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Pulled eBay MacBook 3G sports magnetic antenna

More details emerge about the prototype MacBook Pro with a 3G networking antenna that was briefly on sale on eBay before being pulled.

The mystery antenna.
The mystery antenna. Macrumors

Following this weekend's brief, but notable eBay listing of a MacBook Pro notebook with a built-in 3G antenna and SIM card slot, the seller has provided more details on the device, the sale of which never went through.

According to the seller, who posted additional details on the forums of Macrumors, the auction for the prototype machine was pulled at Apple's request for infringing on "copyrights, trademarks or other intellectual property rights."

In a follow-up forum posting, the seller provided additional photos of the device, which sparked interest given that Apple has never shipped a notebook computer with built-in 3G networking capabilities. Of note is the exterior antenna, which in a follow-up photo, is shown to be removable, and affixed to the machine's display only with magnets.

"Reading through the thread the antenna seems to be the hottest topic, mostly how 'ugly' it is. Really in person it seems quite well designed, and not out of place with the rest of Apple's look," the seller, who goes by the name "Evilroot" wrote. "Also after reading the post earlier about the patent application I was surprised to find that the antenna actually follows that exact description: it is attached with a magnet and snaps off!"

As Macrumors notes, that system matches up with a patent filed in 2008 outlining just such a physical set-up, complete with magnets that would let it break away cleanly, without being damaged. Apple employs a similar patented technology for the MagSafe power adapters for its notebook computers.

The auction for the device is reported to have topped $70,000 before being pulled, a number that took the seller by surprise.

"Honestly I'd expected it would bring maybe $1k or so as a unique collectible piece, because searches on eBay showed that people really like rare Apple stuff," the seller wrote in a forum posting. "Apparently they like it more than I thought."