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Purported Original iPhone Prototype Sells on eBay for $1499

An alleged prototype version of Apple's original iPhone has sold on eBay for $1499, with the device appearing to be in excellent condition and containing signal strength measurements etched on the rear casing. The device is also shown running Apple's internal diagnostic software.
I am selling a very rare original iPhone engineering prototype. These were used to test the iPhone's various features. To do so, a special test software was installed, which is still running on the device perfectly.

This is device is especially rare, as it shows the initial iOS version installed and the signal strength values etched on the back. This was done by Apple internally and is guaranteed genuine.
iphone_prototype_signal
The authenticity of the device has not been confirmed, and similar signal strength etchings do not appear to have been seen on other prototypes, but the device does lack the standard regulatory text on the rear casing that would be present on a non-prototype unit. A reddit user claims to be the buyer of the device, but it has not yet been delivered to allow for further testing of its authenticity.

iphone_prototype_operator
It is not unusual for prototype Apple devices to appear on eBay, and many of these auctions are quickly removed, presumably at Apple's request. This auction was able to be completed, perhaps due to having been posted for only two days and having ended through a "Buy It Now" purchase well ahead of the scheduled ending time.

Top Rated Comments

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9 months ago
Oddly enough, today's iOS 7 seems to take styling cues from that demo software.
Rating: 7 Votes
9 months ago
So amazing to see how something like this has changed phones and computing.
Rating: 6 Votes
9 months ago
in space grey too!! cool!
Rating: 5 Votes
9 months ago
Maybe the guy should have painted it red.
Rating: 4 Votes
9 months ago
Yey; running OSX!
Rating: 3 Votes
9 months ago

Specifically BSD (Berkeley)... Whereas IIRC most Linux distros (aside from BSD, obviously) are derived from the AT&T branch of the family tree...


BSD is not a Linux distro.
Rating: 2 Votes
9 months ago
Is it just me, or does it look nicer than the actual original one?

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Because, you know, Darwin is not based on Linux or anything like that :roll eyes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_(operating_system) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_(operating_system))


It's not. It's based ultimately on UNIX. Linux is based on UNIX, but that does not mean that iOS is based on Linux.
Rating: 2 Votes
9 months ago


Yeah. The person who has the phone and can prove so probably by bill of sale or what not is the legal owner. Nothing too complex about that. Just a phone.


If its confirmed to be an original, this thing is gonna be sold for $500.000 in 30 years, and some seller from ebay who got $1500 in 2013 will put himself out of his misery.


Since it was an item never intended for sale, it is considered stolen property and Apple still is the rightful owner of it.

Apple has the legal right to swoop in if they want and reclaim it at any time... and occasionally have in the past on such items.
Rating: 2 Votes
9 months ago
It doesn't belong in a private home.
Rating: 2 Votes
9 months ago

The iPhone started with 2 births. One was the iPod team that began by building up the iPod-OS. The other was another group that was tearing down the Mac-OS.


Although UI experiments were done on iPods during mid 2005, it became pretty apparent that they needed a more complete OS to work with.

Naturally, MacOS executive Scott Forestall wanted to port OS X.

iPod executive Tony Fadell was in favor of using Linux. Probably to keep the project away from his rival, Forestall :)

The OS X team ended up winning out.


True, although insiders say it was never really a serious contest, since Jobs favored using in-house software.

Oddly enough, today's iOS 7 seems to take styling cues from that demo software.


If you mean 2D simplicity. To me, the test software looked a bit like Star Trek LCARS buttons.

Below are shots from an iPhone prototype with test UI from Nov 2006:

Attachment 453884Attachment 453885
Attachment 453882
Rating: 2 Votes

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