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Panic shares the first look at the extremely rare first-generation iPod prototype


Cabel Sasser from Panic shared an exclusive look at an extremely early prototype iPod that I think you’ve never seen before. The rare prototype is yellow and quite large compared to the supplied version of the original iPod, although it is from a late product development cycle. Cabel says that this iPod prototype is dated September 3, 2001.

The prototype uses software that is recognizable for the iPod and even has a small scroll wheel in the upper left corner next to the screen. There are several tactile keys arranged vertically on the right side of the device.

It has the same ports that came on the original iPod including FireWire and a standard headphone jack. The screen is extremely small compared to the rest of the yellow case, but it seems to be comparable to the one on the iPod itself. It is unclear in what color the prototype began, but I assume it was light gray or white and yellowed over two decades. Although it is possible that it started from a light shade of yellow.

Panic has long held this iPod prototype and they are finally sharing it with the world on the 20th anniversary of the iPod. Cabel says they have no idea where they got the prototype, but it’s certainly a special part of Apple history that I’d stick with for the rest of my life.

You can read more about the iPod prototype on the Panic blog here and take a walk down the memory with our iPod retrospective here.

Update: The father of the iPod, Tony Fadell, has released a few more details about the prototype. Fadell says this was called the “P68 / Dulcimer” and was designed specifically to hide the final design of the iPod from prying eyes.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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