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Purported MacBook Pro prototype built-in 3G appears on eBay

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
An alleged Apple prototype of an older MacBook Pro with built-in 3G cellular data functionality has appeared for sale on eBay, indicating that the company looked into adding wireless data capabilities to its notebooks as early as 2007.

According to the auction, the unit is a "one of a kind" pre-production prototype of a 2007 15-inch Santa Rosa MacBook Pro. The laptop's distinguishing feature is the inclusion of an extendable cellular antenna at the right top side of the display assembly and a SIM card slot beneath the memory cover.

Additional evidence that the unit was supposedly an Apple prototype includes the fact that the circuit boards were bright red, as opposed to the normal blue, and the lack of an EMC Number. The laptop's serial number also does not show up in Apple's online database.

The seller claims to have obtained the prototype via classifieds site Craigslist from a former Apple engineer who received the machine for "software development work" and was allowed to keep it after he left. The alleged original owner told the poster that he had never used the cellular data functionality because it wasn't related to his work.





Hardware specifications for the prototype, which identifies itself as MacBook Pro model 3,1, include an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz dual-core processor, 2GB DDR2 RAM and nVidia GeForce 8600m video. The device also sports AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wireless and Bluetooth 2.1 alongside the test 3G functionality.
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The laptop is said to be in "surprisingly good condition" after being restored by the seller, who obtained it in non-working order and then replaced the hard drive, battery, RAM and MagSafe adapter. According to the product description, the seller was unable to get the antenna to work with a SIM card.



"I have unfortunately been unable to get it working with my SIM card, though it is seen by the operating system and recognized as a modem device usable to connect to the internet with various configuration options. It is entirely possible it can be made to work by someone with more software and driver experience than myself but I can make no guarantees," the seller wrote.

The recently surfaced prototype appears to validate earlier reports that Apple was looking into building 3G wireless into its notebooks. In 2009, rumors swirled that wireless carriers would help subsidize the cost of new Macs with 3G data service plans after a job listing appeared for a 3G specialist for Macs.

Two other alleged Apple prototypes are currently for sale on eBay: a purported Newton NotePad prototype in perfect working condition and two Apple Bose speakers. The seller of the Newton prototype claims to have traded for the prototype from "a group of engineers at Apple's Newton group."



Meanwhile, the speakers are said to be prototype subwoofers built by Apple in conjunction with Bose for its limited-edition run of Twentieth Anniversary Macs.



Supposed prototypes of Apple products regularly make their way onto eBay. Last month, a couple alleged pre-release versions of the iPhone 4 surfaced on the auction site.
post #2 of 43
1) Anyone know the specs for the Dynastream ANT2USB card?

2) I think once we move to a tapered MBP design vis-Ã*-vis the MBA, with the optical drive removed we should room enough for this tiny 1" x 1.5" board. If we look at the iPad 2's cellular chips we see 2 aspects that make a cellular addition more likely. We see a standard size for GSM/UMTS and CDMA/CDMA2000, and a separate daughter board for the cellular HW.

(click for larger image)
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post #3 of 43
Still waiting for the prototype iCar.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #4 of 43
There was a ThinkSecret rumour article on this prototype in 2007.
post #5 of 43
I can see why those speakers remained prototypes. They look like freakin' garbage cans.
post #6 of 43
Am i the only one who finds it weird that an apple engineer would jusf sell this thing on craigslist, and not sell on ebay himself? Also why not fix the computer himself if he is an apple engineer ( or find a buddy with hrardware skills if he was more of a software guy. Also they description on ebay says that he noticed he mac was "different" because of the red logic board, i would have noticed it by a giant antenna!

Also from what i got from the ebay poat is that the engineer never used the cellular because he was not a hardware engineer (not related to his work) not because the use of therr data was unrelated. In other words he did not know how to fire it up without the right hardware skills. Which is once again suspect because whoever gave it to him could have helped out with that if the seller was indeed part of the engineering team.

