Ultra-rare original iPhone prototype pops up on eBay

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321dady/eBay
This will make you the envy of Apple fans!
Photo: 321dady/eBay

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.

Earliest iPhone test rig built from wood, duct tape and old Polaroid lenses

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iPhone team members
Members of the original iPhone development team, Greg Christie, Bas Ording and Brian Huppi talking to journalist Brian Merchant.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

PALO ALTO, California — The first iPhone “prototype” was strung together using bits of wood, duct tape and some old Polaroid lenses.

Key members of the Apple team reminisced about those early DIY efforts Wednesday night during a discussion led by Brian Merchant, author of The One Device, a new book about the birth of the iPhone.

“This thing was really kludged together,” said Brian Huppi, a former Apple engineer who helped build the first system. “It was built out of wood, duct tape and old lenses from the ’60s.”

This ugly case disguises iPhone prototypes in the wild

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Apple is ultra-protective of prototype iPhones.
Apple is ultra-protective of prototype iPhones.
Photo: Sonny Dickson

It’s no secret that Apple loves to keep products secret, but thanks to a new leak we can now see the crazy lengths the company goes to just to keep prototype iPhones under wraps.

Notorious Apple leaker Sonny Dickson has put out some new images of an ugly iPhone case allegedly used by Apple to keep the iPhone 6s secret. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but there are a bunch of tiny details that help Apple keep features from leaking.

Original iPhone Prototype Sells On eBay For A Hefty $1,499

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Occasionally a rare piece of Apple gear will appear on eBay and be suddenly pulled. Why? Apple doesn’t like it when its internal hardware gets exposed out in the wild. But sometimes a prototype slips through Cupertino’s watchful eye and gets sold.

An eBay seller in Australia has sold what appears to be an original iPhone engineering prototype for a nice sum of $1,499.

Apple Reveals 2005 ‘Purple’ iPhone Prototype To Show It Didn’t Copy Sony

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Screen Shot 2012-07-30 at 10.07.48 AM

The patent war between Apple and Samsung is just starting to heat up, with both tech giants scheduled to appear in U.S. court today. Apple accused Samsung of copying the iPhone and iPad back in April 2011, and Samsung countersued with similar accusations. In the months leading up to the trial, there have been treasure troves of previously hidden information uncovered, including hundreds of early iPhone and iPad prototype designs.

One design in particular, aptly named “Jony,” sparked an accusation from Samsung saying that Apple borrowed from Sony’s designs to create the first iPhone. To combat Samsung’s claim, Apple has since produced an early (and possibly first) prototype design of the iPhone from circa 2005.

Touch and Go: Tactile iPhone Case for Sight Impaired

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This prototype tactile iPhone case called Invisual allows sight-impaired users to get the most out of the smart phone. It would work in conjunction with special accessibility functions, such as text-to-speech features and moon type tactile alphabet keyboard.

Portugal-based designer Bruno Fosi crafted the silicon case with modified bas-relief buttons that correspond to the iPhone home screen. Fosi says that the iPhone thus covered keeps all its functions intact, including multi-touch and finger flick scrolling.

Via Yanko Design