Selling My Pre-release iPod – or maybe not

We’re having a little family fundraiser to cover some unexpected expenses. As a result, I decided to part with my rare pre-release first generation iPod and put it up for auction on eBay.
While I was at Apple, I was one of a bunch of internal testers for the iPod. When the testing was done, all the volunteers had a chance to trade in their beta iPods for ‘real’ ones, but I never got around to it. So I still have the pre-release unit.

Somewhat surprisingly, it continues to work, and using it reminds me of how far this little device has come in such a short time.


Well, that’s interesting. I just got an email from eBay saying they had taken the auction down. Here’s what they said:

The rights owner, Apple, Inc., notified eBay that this listing violates intellectual property rights. When eBay receives a report of this type of violation, we remove the listing to comply with the law.

I don’t know how selling an old iPod can violate their rights, but you can’t fight city hall (or eBay or Apple either, apparently).

For the curious, here’s the details

A rare opportunity to own a piece of Apple history – one of the first iPods ever made

How I came to own this

When the iPod was about to be introduced, the engineering team recruited a number of Apple employees for last minute testing of the new ultra-secret device. Each tester was given an iPod; I was one of them. After the official release, everyone had the chance to trade in their pre-release (aka PVT) iPod for a new ‘real’ one if they wanted. But I never got around to exchanging mine, so I still have it.

Most of these early units were turned in to Apple and recycled, so very few exist anymore. I don’t have any way to know precisely, but this is certainly one of the first hundred or so iPods ever built.


• The iPod still works, and the battery holds a charge very well. But it is being sold as a collectible, not a usable iPod.
• Includes the pre-release 5GB iPod, FireWire cable, charger and earphones.
• The included original earphones are somewhat interesting too. The first batch of iPod earphones were bigger (approximately 18mm in diameter). But the testers and others early users complained that they were too large and uncomfortable. So all subsequent batches of the iPod’s earphones were somewhat smaller (about 16mm).
• It can be sync’d with current versions of iTunes.
• The back of the case is somewhat scuffed and the plastic is slightly discolored in places. See photos.

There were hardware changes made before the actual release, which mean the firmware in this unit cannot be updated using the standard update mechanism built into iTunes. If the unit ever needs to be reset/restored, there’s a special utility, which I’ll include. If you were to update it with a current iPod updater, it would be damaged and probably not work any more.

6 Responses to “Selling My Pre-release iPod – or maybe not”

  1. damacguy says:

    …and the auction is gone apparently.

  2. maxtozar says:

    I’m an Apple fanatic and I’d love to have this for my personal collection. I promise I’m not going to resell. Can you please give me a reasonable price. thank you.


  3. maxtozar says:

    I’m still waiting for your reply. Thank you.

    Max Tozar

  4. I responded via email.

  5. Henryh says:

    I would be interested in it. I collect different iPods(about 5 as of now-1 of them, a 1st gen nano never worked right :( )
    If you could email me with a price, that would be great :)

  6. Sorry, but the iPod is no longer available.

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