May 29, 2012
Prototype iPad Sold On eBay
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Let´s take a quick trip down memory lane“¦
The date is January 21, 2010, about a week before the world was set on its edge as Steve Jobs announced the newest revolutionary product from Apple: The iPad.
Of course, rumors were flying fast and free in the days and even months leading up to the announcement. While we were all pretty sure the event Apple had invited the press to would be focused on the Rumored Apple Tablet, the small sliver of unknowing was enough to keep us on edge. What would it look like? Would it be called the iSlab or the iTablet? Would it have a micro USB slot?
Then, on January 21, 2010, the folks at iLounge ran a story in which they proclaimed their sources had told them the up-coming Apple Tablet would feature 2, count ℠em, 2 dock connectors, one on either edge so the device could be docked and charged in either landscape or portrait mode. There were many of Apple´s faithful who panned this rumor, saying Apple would never cut any more holes in their devices than they have to. The rumor did, in fact, seem a little crazy.
Then, a week later, the iPad was announced, mocked for its name, and bore only one 30-pin connector slot at the bottom of the device. Were the iLounge gals and guys incorrect? Had their sources simply seen an old prototype that had already been ruled out?
Then, in September of the same year, Apple patent watchers Patently Apple discovered proof that such a design existed, as they found design patents which included 2 dock connectors, as well as some other interesting features, such as a “smart bezel,” and the standing dock connector which was released with the device.
So we knew there was once a device which boasted more than one hole, and iLounge was able to walk away with their heads held high.
But what ever happened to this prototype device?
Well, as odd devices such as these often do, it would appear as if one of these incredibly rare first generation prototypes has ended up on eBay, and at the time of this writing, had closed at a grand total of $10,200.
This iPad looks identical to any other first generation iPad, with the one very notable exception of the extra dock connector port. In addition to a number of pictures of the oddity, the seller – known as aaps69 – says the prototype also runs a version of iOS 3.2 known as “Switchboard.” According to macgasm.net, Switchboard is often used as a testing OS for prototype devices to test the screen and sound, as well as other features.
The prototype is said to hold the entry-level 16GB of internal storage and a new battery. The rest of the device is said to be made of stock parts. aaps69 does mention, however, that the screen isn´t exactly in proper working order, though the right buyer with the technical know-how could get the device operational once more.
Of course, we don´t know who aaps69 is and how they acquired the device, though it´s probably safe to assume this person had early access to an original iPad or knew where these iPads were being discarded. Either way, this little Apple oddity has just earned aaps69 a cool $10,000. Maybe it´s not too late to take up a career dumpster diving behind the campus at 1 Infinite Loop.