Rare Mac prototype with Twiggy drive goes up for auction

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Apple Macintosh prototype with 5.25-inch drive
Look closely. This Apple Macintosh prototype is different from the final version in a big way.

A prototype Apple Macintosh used in the development of MacWrite can be yours, if you can scratch up about $180,000. It’s almost unique because of a disk drive different from the one used when this revolutionary  computer shipped.

This is a pre-release unit of the computer that launched in 1984 and “changed our lives forever,” according to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Not your typical Apple Macintosh

There are many first-generation Macs out there, but this unit stands out because it has a 5 ¼-inch “Twiggy” disk drive. This is “one of only two known machines that survived after the move to the Sony 3 ½-inch drive before the release of this computer.

The Twiggy drive was used in the earlier Apple Lisa computer but proved very unreliable. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was convinced to swap to a smaller drive, and he then ordered all the prototypes with the larger one destroyed. Only a handful survive.

Check the MacProvenance

This extremely rare prototype has been owned by the former CEO and President of Encore Systems since the 1980s. He received it as part of the development of MacWrite, a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) word processor that shipped with the original Mac and, along with MacPaint, helped make it a success.

This prototype Apple Macintosh comes with keyboard and mouse, as well as “various disks.” It’s condition includes “Slight yellowing of plastic components, otherwise fine.”

The estimated sale price is between $120,000 and $180,000 (£94,000 – £140,000).

The sale is being handled by Bonhams, an international auction house founded in London in 1793. Bids can be placed now on this company’s website, and the auction closes December 4.