Despite creating an entire lineup of ultra portable notebooks with the MacBook Air, Apple still has not added 3G connectivity as a feature of its laptops. However, a new eBay auction reveals that the company has in fact been testing MacBooks with cellular network connectivity.
This laptop was originally purchased from Craigslist as a non-functional parts machine. Upon removing the top case it was immediately clear this was no normal Macbook Pro: the circuit boards inside were bright red as opposed to the normal blue! Further inspection found multiple differences from the stock version, most notably a feature never seen in a Macbook laptop of any kind: what appears to be a fully integrated cellular modem and SIM slot. There is an extendable cellular antenna located at the right top side of the display assembly (The antenna is marked with "Tyco Proto / #006" when slid out), and a standard size SIM card slot located underneath the memory cover on the bottom of the machine. The SIM card board is connected to the logic board via a connector not found on production machines. The solder footprint for it is still present on the production boards and not populated, which is interesting. This would seem to suggest that it was a last minute decision to remove the cellular functionality before going into mass production. The optical drive is marked as a "Sample for Evaluation". Rather than a normal EMC Number the specifications lapel simply says "XXXX", and the serial number does not show up in Apple's online database. Rather than use the machine for parts I of course had to put the time into repairing it to its original condition and see what happened!
The seller notes that despite getting the computer up and running he was not able to get it working with his SIM card; although, it is seen by the operating system and recognized as a modem device usable to connect to the internet with various configuration options.
The current bid price is $2,065.00 with 4 days and 11 hours left.
Read More [via MacRumors]