Alleged iPhone prototype surfaces -- and check out that logo

A device that looks similar to the iPhone 4 has cropped up on eBay. But the full-moon "protologo" on the back is certainly not an Apple marking.

A look at the odd logo on the back of the purported iPhone 4 prototype.
A look at the odd logo on the back of the purported iPhone 4 prototype. Screen capture 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 eyepatch. 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 it's 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 -- $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 $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.

Read the full CNET Review

Apple iPhone 4S - 16GB - white (Verizon Wireless)

The Bottom Line: The iPhone 4S isn't the king of cell phones, but it's part of the royal family nonetheless. Even without 4G and a giant screen, this phone's smart(ass) voice assistant, Siri, the benefits of iOS 5, and its spectacular camera make it a top choice for anyone ready to upgrade. / Read full review

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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