Apple may have sold well over a billion iPhones, but something in much, much more limited supply are the prototype models for Apple’s original 2007 handset. These never-commercially-available models were produced for internal use at Apple, back when the company was still honing the software and hardware for its now iconic device.
If you’re eager to have a piece of history in your possession, one of these rare prototypes just showed up for sale on eBay — although you’ll have to be willing to splash some serious cash to get it.
The handset has a few differences from the iPhone that was eventually released by Apple in 2007. For one thing, it is slightly heavier than the commercial model, weighing 144.5 grams instead of the 135 grams of the actual iPhone 2G. It also boasts different internal components, including a different battery, Wi-Fi modules, and more. There’s no FCC etching on the back, although it does have an Apple engineering sticker reading Ver 1.1.1.
Unlike the mass-produced models, which were produced in China, this model was handmade by Apple engineers in Cupertino.
In terms of software, the device runs multiple testing programs, including a version of OS X instead of the normal OS 1.
The seller doesn’t make clear how he or she acquired the device, although there are multiple collectors of rare Apple prototypes out there. Perhaps the most prominent of these is Hap Plain (who is not the seller here.) Plain has around 258 prototypes in his collection, demonstrating that these are certainly out there on the market for people willing to pay for them.
Currently, the iPhone in this auction has reached $12,100 in bidding — although it’s reserve has not yet been met. While there’s certainly a chance that Apple lawyers might try and pull the sale (Apple, perhaps unsurprisingly, isn’t always happy about having these devices out there), this is a good opportunity to own one of the rarest iPhones around.