Every gadget that graces our shelves goes through plenty of tweaks and changes during its design phase, but it isn’t too often that we get an actual glimpse of those scrapped iterations. It can be tremendously cool to see what our stuff could have looked like in some alternate timeline, and a new eBay listing reveals a peculiar iPad that may have been.
The listing is for an early first-generation iPad prototype, and unlike the final model it sports two dock connectors, allowing the iPad to be docked in either portrait or landscape mode.
Astute readers may recall that some of Apple’s earlier iPad-related patents pointed to a dual-docking device, and nearly three years later, we’re finally getting our first real look at one. Long story short, it looks just as dumb as you would expect it to. While the ability to dock the iPad in either orientation is arguably useful, it makes for a design that isn’t as clean or as thoughtful as Apple is (usually) known for.
It probably goes without saying that this early 16GB iPad is more of a conversation piece than a fully functional gadget, though. The seller notes that the touchscreen doesn’t work properly thanks to some funky digitizer issues, though it’s possible that someone with enough gumption (and the right tools) may be able to get it running again.
The prototype also runs an early build of iOS 3.2 along with Apple’s Switchboard hardware testing suite. It’s nothing that will make its eventual owner’s life any easier, but it certainly lends a bit of credence to the notion that it is actually some in-house Apple hardware instead of a carefully crafted hoax.
Between this and that Atari-era Steve Jobs memo, Apple aficionados have plenty of Cupertino memorabilia to lust after. Of course, it’ll cost you a pretty penny should you try to score this piece of iPad history — the prototype currently sits with a $4,800 bid, but it could be yours for a cool $10,000 if the whole bidding-on-things bit isn’t your style.