Purported prototype of Apple's first-gen iPhone sells for $1500 on eBay

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A device that one collector says is an "engineering prototype" of Apple's first-generation iPhone has sold on auction site eBay for $1,500, one of a handful of similar preproduction iPhones to surface in recent years.

iPhone prototype


The "very rare original iPhone engineering prototype", listed by Australia-based eBay user applefancollector is shown running an early version of Apple's iOS designed to test the phone's hardware functions. The same operating system, which features tests for the iPhone's radios, touch sensors, display and batter, among others, has been spotted on similar devices in the past.

iPhone prototype


In addition to the special software, each radio's signal bands are etched into the device's rear housing. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and each of the original iPhone's four supported GSM bands are accounted for.

Alongside the signal bands, the handset is etched with a label denoting it as "Ver 1.1.1." It is unknown whether that version number refers to the test operating system or to the hardware itself. The first-generation iPhone shipped with iPhone OS 1.0, known by the internal Apple codename "Alpine."

iPhone prototype


According to the seller, the "device itself is in near mint condition, apart from a very tiny mark in the back" and "it passes all [technical] tests perfectly." The phone's provenance is not revealed.

Prototype iPhone parts are not uncommon on sites like eBay, with enclosures for the then-unannounced iPhone 5c going up for auction in August. Fully functioning iPhone prototypes are less common, though an operational pre-release iPhone 4 was listed for sale in 2011.

Such auctions are typically pulled from eBay, presumably at the request of Apple, which does not want pre-release hardware being made available to the public. That didn't happen with this latest auction, however, as the purported early iPhone hardware went through to sale.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,300member
    Assuming it's genuine and it does look that way then the buyer owns a really cool piece of history.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    I like the icons, especially serial number and temperature.
  • Reply 3 of 7

    It’s a real prototype, all right. That’s the software that Apple uses.

  • Reply 4 of 7
    Anyone noticed the thumb print Icon? Did apple have touch ID planned all along and waited for the hardware technology to catch up? Wow!!
  • Reply 5 of 7
    chabigchabig Posts: 640member
    themacman wrote: »
    Anyone noticed the thumb print Icon? Did apple have touch ID planned all along and waited for the hardware technology to catch up? Wow!!

    No. It had a touchscreen. We take those for granted nowadays, but back then Apple's touch technology wowed the world.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    chabig wrote: »
    No. It had a touchscreen. We take those for granted nowadays, but back then Apple's touch technology wowed the world.

    The technology existed beforehand, so it was really Apple's implementation that wowed the world. They were the first to use capacitive touch screens everything before used resistive.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    virtuavirtua Posts: 208member
    $1500 sounds like a bargain for this :)
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