iPhones are known for their excellent build quality. Apple takes meticulous care to ensure that only devices of the best quality leave the factory. It is all the more special when control fails.
Apple is actually characterized by thorough quality control. But even here, production errors sometimes happen that nobody notices. However, these exceptions are so rare that a faulty device is considered unique – and can potentially bring in a lot of money.
iPhone 11 Pro Max delivered with a manufacturing defect
The production of the iPhone is to a large extent automated. Nevertheless, errors can occasionally occur in machine production. Typically, Apple quality control detects non-compliant units prior to delivery.
Such a mistake can happen when engraving the Apple logo on the back of the iPhone. The information about the iPhone with this manufacturing error comes from “Internal Archive”, which specializes in locating Apple prototypes. In a post on Twitter you can see pictures of the iPhone with the offset Apple logo:
Usually the logo should be centered on the yellow line. The red lines also indicate that the apple is twisted slightly counter-clockwise.
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How much is a manufacturing defect iPhone worth?
The original buyer of the iPhone bought the iPhone 11 Pro Max with 256 GB of storage in a Japanese Apple store in 2019. It was only when he opened the pack that he noticed that the logo on the back was not in the right position. He had the Apple Store confirmed that the iPhone was fully functional except for the visual error. To confirm the authenticity of the device, he posted a video on Twitter.
At the end of March, the owner then advertised the iPhone on the Japanese auction site “Buyee” for 295,000 yen (approx. 2370 euros). That is about twice as much as an iPhone 11 Pro Max with 256 GB cost to launch in Japan (approx. 1200 euros). The auction ended on April 4th, but without a bid. The owner has now replied to the Internal Archive Twitter post and confirmed that the iPhone was not sold and that he still has it .
Production errors with iPhones are extremely rare
What makes this iPhone 11 Pro so rare is the fact that it was actually shipped to a customer. Internal Archive estimates the probability of a misplaced logo to be 1 in 100 million. To put it into perspective: According to Forbes, Apple sold 200 million iPhones in 2020 . Only a fraction of that goes to the iPhone 11 Pro.
It is unclear what caused this manufacturing error. One possible explanation is that the glass panel was not positioned correctly when the logo was engraved. Normally, devices with production defects are destroyed so that they do not get into circulation.
How rarely production errors occur at Apple is shown by the fact that we are hardly aware of any comparable cases. The Apple-specialized site “9to5Mac”, for example, only knows one other case from 2015 in which a silver iPad with a gold accent ring around the home button was sold.