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Old Aug 16, 2011, 05:34 AM   #1
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Prototype 3G MacBook Pro Actually had a 'MagSafe' Antenna




Over the weekend, there had been a lot of interest in what appeared to be a 3G-capable MacBook Pro with an extendable antenna. The original eBay auction reached as high as $70,000 before being removed from the site. The listing was removed at the request of Apple. The seller, however, joined our forums, and provided additional photos and details about the unit.

Much of the initial commentary was about the look of the antenna, but it was actually felt to be nicely designed by the seller of the notebook. He wrote, "really in person it seems quite well designed, and not out of place with the rest of Apple's look."




The seller describes the antenna as "quite tiny" and attributes some of the initial reactions to the bad angle. It is said to protrude about 2" from the display when extended. Most notably, it's actually attached to the MacBook Pro with magnets, and can come off. This is shown in the following photos:








Apple has used magnets in their power cords for a number of years to help prevent damage from users accidentally tripping over cables. Apple applied this same design theory to the antenna. Apple had actually applied for a patent on this kind of magnetically attached and extendable antenna back in 2008, and recently republished.




In the patent application, Apple explained the reasoning behind the external antenna. According to Apple, metal enclosures, such as in the MacBook Pro, have a high conductivity which poses a challenge when designing an internal antenna.
Quote:
The antenna may exhibit improved transmission and reception efficiencies when the antenna is placed in an extended position away from the conductive housing
They also acknowledge that external antennas that permanently protrude have an unattractive appearance and may be susceptible to damage. Their solution was to offer this retractable antenna design. When not in use, the antenna can be stowed and take on the look of the rest of the case design, and when extended, can break away with magnets to avoid damage to the computer.

Obviously, Apple decided against pursuing the design ultimately, but its very interesting to see an actual prototype of a concept that Apple had also submitted a patent for back in 2008.

Article Link: Prototype 3G MacBook Pro Actually had a 'MagSafe' Antenna
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 05:39 AM   #2
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Apple's design team is brilliant... not a fanboy here. They've just made some pretty great and creative designs.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 05:42 AM   #3
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70.000$? Heck, I would've sold it no matter what Apple wanted me to do.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 05:43 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cloudsurfer View Post
70.000$? Heck, I would've sold it no matter what Apple wanted me to do.
Wait, can he not just sell it to anyone he wants? Obviously not through Ebay though... I'm probably missing something
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 05:47 AM   #5
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Could of been a scammer bidding on it for $70k.... but yea, I would of sold it as well. Apple wouldn't go that route these days as far as external antenna.. they believe in tight lines.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 05:53 AM   #6
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I'm sure that not all of the bidders were legit in that auction. Knowing the bidding increments in the auction, some people would have bidded for the sake of contributing to the auction, and the fact that Apple would not have let the auction conclude.

I was tempted to put a $10,000 bid in myself as I knew for a fact that I would have either been beaten or the auction would be removed before it would concluded, however I decided against it.

In reality, I believe it would have went for around $20,000 if it wasn't as publicised as it was, and Apple did not remove the listing.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 06:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yumunum View Post
Wait, can he not just sell it to anyone he wants? Obviously not through Ebay though... I'm probably missing something
If it is a prototype then Apple likely owns it.

The seller albeit unknowing bought 'stollen goods' when he go it. If apple can prove they own it then I doubt he can legally on-sell it, known that Apple is the rightful owner.

Apple might pay him a 'finders fee' to return it, though unlikely 70,000. a brand new MacBook pro would be a fair trade, though I doubt they would even do that.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 06:20 AM   #8
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I was tempted to put a $10,000 bid in myself as I knew for a fact that I would have either been beaten or the auction would be removed before it would concluded
If you don't mind me asking: Why?!
I've never understood those people. Is it supposed to be a joke?
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 06:21 AM   #9
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i think it is quite beautiful, and remember, an external antenna has better reception. So making it retractable is logical in low reception areas. If you are in a good reception area you would probably not have to "extend" it. Apple should have made this available, i would have bought it in a heartbeat. Using the hotspot functionality on my iPhone 4 seems so tedious...
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 06:27 AM   #10
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The antenna design is still is a great idea, in my opinion.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 06:35 AM   #11
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Interesting and sad at the same time.

I still can't believe that the MBA doesn't have 4G/LTE built-in like some of its brethren. Hell, I'd even take a crappy Turbo 3G connection. It wouldn't even draw more battery live if it able to be "turned off" at the software level.

I am glad that the iPad received unlocked 3G, but I just don't see why it didn't make it into the MBA

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Old Aug 16, 2011, 06:54 AM   #12
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Wait, can he not just sell it to anyone he wants? Obviously not through Ebay though... I'm probably missing something
The "Seller" posted the reason eBay gave for removal of the auction in the previous thread:

http://pages.ebay.com.au/help/confid...rams-vero.html

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=13183818
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 07:08 AM   #13
Rafterman
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Even if the 70K bid was legit, that's a ridiculous price to pay for a prototype, with a feature that doesn't even work.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 07:12 AM   #14
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no-one else think loads of these Antennae would've got lost if they'd released this?
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 07:19 AM   #15
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Sorry, that snap-off antenna looks like a ridiculous design to me from any angle.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 07:23 AM   #16
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The antenna design is still is a great idea, in my opinion.
Really? Sounds awful to me, I don't lose things but I can imagine many others losing their antennas. Plus why make it detachable in the first place? Why would you want a caping chasm where it used to be?

Have it extendable by all means. But not detachable.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 07:57 AM   #17
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I think it just shows why this stayed a prototype and not a production unit. They were undoubtedly (and may continue to) experimenting with this concept. Maybe it will resurface again some day as a LTE enabled MBP.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 08:07 AM   #18
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Really? Sounds awful to me, I don't lose things but I can imagine many others losing their antennas. Plus why make it detachable in the first place? Why would you want a caping chasm where it used to be?

Have it extendable by all means. But not detachable.
I can imagine it will only snap off when extended, just to prevent it from braking by accident (sleeve of a passing person, fall). However when detracted it won't go off, so you don't loose it constantly in your bag... just my 2 cents.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 08:25 AM   #19
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It wouldn't even draw more battery live if it able to be "turned off" at the software level.
There wouldn't be any question about being able to turn the radio off - it would have to be off in "airplane mode".
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 08:31 AM   #20
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Great idea, hideous design.

I do hope that this works it's way into a notebook soon.

Doesn't this make you appreciate the look of the unibody design?
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 08:32 AM   #21
quizzi
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Originally Posted by foobarbaz View Post
If you don't mind me asking: Why?!
I've never understood those people. Is it supposed to be a joke?
I would of liked the MacBook but I knew the ending price (if it had concluded) would have exceeded my budget.

Take an iPhone auction for example, if the starting price was 0.99 cents, would you put a $10 bid just for the sake of wanting the phone?
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 09:24 AM   #22
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Using the hotspot functionality on my iPhone 4 seems so tedious...
Also unnecessary. You can get internet connectivity out of a USB using Freetether on WebOS. There's no reason Apple can't implement the same thing, aside from probably Carrier Paranoia.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 09:54 AM   #23
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Does it have an x86 or ARM in it?
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 10:07 AM   #24
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such a cool design
I like seeing prototypes in the wild!
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 11:04 AM   #25
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Big bad Apple stepping on the little guy. Again.
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