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Spotted: Prototype MacBook Pro with 3G on eBay

Over the last few years, we've grown used to 3G-enabled netbooks, MIDs, tablets and more. Now it seems Apple was, at one point, considering the technology for its line of MacBook Pros as a prototype MacBook Pro 3G has appeared for sale on eBay. The notebook in question, a 15-inch Macbook Pro from 2007, has a retractable antenna on the side of the display/lid as well as a SIM card slot.

The seller says he purchased the laptop as a non-functional parts machine from someone on Craigslist. However, when he received it, he quickly realized that this was a very special MacBook Pro. There was the aforementioned antenna, the red motherboard of an Apple prototype, a fully integrated cellular modem and a SIM slot...

"Upon removing the top case it was immediately clear this was no normal Macbook Pro: the circuit boards inside were bright red as opposed to the normal blue! Further inspection found multiple differences from the stock version, most notably a feature never seen in a Macbook laptop of any kind: what appears to be a fully integrated cellular modem and SIM slot. There is an extendable cellular antenna located at the right top side of the display assembly (The antenna is marked with "Tyco Proto / #006" when slid out), and a standard size SIM card slot located underneath the memory cover on the bottom of the machine. The SIM card board is connected to the logic board via a connector not found on production machines. The solder footprint for it is still present on the production boards and not populated, which is interesting. This would seem to suggest that it was a last minute decision to remove the cellular functionality before going into mass production. The optical drive is marked as a "Sample for Evaluation". Rather than a normal EMC Number the specifications lapel simply says "XXXX", and the serial number does not show up in Apple's online database. Rather than use the machine for parts I of course had to put the time into repairing it to its original condition and see what happened!

Without a doubt, the biggest question here is does the integrated 3G actually work? Sadly, it doesn't appear so.

"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," eBay seller abhw752579 writes. "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."

Bidding currently stands at $30,100.99, but it doesn't end for another three days. Apple has not commented on the sale.

  • cwolf78
    Looks like the auction already ended or was pulled.
    Reply
  • amigafan
    Not here too! This is right off the TUAW. I am drowning in Apple news right now.
    Reply
  • Pyree
    "Over the last few years, we've grown used to 3G-enabled netbooks, MIDs, tablets and more. Now it seems Apple was, at one point, considering the technology for its line of MacBook Pros as a prototype MacBook Pro 3G..."

    That just proofs that Apple is not as pioneer in personal computer as they claim. Leading in innovation is nothing more than myth. I am wondering if the company with 3G notebook/netbook will start to sue Apple now.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    OMG! OMG! OMFG!!!!!11

    /sarcasm

    EDIT: Apple zombies, notice: there's nothing "magical" inside the MacBook... :D
    Reply
  • Jerky_san
    You can bet they will sue for "stolen property"
    Reply
  • plasmastorm
    Spotted: Old new reported by Engadget about a week ago !
    Reply
  • sunflier
    Bidding currently stands at $30,100.99, but it doesn't end for another three days. Apple has not commented on the sale as they are waiting too see if they can raise their laptop prices.
    /fixed
    Reply
  • xjchcxx
    Pyree"Over the last few years, we've grown used to 3G-enabled netbooks, MIDs, tablets and more. Now it seems Apple was, at one point, considering the technology for its line of MacBook Pros as a prototype MacBook Pro 3G..."That just proofs that Apple is not as pioneer in personal computer as they claim. Leading in innovation is nothing more than myth. I am wondering if the company with 3G notebook/netbook will start to sue Apple now.
    Friend, if you look at this laptop, (it's on MacRumours as well) you'll see this is at the very very latest a 2007 model macbook pro. Look at the casing, more square than it's 2008 unibody replacement, look at the keyboard. they're now black with smaller keys. This is not a leaked protype in current development, this probably goes back years ago along with the dozens of iPad prototypes.

    If you research Apple as a company you find out that they've been developing the iPad since the 90's, the tech had poor battery life and was too large, so every few years as the tech developed they came back to it. With that being said, they're not ripping off other companies, they're the company being ripped off of. Further example – touch screen phones. Droids use the open source safari mobile web browser, so every droid phone is essentially running iOS web software... It's the nature of the tech game, it's not a praise apple condemn everyone else thing. That's the way the industry works, copy and paste.

    We, the consumer make judgments and declare one company better or worse than the other, it's quite juvenile actually, but hey, we're all human.

    Furthermore, as someone who has repaired, built and refurbished a countless number of Apple products, i can safely assure you that any 3G macBookPro would not ever look like this. the antenna used in an iphone is one part and about one inch in length, it would very comfortably fit behind the display's glass and make no cosmetic changes to the the devices as it is presently. The sim card slot would likely be right next to, or replace the memory card reader. – it's simpler and easer to have these card readers on the mother board than have them randomly on the display.

    here's my presumption, that antenna is similar to the really old antennas used in early apple wireless devices for wireless A/B/G, even before they all went wireless N as a standard .. circa 2003ish (way before Linksys and the rest of them...) Thus, that is no 3G antenna, it's wifi, which the analyst at MacRumours who looked at the actual hardware seem to reinforce, sooo 3G is a tag line to get you hyped and to read this article and make some sort of emotionally charged response. It worked.

