MacBook Pro prototype with ‘Integrated 3G Cellular Modem’ up for sale on eBay

The device seen in the image above is an original Apple MacBook Pro prototype dating back to year 2007. This is not an ordinary MacBook as you can see it has a 3G antenna built right into it. It features a SIM slot too that would have allowed users with a high speed 3G connectivity if it had released publicly. The antenna on this device looks a bit ugly, but of course this is just a prototype and Apple would have replaced it with a better solution.

Sadly this product never came out of Apple’s laboratories and we still do not have a 3G enabled MacBook.

According to MacRumors this prototype, that is now up for sale on eBay, was found by its seller on Craigslist who bought this for its parts.

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.

Basic hardware specifications for this Apple MacBook Pro 3G prototype are

  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz Dual-Core Processor, 4MB L2 Cache
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM (2x 1GB Modules, Expandable to 6GB)
  • 320GB Hard Drive
  • 15.4″ Widescreen LCD Display, 1440 x 900 resolution
  • Slot-load 8x SuperDrive Multiformat DVD-RW Burner
  • nVidida GeForce 8600m Video with 256MB Dedicated Memory
  • 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
  • Dual-Link DVI Video Out
  • Built-in iSight Webcam
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n Wireless
  • LED Backlit Keyboard with Ambient Light Sensors
  • ExpressCard/34 Expansion Slot
  • Built-in Bluetooth 2.1
  • 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Cellular Data Modem (Please see information below!)