In other words the story does not tie neatly but its an awesome prototype nonetheless. Lets hope it surfaces on an mba some time soon.
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post #7 of 43
Excuse me, but don't you check your mail? I send you pictures of an iPhone 4S/5, but you haven't posted anything about it yet? Shouldn't you do that, people are interested in seeing it, I guess.
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Excuse me, but don't you check your mail? I send you pictures of an iPhone 4S/5, but you haven't posted anything about it yet? Shouldn't you do that, people are interested in seeing it, I guess.

Chances are good that it's fake.
Andrew
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Andrew
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post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Excuse me, but don't you check your mail? I send you pictures of an iPhone 4S/5, but you haven't posted anything about it yet? Shouldn't you do that, people are interested in seeing it, I guess.

You can always post them on the forum, we could use a laugh
post #10 of 43
This is the best posthumous rumor validated as a non-rumor article on AI in a long time.
post #11 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Excuse me, but don't you check your mail? I send you pictures of an iPhone 4S/5, but you haven't posted anything about it yet? Shouldn't you do that, people are interested in seeing it, I guess.

So post them. Here. Now. In this thread.

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post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So post them. Here. Now. In this thread.

Sorry, I'm feeling this is pretty legit, but I really have no kind of idea. You can compare the border, but really, maybe it's just a photo put on a China copy... Weird with the old notificationsystem on the screen though. But I hope you're happy with me sharing it anyways.

post #13 of 43
huh, that actually does look pretty damn legit. nice work sir!
15" uMacbook Pro 2.4Ghz 8GB 128GB SSD/500GB 7200rpm, iMac 27" i5 16GB 1TB, MacBook Air 8GB 256GB, iPhone 5s 64GB, iPhone 4 32GB, iPad 4 64GB, Apple TV2/3, iPod Nano 2nd gen, iPod Touch 4th gen,...
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15" uMacbook Pro 2.4Ghz 8GB 128GB SSD/500GB 7200rpm, iMac 27" i5 16GB 1TB, MacBook Air 8GB 256GB, iPhone 5s 64GB, iPhone 4 32GB, iPad 4 64GB, Apple TV2/3, iPod Nano 2nd gen, iPod Touch 4th gen,...
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post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Sorry, I'm feeling this is pretty legit, but I really have no kind of idea. You can compare the border, but really, maybe it's just a photo put on a China copy... Weird with the old notificationsystem on the screen though. But I hope you're happy with me sharing it anyways.

Whoa, wha-che-WHAT?!

MORE ANGLES.

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post #15 of 43
potentially quite a nice evolution of the current design, retaining the external antenna but removing the sharp corners on the underside (which will make it a bit more comfortable to hold). the presumably tapered back will present a nice slim profile per iPads etc.
15" uMacbook Pro 2.4Ghz 8GB 128GB SSD/500GB 7200rpm, iMac 27" i5 16GB 1TB, MacBook Air 8GB 256GB, iPhone 5s 64GB, iPhone 4 32GB, iPad 4 64GB, Apple TV2/3, iPod Nano 2nd gen, iPod Touch 4th gen,...
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15" uMacbook Pro 2.4Ghz 8GB 128GB SSD/500GB 7200rpm, iMac 27" i5 16GB 1TB, MacBook Air 8GB 256GB, iPhone 5s 64GB, iPhone 4 32GB, iPad 4 64GB, Apple TV2/3, iPod Nano 2nd gen, iPod Touch 4th gen,...
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post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

You can compare the border, but really, maybe it's just a photo put on a China copy...

If you look at the band in the reflection on the lower iPhone, I think people can see exactly what it is. Anyway, this thread is about a 3G MBP.

I think a 3G MBP would be an ok idea but it needs more coverage and better speeds. Wireless tethering is a better idea IMO.
post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Sorry, I'm feeling this is pretty legit, but I really have no kind of idea. You can compare the border, but really, maybe it's just a photo put on a China copy... Weird with the old notificationsystem on the screen though. But I hope you're happy with me sharing it anyways.

image: http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/6...estionmark.jpg

It certainly looks like what I'd expect from the evolution of the iPhone 4.

