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Historic photos reveal new details about Apple’s first prototype

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Historic photos reveal new details about Apple's first prototype
A careful examination of a photo of an early Apple prototype finds it carries an unexpected name.
Photo: Paul Terrell/Apple-1 Registry

The first computer built by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak is the Apple-1, right? Not quite. Turns out before that was the “Apple Computer A.”

Unfortunately, the actual Apple prototype with that name was not found. But pictures of it from 1976 were. And they show details of this handmade Apple prototype.

MagSafe Battery Pack prototype spills earlier design with glossy finish

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MagSafe Battery Pack prototype
That's ... different.
Photo: Internal Archive

Photos purporting to show an Apple MagSafe Battery Pack prototype surfaced Wednesday, revealing an earlier design with a glossy finish and a repositioned charging LED. The device also features internal identification markings.

The device looks genuine, but it’s very different from Apple’s final product, which went on sale last July at $99.

Check out these crazy translucent AirPods prototypes

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AirPods-Pro-teardown-1
The real translucent AirPods don’t reveal their internal components quite this well.
Photo: iFixit

AirPods come in white, white and also white. But a collector scored a prototype pair in very unusual translucent blue casings.

Taste a rare look at a product that’ll never hit store shelves.

Leaked prototype turns the clock back to early days of Apple Watch

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Apple Watch
The Apple Watch has come a long way since its early days.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A Twitter user by the name of @AppleDemoYT has posted images online they claim to be an early Apple Watch prototype, built as part of the pre-production process before Apple introduced the device in 2015.

Such prototypes are very rare, with Apple preferring not to show images that shed light on how it develops products. Somehow this one made it out in one piece — provided it’s legitimate, of course.

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.

Rare Mac laptop rakes in more than $16,000 at auction

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Hap Plain
This early backlit Mac laptop sold on eBay for more than $16,000.
Photo: Hap Plain

An Apple prototype of an early laptop, one of only four known to exist, sold on eBay Tuesday evening for more than $16,000.

It was the second time the owner of the Apple Macintosh Portable M5126 – fully functional and with a rare-for-its-time backlit screen – tried selling the test device on the auction site. Last month, bidding closed at just over $10,000 but the buyer backed out.

Bidding for rare Mac prototype starts at 99 cents

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Hap Plain
This early backlit Mac laptop sold on eBay for more than $16,000.
Photo: Hap Plain

A rare Macintosh prototype that was once rescued from the trash recently sold for more than $10,000 on eBay.

But the winning bidder backed out and now, the clear-plastic Macintosh Portable M5126 laptop is back on the auction site. Bidding started at 99 cents with no reserve.

Birth of the iPhone: How Apple turned clunky prototypes into a truly magical device

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iPhone 2G prototype
iPhone 2G prototype
Photo: Jim Abeles/Flickr CC

iPhone turns 10 The world had never seen anything like the iPhone when Apple launched the device on June 29, 2007. But the touchscreen device that blew everyone’s minds immediately didn’t come about so easily.

The iPhone was the result of years of arduous work by Apple’s industrial designers. They labored over a long string of prototypes and CAD designs in their quest to produce the ultimate smartphone.

This excerpt from my book Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products offers an inside account of the iPhone’s birth.

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