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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

Alleged iPhone prototype surfaces — and check out that logo

(Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET)

An iPhone has surfaced on eBay that looks nearly identical to the iPhone 4. There's just one issue: the logo doesn't match up.

The device on the front looks identical to the iPhone 4, boasting its prominent screen and black body. On the bottom, it lacks the screws found in the iPhone 4, but includes the speaker and microphone ports found in the final device. However, those ports appear to be longer than those in the final product.

It's on the back, though, where things get a little crazy. On the bottom of the device, where the "iPhone" moniker is typically displayed, there is, instead, the word "Prototype". And towards the top of the device, where Apple's logo typically appears, the device features an odd symbol — it looks like a full moon sporting an eye-patch. According to 9to5 Mac, which was first to discover the device, that symbol is the "protologo".

The protologo has found its way to Twitter in the last couple of weeks, tweeting on its own behalf. According to a description on its Twitter page, the Protologo is "Apple's super secret Prototype logo".

The eBay listing doesn't make any mention of the special logo, but claims that the device is a prototype and unique. The listing reads: "Apple iPhone 4 32GB N90AP Prototype Unreleased Switchboard Tester Unit".

"This is one of a very small amount of Apple prototype devices, and never seen on eBay," the product's description reads. "This iPhone is a functional representation of this design. This iPhone is not only unique in its hardware, but it's running Apple's software testing suite, called SwitchBoard, which is used to test the devices functionality. Usually, these prototypes are disabled by Apple, but this one is fully functional."

The device is currently fetching a hefty sum on eBay — US$4,500 — though there's only one bid at that price and there are four days left in the auction. Those who want to buy it outright and sidestep the auction can cough up US$10,000, the seller says.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the alleged prototype. We will update this story when we have more information.


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