Surfers Paradise
    #9
    There's a huge difference between refurbished and reserialized. AT&T refurbishes iPhones by doing a cosmetic check, and running through the OS for a minute or so to make sure everything is okay. AT&T refurbs may come with some minor cosmetic damage.

    Apple reserializes iPhones. They completely disassemble all returned iPhones, do a thorough evaluation of all components ( internally and externally ). The iPhones are then reassembled using new components for any part ( internal or external ) that isn't in like new condition. The iPhone is then assigned a new serial number, usually beginning in 5K. At the same time, there are some iPhones which are designated as replacement iPhones from day one. They are built as new, and assigned a 5K serial number from day one, but then packaged in a white box for replacement. The reason Apple reserializes iPhones is because it is a new iPhone, it is no longer the iPhone that it started as because it has several new components.

    The reason this changed with the 3G is because that is when AT&T started selling refurbished iPhones, and Apple has never sold refurbished iPhones. If you buy an iPhone from Apple it will be brand new, the only time you get a reserialized iPhone from Apple is through a replacement.

    I hope this helps and makes sense.
     
  10. PhightinPhils26 macrumors 6502a

    PhightinPhils26

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #10
    I had my 3GS swapped out at an Apple Store and the "Genius" told me that he phone was brand new it just came in different packaging. He went on to say that the 3GS refurbs don't exist yet. I don't have a 5K serial.
     
  11. Macman756 macrumors 6502a

    Macman756

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    Sep 24, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #11
    Does that work with the 2G first gen iPhone? Or are all those refurbs since their noot sold?
     
  12. sananda thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #12
    I was told the same thing when I was given a replacement 3GS today. I also don't have a 5K serial.
     
  13. Leafs macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    #13
    I went into apple stating there was dust under my brand new iphones screen after 2 days and she was like oh no problem let me exchange it. She went into the back and grabbed one. Anyways I'm pretty sure it came out of a black box (nonretail) but if it didnt she definitely put my old phone into that box. I then asked if the one she was giving me was new and she said yes all 3gs's right now are new. But now after reading these forums I am scared cause I have a 5K serial number...
     

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