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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

An alleged prototype version of Apple's original iPhone has sold on eBay for $1499, with the device appearing to be in excellent condition and containing signal strength measurements etched on the rear casing. The device is also shown running Apple's internal diagnostic software.
I am selling a very rare original iPhone engineering prototype. These were used to test the iPhone's various features. To do so, a special test software was installed, which is still running on the device perfectly.

This is device is especially rare, as it shows the initial iOS version installed and the signal strength values etched on the back. This was done by Apple internally and is guaranteed genuine.
The authenticity of the device has not been confirmed, and similar signal strength etchings do not appear to have been seen on other prototypes, but the device does lack the standard regulatory text on the rear casing that would be present on a non-prototype unit. A reddit user claims to be the buyer of the device, but it has not yet been delivered to allow for further testing of its authenticity.

It is not unusual for prototype Apple devices to appear on eBay, and many of these auctions are quickly removed, presumably at Apple's request. This auction was able to be completed, perhaps due to having been posted for only two days and having ended through a "Buy It Now" purchase well ahead of the scheduled ending time.

Article Link: Purported Original iPhone Prototype Sells on eBay for $1499


macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
I would love one of them. With that; you always have a better iPhone than the next one that comes out :)


macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2007
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
Looks very legit. I recall when the iPhone Dev Team got way back then several iPhone prototypes, one of which was a working one with mock-up software. That software that was running on that device looks eerily similar to this device.


macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
I think I would have asked for more than just $1500 if I was selling it and it was legitimate. In a few decades, I imagine this will be worth $10K+.


macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2013
Damn I wish I knew this was for sale. I would have bought it for probably more lol:apple:


macrumors regular
Oct 28, 2010
Who needs a special personalised "Merry Christmas" message etched on the back when you can have a beautiful signal strength value, bringing back nostalgia and memories of the special moment, the sentimental value and the uniqueness of this gift!
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macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2013
i remember i got a motorola razr that year. thought it was a sick phone, thin and sexy design. still think it was one of the coolest flip phones

then the iphone came out. it may not seem like it now, but back than that was the sh**


macrumors 6502a
Jan 21, 2013
This will be worth much more in the future. I would have not sold it for this little amount of money.

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
Washington DC
The fact that they explicitly identify this one as "OS X" makes me wonder what other OSs they were working with.

The iPhone started with 2 births. One was the iPod team that began by building up the iPod-OS. The other was another group that was tearing down the Mac-OS.

The OS X team ended up winning out.


macrumors newbie
Oct 25, 2008
Windows font used

Weird or funny? The font used on the back is Arial (not Helvetica) - which is from Microsoft Windows...
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