updated 07:00 pm EST, Thu December 8, 2011
Multiserver, ROM card, power adapter
A trio of rare Apple prototypes from its early years, never sold to the public, have made their way onto Ebay for auction. The first is a never-before-seen prototype box (now empty) for a proposed product in the mid-80s called the Apple "Multiserver." The second appears to be a prototype ROM card from an Apple II, circa 1978, and the third item is a unique power adapter for a Powerbook Duo 270c, reports AppleInsider.
The Multiserver prototype case was likely built simply as a demonstration of what the finished product would look like. The seller indicates that the product is really a 3Com 3 Server metal chassis repainted and with custom Apple-specified connectors on the back, with a front plate by Frog Design (a third-party company that did much Apple design work in the 80s).
Despite the chassis being empty, it is still described as being "big and heavy" and weighs 24 pounds, which will add considerable shipping cost to the final price. It measures 17 inches by 16 inches, and is six inches tall. The current high bid on the item is $760 after 19 bids with four days left to go.
The second item is a prototype ROM card potentially for an early Apple II from 1978. The seller says he is unsure of where the device might have been used, but the year and the Apple Computer logo of the time are unmistakeable. The small board features six large chips with stickers on them that indicate their board position in handwritten letters (also indicated in smaller etchings on the board itself).
At present the item has attracted no bids, and has a starting price of $100. The seller describes himself as a long-time collector of rare Apple parts, but adds that this board has not been tested to determine if it actually works. The auction is sent to end tomorrow, December 9th.
The third lot consists of two items, but the interesting portion is a prototype power adapter not seen before and never offered for sale by Apple. The power adapter, made by ASTEK, is paired with a Macintosh PowerBook Duo 270C, which dates to late 1993 (confirmed by picture). The PowerBook was apparently used by an Apple manager (a business card and hard case that accompanied the PowerBook are offered as verification) but the case and card are not included in the bid. The PowerBook's battery no longer works, but the machine itself appears to boot up and be functional after more than 17 years. The adapter has a model number of AA19200.
Currently, the auction for the PowerBook and adapter has received no bids (auction just started yesterday and will run for a month). The starting price on the combination is $500. It is unknown as to why Apple never ended up using ASTEC for future power supplies. [via AppleInsider]
Apple (II?) Prototype ROM Card
ASTEC Prototype Power Adapter