Listed as an engineering prototype version of Apple's original 2007 iPhone, the device features special test software and one or two special features that didn't make it over to the production version -- including an inability to make or receive phone calls.
Just like the Apple I revolutionized the personal computer market, there is absolutely no doubt of the impact the iPhone has had on the smartphone market or on modern connected consumer behaviour since its launch in 2007.
In recent months working versions of Apple's first-ever product -- originally launched in 1976 -- have been fetching up to $600,000 US at auction and now it looks as if the iPhone is starting to obtain collector's status.
Over the course of 2013, pristine examples of the first-generation smartphone have been attracting bids of up to $1,000 on auction sites like eBay, but the successful sale of an engineering prototype version of the handset by Australian eBay user applefancollector is different as Apple usually forcibly shuts down auctions pertaining to unofficial or pre-release versions of its hardware.
However, the device remained listed and attracted 37 bids before eventually selling for $1,499 plus shipping on Monday.
The phone, described as being in full working order, differs from the eventual iPhone 1 in some respects. The biggest difference is that its rear panel is etched with all of its internal component details -- software version, Bluetooth, wi-fi and the GSM bands it supports.
The other notable difference is that it doesn't run a full version of the phone's operating system, but rather a special test version designed to check the phone's internal hardware components. The result is a phone that cannot be used to make or receive phone calls in its current state.
However, as only four or five examples of this engineering prototype are believed to exist, this problem hasn't dampened collectors' enthusiasm.