Reviews, Technology

How to Spot a Fake iPhone 4S (revised)

I’d like to give you a few tips, if you are looking to buy an iPhone 4 or 4S abroad. Maybe you want to buy it through a friend or website selling second-hand products? I’ve often seen people pay either the full price (or very close to the retail price) for iPhone knock-offs. Here I will attempt to educate the ignorant and clear up the details.

This post is a re-working of the previous post I did which caused a lot of debate (partly because I supplied a few incorrect details.) I have broken it up into two sections namely Hardware and Software differences. I’ll refrain from showing the fake I was handling, but rather talk about the nuts and bots of it all. Before I go on… there are two definite ways to spot the difference:

  1. Does the iPhone in question plug into iTunes and transfer information seamlessly?
  2. (Provided you are certain you have an original iPhone with you at the time). Compare the response time of both retina displays. This is everything from the loading time of the applications, the response time of the Home Button, and the fluidity of the applications moving when you slide your finger to the left or right of the screen.
    • A simple example I often use is to display a picture (in the photos app) on each phone. Hold the both phones in portrait view (not necessarily at the same time), then briefly rotate each phone to the landscape view (i.e. turn it from a vertical to a horizontal position.) What you are looking for is the time it takes each picture to spin from portrait to landscape. For the most part the phony iPhones take a lot longer due to the software being different, and most likely the design of the three-axis gyro is pretty poor.

NOTE: For the sake of additional confusion, when I refer to the iPhone 4S I am also talking about the iPhone 4. Both phones have a few differences if you look with the naked eye. When it comes to the physical look and feel of both phones (putting the retina display and 8 megapixel camera aside) they are identical. Put it this way… if I were to turn off both the 4 and the 4S and place them down beside each other. There is only one small give-away that tells you which is the 4S and which isn’t. If you know the answer to this fact, please post it in the comments field. I want to continue to stay on the initial topic.

Hardware Differences

Micro-SIM Tray

Surprise surprise. The iPhone doesn’t take an ‘old size’ SIM card. This means you have to trundle off to you mobile (cellular) service provider and get a new and smaller SIM card. Don’t be a self-righteous ninja and cut the SIM card you already have, to fit into the smaller tray. Not many people get it right, and also if you do you are more likely to jam the SIM tray and cost yourself more money. In my experience it takes far less time and frustration getting the correct size SIM card, than dealing with a home-made MacGyver job that won’t last forever.

If the back of the phone (the part that isn’t the screen) unclips and allows you to insert a SIM card, it is definitely a fake. The iPhone 4S has a micro-SIM tray on the right hand side of the device that pops out (Assuming that the phone is facing you head on with the home button – the round one with the square on it – being at the bottom of the screen).

Rear End

This is the part of the iPhone that is directly behind the screen. With certain counterfeit models, the back of the phone will have a small rectangle showing the size (in Gigabytes). You will never see this on an iPhone 4S. All iPhone 4 and 4S models don’t tell you the hard drive size. The only two ways to tell is to look on the back of the box it came it (provided the box isn’t counterfeit aswell), or go to Settings > General > About and this will tell you the capacity of your device.


If you do get an iPhone from a dubious source (i.e. not from an Apple Store, or an authorized reseller) then you need to scrutinize the packaging. If the owner of the phone only hands you the phone, insist on examining the box it came on.

I’ve done this myself out of interest’s sake, and often some telltale signs emerge. The box may say iPhone 4S, and even have the picture of it. When you turn over the (phony) box you will even see someone has had time to print the specifications.

Turn it over again and carefully examine the picture. Often if it’s a hasty job done by a laser-jet printer the image will be slightly pixelated and blurry. Upon looking at the specifications again look at the sharpness of the font. Check the alignment of the information on the rear-end of the box. A few times I’ve seen that the information has been printed out, but whichever tried to fake it, stuck the serial number, model number, IMEI number, etc on skew.

Universal Dock

If you’ve owned any iPod in the past you’ll notice it’s the fat piece that plugs from the bottom of the device into a docking station or into your computer. (The cable that plugs from the bottom of your iDevice into the USB port of a computer is sometimes called a Sync Cable. If you are familiar with the one end of the Sync Cable, then you may be familiar with the port on the iPhone I’m talking about.) Take the iPhone 4S you’re about to buy and make sure it fits into a docking station. If you’re unsure about this, ask a friend for a iPod cable and make sure it plugs into the bottom of the device.

Software Differences

Retina Display (screen)

The term ‘retina’ display you’ve heard a lot of if you’ve been researching or just following Apple products in general. This is a fancy way of saying that the clarity and sharpness of the resolution is ultra high, and mind-blowing. The screen on the fake iPhone 4S is smaller in physical size.