    You're entitled to your opinion, it's what our brothers are in Iraq and Afghanistan defending – you're right to blare your judgmental opinion all over the internet as your first amendment right (if you're an American); however, if you'd like to be helpful as oppose to furthering the development of the juvenile tendencies that are going to ultimately bring down the US as a world leader, then educate yourself and become objective so you can see the truth as oppose to the tag line and the emotional outburst that has now defined you.

    I myself consider neither Apple, nor Google, nor Microsoft as supreme, they all excel in certain areas, they all lack in certain areas. I use them all for what they do best and suit me in my life, i do not judge the other products and companies based on media hype and sensationalism – it benefits me not.
    Reply
  • rhangman
    xjchcxxFriend, if you look at this laptop, (it's on MacRumours as well) you'll see this is at the very very latest a 2007 model macbook pro. Look at the casing, more square than it's 2008 unibody replacement, look at the keyboard. they're now black with smaller keys. This is not a leaked protype in current development, this probably goes back years ago along with the dozens of iPad prototypes. If you research Apple as a company you find out that they've been developing the iPad since the 90's, the tech had poor battery life and was too large, so every few years as the tech developed they came back to it. With that being said, they're not ripping off other companies, they're the company being ripped off of. Further example – touch screen phones. Droids use the open source safari mobile web browser, so every droid phone is essentially running iOS web software... It's the nature of the tech game, it's not a praise apple condemn everyone else thing. That's the way the industry works, copy and paste. We, the consumer make judgments and declare one company better or worse than the other, it's quite juvenile actually, but hey, we're all human. Furthermore, as someone who has repaired, built and refurbished a countless number of Apple products, i can safely assure you that any 3G macBookPro would not ever look like this. the antenna used in an iphone is one part and about one inch in length, it would very comfortably fit behind the display's glass and make no cosmetic changes to the the devices as it is presently. The sim card slot would likely be right next to, or replace the memory card reader. – it's simpler and easer to have these card readers on the mother board than have them randomly on the display.here's my presumption, that antenna is similar to the really old antennas used in early apple wireless devices for wireless A/B/G, even before they all went wireless N as a standard .. circa 2003ish (way before Linksys and the rest of them...) Thus, that is no 3G antenna, it's wifi, which the analyst at MacRumours who looked at the actual hardware seem to reinforce, sooo 3G is a tag line to get you hyped and to read this article and make some sort of emotionally charged response. It worked.You're entitled to your opinion, it's what our brothers are in Iraq and Afghanistan defending – you're right to blare your judgmental opinion all over the internet as your first amendment right (if you're an American); however, if you'd like to be helpful as oppose to furthering the development of the juvenile tendencies that are going to ultimately bring down the US as a world leader, then educate yourself and become objective so you can see the truth as oppose to the tag line and the emotional outburst that has now defined you. I myself consider neither Apple, nor Google, nor Microsoft as supreme, they all excel in certain areas, they all lack in certain areas. I use them all for what they do best and suit me in my life, i do not judge the other products and companies based on media hype and sensationalism – it benefits me not.I thought Droid's just used a webkit based browser? Safari is webkit based, but that doesn't make all webkit browsers Safari. As for webkit, it is much older than iOS. Apple started off with the KHTML engine, so it's not like they invented it.

    Apple did not invent the tablet. They also didn't invent the PC, portable media player, smart phone, etc. either. So yes, some companies may copy some of their ideas (and why not if they have a good one), but they do the same.
    Reply
  • xjchcxx
    rhangmanI thought Droid's just used a webkit based browser? Safari is webkit based, but that doesn't make all webkit browsers Safari. As for webkit, it is much older than iOS. Apple started off with the KHTML engine, so it's not like they invented it.Apple did not invent the tablet. They also didn't invent the PC, portable media player, smart phone, etc. either. So yes, some companies may copy some of their ideas (and why not if they have a good one), but they do the same.

    research mobile safari, and it's development, you'll find they learned from others, then made it open source, it was then picked up and used for android development, so if it's running android, it's running apple. that is mere fact, no extrapolation, not an emotionally charged opinion.

    You're right, apple did not invent these things, they were the first company to use a mouse though, did they invent it? i don't know, but there were the first to apply it to their machines... microsoft built upon that idea and made the right click button, apple later followed suit... in the early days apple came up with the bar up top, windows followed in win 95 with the start menu on the bottom, Windows made windows to interface with, apple copied that.. it's a copy/paste industry there's no point in trying to say "company X is the originator or source" ya know what? there were two people who started Microsoft, Gates isn't a genius who did it all on his own, neither is Jobs... they're just the ones that got the credit...

    It's a moot point really, argue if you must, but you'll notice at the end of the day you've accomplished little more than raising your cholesterol and furthered the paradigm of American ignorance and arrogance. (I can say that, i'm American ;)... ) So like i said, your opinion doesn't change anything, you and I can only influence as far as where we spend our money. Right now Apple is the most valuable company in the stock market, they have more money in the bank than the US government, does that make them invincible? no, it also does not make them the most profitable either... Exon still makes more money annually, their stock is just worth less.

    When i get home, i may fix an iPod or an iPhone for whomever has mailed one to me as a favor, i do it because i enjoy it, not to profit or further the dogma of Jobs. People love their iDevice, and they're actually built really well, there's some issues with glass choices and antenna placement, but we live and learn – i could certainly do no better on my own. So tonight i'm going to leave my place of work, go work out, then enjoy some relationships with the people that mean the most to me... the logo on my computer will be the last thing i think about, and i sincerely hope it is for you too.
    Reply