A prototype Apple MacBook Pro with built-in 3G networking has gone up for sale on online auction site eBay.
As picked up by MacRumors, an eBay user is selling what is claimed to be a fully functional 15-inch notebook from 2007 that sports a built-in antenna on the lid. It's the very same spot Apple's displayed a cellular broadband antenna on multiple patents dating back to 2008, despite never having shipped a notebook with such a feature.
The seller notes that the 3G hardware itself is picked up by the OS, however inserting SIM cards into the built-in slot has yielded no results. "It is entirely possible it can be made to work by someone with more software and driver experience than myself but I can make no guarantees," the seller said.
According to the seller, the laptop was originally bought from someone on Craigslist, who had listed it as non-functional. When taking it apart, the buyer discovered the SIM card slot and differences in the circuit boards, including a lack of any EMC number--the unique identifier for different Apple computer models.
Three years ago, following the original MacBook Air's introduction, a USA Today interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs made note that the company had explored putting 3G into the first generation MacBook Air, but eventually decided against it based on how much extra room it took up, and that computer buyers would be restricted to a carrier. Though with the iPad, the company's created 3G models on multiple carriers, with the high-end of that line touching up against the company's notebook models in price.
A survey put out by Apple in February suggested that the company still had a model of the Air with wireless wide area networking in mind. The survey offered up several wireless data related questions, including a detailed section on situations where participants would use 3G versus Wi-Fi while computing on the go.
eBay has been host to numerous Apple devices that have never seen the light of day including multiple versions of the iPod and iPhone, as well as Apple's desktop and notebook computers.
Update at 4:01 p.m. PT on 8/15: The auction page notes that the MacBook has been "removed, or this item is not available." As of mid-day yesterday, the pricing had surpassed $2,000.