An incredibly rare Apple VideoPad 2 prototype is headed to auction after it was purchased from an Apple engineer back in 1999. It comes with a black leather carrying case that features the Newton logo, and is expected to fetch $12,000.
The VideoPad, which was scrapped by Steve Jobs upon his return to Apple in 1997, was a personal digital assistant (PDA) similar to the Newton that would have allowed users to carry out video calls. But it never made it to market.
The only surviving VideoPad prototype
It is believed Apple tested three versions of the VideoPad, based on conceptual sketches made by former CEO John Sculley, between 1993 and 1995. The device was intended to be a version of the Newton that made video calls.
This particular VideoPad 2 unit, which auction house Bonhams calls the only surviving VideoPad prototype, features a “heavy-duty plastic” design with a hinged lid that flips open to reveal what would have been two displays.
However, this unit — which is clearly an early, unfinished version of the device — is missing the components that would have been installed in its top half, including one of the screens, its front-facing camera, and dual speakers.
The VideoPad 2 was also designed to have a memory card slot, which doesn’t actually function on this unit, as well as a phone line input, a power socket, and a stylus holder. Its primary display is described as a “silver-papered screen.”
Appearing for the first time
This is the first time the VideoPad 2 has appeared in public, according to Bonhams. Apple did show off the original VideoPad 1 design, as well as the VideoPad 3, but the second model was never previewed publicly.
Jobs scrapped the VideoPad and the Newton upon his return to Apple in 1997. But many of the ideas that went into the company’s PDAs resurfaced in iPhone a decade later — and then in iPad five years after that.
The VideoPad 2 goes up for auction on November 3, and it’s expected to fetch $8,000-$12,000. Bonhams is also auctioning an original Macintosh prototype, an original iPad prototype, and a letter handwritten by Steve Jobs.
The original Macintosh prototype is another interesting device. Bonhams calls it “the earliest known Macintosh to appear at auction,” with one of the first logic boards that’s dated 1982. It’s expected to fetch up to $40,000.