Prototype 3G MacBook Pro Actually had a 'MagSafe' Antenna

Over the weekend, there had been a lot of interest in what appeared to be a 3G-capable MacBook Pro with an extendable antenna. The original eBay auction reached as high as $70,000 before being removed from the site. The listing was removed at the request of Apple. The seller, however, joined our forums, and provided additional photos and details about the unit.

Much of the initial commentary was about the look of the antenna, but it was actually felt to be nicely designed by the seller of the notebook. He wrote, "really in person it seems quite well designed, and not out of place with the rest of Apple's look."

IMG 20110814 232635
The seller describes the antenna as "quite tiny" and attributes some of the initial reactions to the bad angle. It is said to protrude about 2" from the display when extended. Most notably, it's actually attached to the MacBook Pro with magnets, and can come off. This is shown in the following photos:

magsafe
IMG 20110814 232738

Apple has used magnets in their power cords for a number of years to help prevent damage from users accidentally tripping over cables. Apple applied this same design theory to the antenna. Apple had actually applied for a patent on this kind of magnetically attached and extendable antenna back in 2008, and recently republished.

antennapat
In the patent application, Apple explained the reasoning behind the external antenna. According to Apple, metal enclosures, such as in the MacBook Pro, have a high conductivity which poses a challenge when designing an internal antenna.

The antenna may exhibit improved transmission and reception efficiencies when the antenna is placed in an extended position away from the conductive housing

They also acknowledge that external antennas that permanently protrude have an unattractive appearance and may be susceptible to damage. Their solution was to offer this retractable antenna design. When not in use, the antenna can be stowed and take on the look of the rest of the case design, and when extended, can break away with magnets to avoid damage to the computer.

Obviously, Apple decided against pursuing the design ultimately, but its very interesting to see an actual prototype of a concept that Apple had also submitted a patent for back in 2008.

Top Rated Comments

foobarbaz Avatar
141 months ago
I was tempted to put a $10,000 bid in myself as I knew for a fact that I would have either been beaten or the auction would be removed before it would concluded

If you don't mind me asking: Why?!
I've never understood those people. Is it supposed to be a joke?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yumunum Avatar
141 months ago
Apple's design team is brilliant... not a fanboy here. They've just made some pretty great and creative designs.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cloudsurfer Avatar
141 months ago
70.000$? Heck, I would've sold it no matter what Apple wanted me to do.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rafterman Avatar
141 months ago
Even if the 70K bid was legit, that's a ridiculous price to pay for a prototype, with a feature that doesn't even work.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
acidfast7 Avatar
141 months ago
Interesting and sad at the same time.

I still can't believe that the MBA doesn't have 4G/LTE built-in like some of its brethren. Hell, I'd even take a crappy Turbo 3G connection. It wouldn't even draw more battery live if it able to be "turned off" at the software level.

I am glad that the iPad received unlocked 3G, but I just don't see why it didn't make it into the MBA

:(
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yumunum Avatar
141 months ago
70.000$? Heck, I would've sold it no matter what Apple wanted me to do.

Wait, can he not just sell it to anyone he wants? Obviously not through Ebay though... I'm probably missing something
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...
apple music

Apple Increases Apple Music Subscription Price for Students in Several Countries

Sunday May 22, 2022 1:57 am PDT by
Apple has silently increased the price of its Apple Music subscription for college students in several countries, with the company emailing students informing them their subscription would be slightly increasing in price moving forward. The price change is not widespread and, based on MacRumors' findings, will impact Apple Music student subscribers in but not limited to Australia, the...
iPhone 13 Face ID

'High-End' iPhone 14 Front-Facing Camera to Cost Apple Three Times More

Monday May 23, 2022 7:05 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 will feature a more expensive "high-end" front-facing camera with autofocus, partly made in South Korea for the first time, ET News reports. Apple reportedly ousted a Chinese candidate to choose LG Innotek, a South Korean company, to supply the iPhone 14's front-facing camera alongside Japan's Sharp. The company is said to have originally planned to switch to LG for the iPhone...