Where was this picture presumably taken? PLADS 71, is that in Apple's campus? Seems like that would easily trackable. When was this picture presumably taken? It does look like someone didn't plan for the image to be taken of their desk.

The use of the old notification system isn't a shock. First of all, the popover is still part of iOS 5.0 if you choose it. Secondly, we've seen them keep the developing HW and OS separate. IOW, only the drivers for the new HW optimizations would be changed keeping the UI intact until they also want an engineer to test the new OS with the new HW.
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post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It certainly looks like what I'd expect from the evolution of the iPhone 4.

Where was this picture presumably taken? PLADS 71, is that in Apple's campus? Seems like that would easily trackable. When was this picture presumably taken? It does look like someone didn't plan for the image to be taken of their desk.

The use of the old notification system isn't a shock. First of all, the popover is still part of iOS 5.0 if you choose it. Secondly, we've seen them keep the developing HW and OS separate. IOW, only the drivers for the new HW optimizations would be changed keeping the UI intact until they also want an engineer to test the new OS with the new HW.

Can't say it, though it's in Denmark (the europe-Denmark), and I haven't seen it in real life. Plads 71 is Spot 71.. Like you're having office desk 71. The notification is something with a danish soccerteam.
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post

huh, that actually does look pretty damn legit. nice work sir!

I was kind of thinking that too, but now I'm a little more skeptical. Why is the A in august not capitalized there on the lock screen? Is there a region format that changes the capitalization on the month? The "day date month" format is used by the UK region setting, but on my iPhone 4, the month is still capitalized.
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I think a 3G MBP would be an ok idea but it needs more coverage and better speeds. Wireless tethering is a better idea IMO.

I say screw 3G and 4G altogether. Have Apple push for 802.22 inclusion in consumer devices and make a new generation of AirPort base stations based on 802.22.

The telecoms had their chance. They failed miserably. Let consumers own their own "towers" now.

Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I say screw 3G and 4G altogether. Have Apple push for 802.22 inclusion in consumer devices and make a new generation of AirPort base stations based on 802.22.

The telecoms had their chance. They failed miserably. Let consumers own their own "towers" now.

802.22 is designed for low population rural areas. It isn't designed for high population urban areas, This isn't the first time that you've said this so I'm guessing you don't really grok that a technology well suited to providing a small number of users bandwidth across a large area probably isn't well suited to providing a large number of users bandwidth across a small area.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R. View Post

I was kind of thinking that too, but now I'm a little more skeptical. Why is the A in august not capitalized there on the lock screen? Is there a region format that changes the capitalization on the month? The "day date month" format is used by the UK region setting, but on my iPhone 4, the month is still capitalized.

My guess is that it's on a danish region setting. It says "Fredag" too.
post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

This isn't the first time that you've said this so I'm guessing you don't really grok that a technology well suited to providing a small number of users bandwidth across a large area probably isn't well suited to providing a large number of users bandwidth across a small area.

Any explanation WHY it's not 'well-suited' for that?

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post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I say screw 3G and 4G altogether. Have Apple push for 802.22 inclusion in consumer devices and make a new generation of AirPort base stations based on 802.22.

The telecoms had their chance. They failed miserably. Let consumers own their own "towers" now.

Mostly off-topic but I'll post this "what if?" scenario from Jean-Louis Gassée about Apple buying T-Mobile USA.
http://www.mondaynote.com/2011/08/14...-us-a-carrier/
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post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Sorry, I'm feeling this is pretty legit, but I really have no kind of idea. You can compare the border, but really, maybe it's just a photo put on a China copy... Weird with the old notificationsystem on the screen though. But I hope you're happy with me sharing it anyways.


Can you post using a different image provider? Thanks.

Imageshack always shows as a blocked image after a few hours.

May I request all posters stop using Imageshack? It always shows as "Domain Unregistered".
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Can you post using a different image provider? Thanks.

Imageshack always shows as a blocked image after a few hours.

May I request all posters stop using Imageshack? It always shows as "Domain Unregistered".

Weird, cuz I can see it.. And you're right, now it's larger.

post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Weird, cuz I can see it.. And you're right, now it's larger.