I found that the interface wasn’t very responsive to my finger. I haven’t included a picture of the interface, but I found it took at least 3 seconds before the interface responded to touch. (This was an experience of a poorly thought out replica.) Take time to play with the applications. The apps should launch pretty much 0,25-0,5 seconds after you’ve pressed it. Less technical people would call this instantaneous.


If you can, also test out the camera. Remember the iPhone 4S has both. Test them. Take a picture. View it. Make sure you can zoom in on it about halfway, without the picture being distorted or grainy. If you’re smart you’ll email that picture to yourself and examine the quality.

Keep in mind that this article contains many technical aspects and gestures the seller may not allow you. Whenever I’ve bought something shitty, most of the time it’s because I rushed into it. Check and double check all the details of the phone.


Sometimes people leave apps and other personal information on their phones. This is tiresome if you want to start using it, and Aunt Maggie keeps popping up in your contacts. If you have already discovered the iPhone is authentic, ask the previous owner to wipe the iPhone clean.

There are two easy ways to do this.

  • Plug it into iTunes and click Restore (under the Summary tab).
  • On the iPhone go to:

Settings > General > Reset (located at the very bottom) > Erase All Content and Settings


Do your research. Many mistakes are made when the consumer fails to look into a product enough. This is most essential when it comes to technology. You don’t want to be stuck with a toaster that’s talking to you in an Middle Eastern dialect, it’s about time you use Dear Google or RTFM.


Technology, Thoughts

Pulling the plug on ignorance

How do you explain the internet to someone? Or even something as simple as email? It’s been so engrained in our culture and our lives, to actually step back and look at the milestones is a sobering effect.

A few weeks back I was dealing with a lady of 77 years of age, let’s call her Margret. Her family was intent on getting her an iPad. The reason being she lives in a small old age home and needs to contact her family via Skype. Obviously a few people in the family are tech-savvy, and managed to gather together enough money to buy her one. I thought it was a great token of kindness, because now not only can she Skype (i.e. call her family abroad) but also she has access to tons of applications and data at her fingertips (on the internet).

So I activated her iPad and showed her how it all worked, and while I was setting up her Apple ID, the first thing that I asked her was, “What is your email address?” She gave me a blank look. I explained that her for an account of any kind we’d need an email address to get her account going. I told her that she would be able to write letters to her family instantly, that’s the best explanation I could give without overwhelming her further.

I felt sorry for her, and the way technology frightened her. It’s really a marvelous thing once you get your head around the basics of the iPad. Due to various circumstances, she was probably given the opportunity to learn (how to operate a computer) but felt too scared and inferior, and shied away from the opportunity. Now her family had dosed her with a bucket of water by thrusting an iPad in her hands.

This leads me to two topics :

  • Why are we so afraid to learn?
  • Technology is the key liberator of our time.
The Fear of Learning

When we start to learn it pushes out right out of our comfort zone into the realm of ignorance. Most of the time if you want to learn…you have to be receptive and be prepared to listen. Many people hate that feeling of vulnerability, and feel insecure (sometimes evening getting angry).

One of the better qualities in a teacher is patience. This is something that has poisoned many of us against certain subjects, since we had one cantankerous and moody teacher and scowled and berated us when asking a dumb question.

Learning is also a process of stumbling.

A wise old woman, who is a homeopath put it to me in this gentle way, “I’d rather die a failure than never having tried.” Progressing in life is simply trying new things. To get better at something (i.e. more skillful), you simply have to try. you may not succeed straight away, but that’s ok. Do a little bit at a time. Once in a while we will stumble and fall. Make mistakes, maybe even injure ourselves…but then like my good friend said at least we won’t be dying a failure.

Once you’ve tried enough times, you explore on impulse.

Learning (as a teacher and pupil is a exciting and intoxicating feeling), once you’ve got the hang of the initial trying, you will goad yourself into finding new avenues. My father (who is a seasoned, and powerful educator) put it to me this way. “Learning is just about being curious.” You don’t have to be reading an entire library of books, or have ten degrees behind your name. Just get excited and your curiosity will teach you to explore and gain a deeper understanding.

Wrestling with the wires

The more I work in IT (either by myself, or by helping others), I’ve come to realize that it’s more than a skill. It’s a language and a tool, if you don’t embrace it immediately, soon it will fall away “like sand through your fingers”. If that didn’t make sense, allow me to use another example.

If you’re having a casual days with a few friends, then suddenly someone asks you “Hey let’s go to that pub I told you about?” The only catch being there are five people (including yourself), yet only two motorbikes to get you there. Now you’re stuck. Well, unless you’ve an wild caveman living in isolation…technology will always be this functional tool we require to alleviate the logistics we encounter.

