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The unusual world of Mac prototypes

Benji Edwards | Nov. 26, 2012
If you've been a Mac fan for more than a few years, chances are you've seen or even used Apple's most famous computer models. What you don't often see are the machines that Apple kept to itself-the prototypes that never reached the market.

While the Classmate came close to production, it never reached the market, and Colby left the Macintosh development world to work with video technology.


Apple Paladin (circa 1995)

Apple Paladin

In the mid-1990s, Apple tinkered with creating an integrated, all-in-one office appliance that included a computer, telephone, scanner, fax machine, modem, and printer. The result was the Apple Paladin prototype. It combined the guts of an Apple PowerBook Duo 230 (including its grayscale monitor) with a StyleWriter 1200 printer in a sleek white enclosure.

Early tests of the unit proved problematic, and after an internal corporate reshuffle, the Paladin was left without a division to call home, so it never reached the market.


Apple MultiServer (circa 1985)

Apple MultiServer

In 1985, Apple announced the Macintosh Office system, which would combine AppleTalk networking, a laser printer (the LaserWriter), and a networked file server for use in a business environment.

Of those three components, only two shipped. Apple never managed to release a file server during that era, although it certainly tried to develop one. One such attempt was the Apple MultiServer, seen here in an extremely rare prototype form owned by Jonathan Zufi, proprietor of Shrine of Apple.

Beneath its Apple-branded skin, the MultiServer would have been a rebadged 3Com 3Server, a network server powered by an Intel 80188 CPU. Presumably, it would have run 3Com's 3+ file sharing software and not an OS designed by Apple.

According to Shrine of Apple, the server was cancelled at the last minute and the unshipped units were used for Apple's sales offices.

Apple did eventually ship its own dedicated server systems (the Workgroup Server series), but not for another decade.



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