Seriously, it's 2011. Mr. Blurrycam should have retired back in aught three. He should be sipping mimoSLRas on his deck chair in Camcun by now, for crying out loud.

Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Weird, cuz I can see it.. And you're right, now it's larger. ...

This is the same fake image from that French site last month. The photos of the other side look the same (i.e. - there are no volume buttons or silent switch), which is your first clue that it's likely a fake. Also, as has been pointed out the reflection shows a regular old iPhone 4. Also, no sim tray visible. Also, the screen image on the top of the phone is not centred. Also, if it was a world phone as predicted, it would also have a second black band on the side we see in this picture, close to the top of the phone, and a lot of the reflections on the chrome rim seem to make no sense.

I'd be really, really surprised if this is the real deal. The more you look at it the more you see what a total fake it is.
post #29 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This is the same fake image from that French site last month. The photos of the other side look the same (i.e. - there are no volume buttons or silent switch), which is your first clue that it's likely a fake. Also, as has been pointed out the reflection shows a regular old iPhone 4. Also, no sim tray visible. Also, the screen image on the top of the phone is not centred. Also, if it was a world phone as predicted, it would also have a second black band on the side we see in this picture, close to the top of the phone, and a lot of the reflections on the chrome rim seem to make no sense.

I'd be really, really surprised if this is the real deal.

I didn't know photoshopping could be done so well, and still they forgot the glassreflection.. I'm sorry! Damn it.
post #30 of 43
That antenna solution isn't particularly attractive. And it looks easy to break off.

Maybe it got "Steved." That's actually the term used at Apple for "cancelled at the last moment by Steve Jobs because he didn't like it for whatever reason."

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post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Sorry, I'm feeling this is pretty legit, but I really have no kind of idea. ...

I do have a kind of an idea. Look at the very deep, long shadow cast by the thinner "iPhone" directly toward our point of view. Compare it with the shorter shadows cast by the real iPhone 4, the keyboard in the upper right, and both the coiled and straight cables. No way that extra-long shadow can happen in real life.

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post #32 of 43
I dunno, the reflection looks like the fat iPhone 4 (if you look really closely). But if this is the new design I think its pretty awesome.
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post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

That antenna solution isn't particularly attractive. And it looks easy to break off.

Maybe it got "Steved." That's actually the term used at Apple for "cancelled at the last moment by Steve Jobs because he didn't like it for whatever reason."

99.9% of these prototypes get this treatment.

This prototype probably got two seconds of Steve's attention.
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Also why not fix the computer himself if he is an apple engineer ( or find a buddy with hrardware skills if he was more of a software guy.

Maybe he sees prototypes all the time, realized that this was a four year old machine, and simply didn't care enough to be bothered?

Quote:
Also they description on ebay says that he noticed he mac was "different" because of the red logic board, i would have noticed it by a giant antenna!

It's just reaffirming that it's a genuine prototype.

Quote:
In other words he did not know how to fire it up without the right hardware skills. Which is once again suspect because whoever gave it to him could have helped out with that if the seller was indeed part of the engineering team.

Again, you're assuming he gave a damn.
post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Any explanation WHY it's not 'well-suited' for that?

Ok, my RF physics is very very rusty (I'm a field theory guy), but essentially available bandwidth increases with frequency of carrier and decreases with cell size.

Imagine a very simple analogy, think of a building made entirely of glass which is an array of square rooms representing cells, and in which we use an optical frequency to carry data. Two devices in the same room communicating with the base station have to multiplex across the available bandwidth, say by using different time windows. Adjacent rooms use different frequencies, and anything further than adjacent the signals are below the noise floor so can be ignored.

Now an actual cellular system is more complicated because base stations use multiple antenna and have a degree of directionality, so can support more bandwidth than this approximation alone would indicate, but the factors still apply - bigger cells means less system-wide bandwidth.