Getting in a car the first few times, is darn nerve wracking. Once you’ve got the knack of it, you wonder how you managed without it. This is the dilemma I faced a while back with Margret. I had to rewind my thinking only a decade or two, so she could understand the advantages of embrace this digital beast we all face.

I’m glad that she tried, otherwise she would just be a failure, a figure, a statistic even. Perhaps embracing the depths of the unknown, and wrestling with it…will be the greatest challenge us homo sapiens face?

Gaming, Technology, Thoughts

It’s time to slay Orcs…

Ages ago when I was a nerdy, unemployed, pimple riddled, gamer I was into RPGs (role playing games) for a while. I should emphasize “unemployed” since they’re tons of fun but major time wasters. Anyway after my few years of LANs and rig binge I decided to give it a rest. I grew some balls and found a few decent paying jobs. Once again I started to climb the hill of respectability.

Since my involvement with Apple and my iPhone 3GS (whom I love dearly), my insatiable lust for a good game to bury my mind in, was reborn. Up until now I’ve just been playing cheap and easy little shoot-em-up games things like Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, World of Goo, Kungu Fu Warroir, Continuity 2 and NinJump Deluxe. Some of these are puzzle-based games while others are still tons of fun. Although I wanted something more.

So I went about researching a decent iPhone RPG for me to get my hands into, and I came across the Inotia series. Since I jailbroke (hacking your phone to enable you to get games and apps for free) my phone, sometimes I’ll download a game that doesn’t quite install properly. This was the case when I loaded Inotia 2.

However once I fired up Inotia 3: Children of Carnia…wow, what an awesome game. What also impressed me (apart from the depth in the storyline and the fluidity of the characters) is how beautifully it is illustrated. It’s like diving straight into a piece of Manga (japanese style graphic novel).

For those who may be interested, have a look at the screenshots I’ve included in my post 😀



Reviews, Technology

Apple Loses Control of It’s Core

Recently I bumped into a client who said to me “Don’t you hate what the AppStore (i.e. the iTunes Store) is doing to customers?” What he meant was that recently both the release of Final Cut Pro X and the new Lion OSX (10.7), were only possible if you surrendered to the App Store and first bought it there.

I understand what the AppStore has done for developers, in the sense it’s opened a pandora’s box of opportunity to provide customer with Exactly the software they require. You need to look no further than the fluidity the iPad has to offer. I saw online the other day someone has developed an app and a ‘periscope’ sort of stand, which turns the iPad into a TelePrompTer for news-readers.

Apple (for me, and most likely others share this same view) is about user-centric software and access. The whole idea behind the ‘i’ naming convention (e.g. iPad, iPod, iPhone, iMac, etc) is a symbol and promise of user empowerment. The one single letter that is used to start sentences, write love songs, and dismiss theories; the same character stands at the front of these big names in technology.

You just need to look at the ease of the user interface, the integrated search at your fingertips (Spotlight), and so forth to see the previously Apple is about the user more than I is about the software. Then the AppStore comes along, and starts dictating that they be the only portal for purchasing software.

The AppStore is very efficient and reliable, I have no complaints with the workings of it, although if they start dictating that every user needs to download a 3-4GB file for the new OS, I start to get a little nervous. Firstly people in countries with low bandwidth will suffer, and secondly the AppStore has become a sort of policeman for those entrepreneurs.

Well, that’s my impression thus far. Will Apple continue to strict us, as is gains more and more loyal supporters?




How To Spot A Fake iPhone 4

Hey Bloggers

I work selling Apple products for a living. It’s a great job and I’d like to give you a few tips, if you are looking to buy an iPhone abroad. The iPhone in question (shown below) I could immediately tell the customer that it was not an original by simply examining the screen, and seeing it was a smaller size than I was used to handling.

Some basic differences:

  • If the back of the phone unclips and allows you to insert a SIM card, it is definitely a fake. The iPhone 4 (i.e. the original) has a tray at the top of the device that pops out and allows you to insert the SIM card.


  • On a fake, the back of the phone will have a small rectangle showing the size (in gigabytes). You will never see this on an original iPhone 4. (The original iPhone 4 is on the right hand side.)

  • The screen on the fake iPhone 4 is smaller.
  • I found that the interface wasn’t very responsive to my finger. I haven’t included a picture of the interface here, but I found it took at least 3 seconds before the interface responded to touch.
  • The Absolute Acid Test would be to plug the device into a computer with iTunes if you are unsure of the physical features. If it is not an original iTunes (whether on a PC or MAC) will not recognize the unit at all.


Trust this information helps 🙂




Five Things You Should Know About Upgrading From XP To Windows 7

Here’s something I found while trawling the web again. This article is a bit old, but it’s still helpful to those peeps wrestling with windows 7, which is becoming more and more popular. 😀