You can see this in practical terms by looking at a cellular map of base stations, for example http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk/search

Zooming into covent garden (a popular retail area) you see much denser cells than out in Holborn or Clerkenwell. Head out to the suburbs and it's less again. Finally in rural areas cells are huge. Generally in rural areas you end up falling back on a 2G network because they support larger cells.
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by trondolsen View Post

Sorry, I'm feeling this is pretty legit, but I really have no kind of idea. You can compare the border, but really, maybe it's just a photo put on a China copy... Weird with the old notificationsystem on the screen though. But I hope you're happy with me sharing it anyways.



That's fake. The black line that supposed to indicate an antenna break is not perpendicular to the screen.
post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by xsu View Post

That's fake. The black line that supposed to indicate an antenna break is not perpendicular to the screen.

That and the reflection proves it's just a regular iPhone

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post #38 of 43
I wonder if the metal shell was a big problem, because that could make the device extremely sensitive to orientation with respect to the tower. Cellular data is one thing that is pretty absent on computers (especially on the MacBook Air, given its model name), and it's something that I don't think a USB stick is a desirable compromise.
post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Mostly off-topic but I'll post this "what if?" scenario from Jean-Louis Gassée about Apple buying T-Mobile USA.[/INDENT]

I don't think buying a carrier is the best thing to do. There's a lot of baggage that comes with it and would be seen as anti-competitive. Apple can enforce their quality control on their own tight-knit group. Trying to do that with a carrier would be very difficult and would tarnish their brand. Apple wouldn't want to end up like the brand you see being openly laughed at in the following video, no prizes for guessing. Skip to 1:40:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD0Nhu83Cgs

I would like to see them help bring some real innovation to the field though and one that seemed very interesting was another development from Steve Perlman concerning antenna capacity and getting around the limits imposed by Shannon's Law:

http://venturebeat.com/2011/07/28/st...ss-data-rates/

Some of the technology features sub-millisecond latency and he had mentioned about even being able to run RAM remotely over a network. Not that the example of RAM is practical but having such low latency is advantageous for wireless communication. I find his presentations fascinating and to me he seems like the perfect embodiment of a true inventor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QxrQnJCXKo

As far as Apple is concerned, getting access to such unique antenna designs and protocols could open up the possibility of not even requiring a carrier. P2P signal boosting is an option and another might be sending mini base stations to homes for routing signals. Carriers do this sort of thing with cars.

Ultimately, there has to be a better way to get a wireless signal to a device than simply firing waves out in all directions at as high a power as you can send out. You'd really want the equivalent of a wire without using a wire e.g like a sonic 'LASER' or SASER:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17912_3-10267528-72.html

Tracking devices can figure out where you are roughly and then know where to concentrate a signal to connect your device in a stable manner.

I think the first step that needs to be taken is to stop the separation of computers and phones. They should be on the same network. 3G in laptops is one thing but I should be able to take calls from anyone on my computer or make a call from my computer without using specialised applications. Gradually we are moving this way with FaceTime, iMessage, Skype etc but it seems like where we are now should have been reached 5-10 years ago.
post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Ultimately, there has to be a better way to get a wireless signal to a device than simply firing waves out in all directions at as high a power as you can send out.

On the tower end, there is. Cell towers aren't omnidirectional antennas, even if it seems that way. If you take a look at a tower, they have a lot of vertical white trapezoid boxes in a circle, facing away from the center of the tower. Those are sector antennas, they divide the landscape by so many degrees of a circle, how many depends on the design of the antenna. You're only connected to one of those sectors. You get better gain and allows more subscribers to connect to a tower than would otherwise be possible with an omni.

Quote:
Tracking devices can figure out where you are roughly and then know where to concentrate a signal to connect your device in a stable manner.

Probably way too expensive and unreliable. You'd have to have a mechanical tracking system for each subscriber that is in range, which will have a more limited operational temperature range than a completely electronic system with no moving parts.

Quote:
I think the first step that needs to be taken is to stop the separation of computers and phones. They should be on the same network. 3G in laptops is one thing but I should be able to take calls from anyone on my computer or make a call from my computer without using specialised applications. Gradually we are moving this way with FaceTime, iMessage, Skype etc but it seems like where we are now should have been reached 5-10 years ago.

That would be nice.
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