When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works

Home / News / Exclusive: New pics of Apple’s unreleased tablet prototype from 1992 – and the Mac that flew on the Space Shuttle

Exclusive: New pics of Apple’s unreleased tablet prototype from 1992 – and the Mac that flew on the Space Shuttle

Jonathan Zufi, who tracked down over 600 Apple machines for his latest book, has given Stuff exclusive pictures of some of Apple's prototypes and its early machines as you've never seen them before.

Software engineer Zufi spent four years on the project, taking 150,000 photos in total, buying 500 products and persuading collectors to give him access to 50-60 prototypes, from answering machines to early tablets like the 1992 Penlite (above).

Apple’s perfect product pictures


Zufi worked with a professional photographer to learn how to photograph the products he amassed in the ‘perfect’ Apple way.

‘The project started in 2009, when I was reminiscing about an old game, Robot War,” he told Stuff.

“I went onto eBay to buy it, and then looked for an Apple II to play it on – and thought it would be cool to see them all in the way Apple show them today in their promo photographs.”

“All the prototypes were really interesting, the whole transparent design was fascinating,” he said.

As a lifelong Apple fan, he believes the firm’s products are unique – and that the new tubular Mac Pro, expected to be launched tomorrow, continues that tradition.

“Having touched and felt everything they’ve made, they are on this incredible journey.”

“Samsung’s Galaxy is a great phone, but you don’t see the heritage there – the attention to detail at Apple is incredible, the Mac Pro really fits in that narrative, it’s beautiful and consistent.”

However, he’s not finished yet.

“There are a few products I couldn’t get – an old box called the Lisa Cluster Controller, a Duofile drive, and a couple of printers.”

“I’m going to keep looking, and people are getting in touch with some fascinating designs.”

Click through our gallery to see some of Jonathan’s incredible collection. You can also order his book Iconic here.

Apple’s Penlite

The Penlite was Apple’s first attempt at a tablet computer, coming before even the Newton.

Created in 1992 and led by Apple engineer Paul Mercer, the project was designed to bring the Mac OS to a touchscreen display – but was shelved in favour of the Newton.

Apple Scribe Thermal Printer Prototype

Apple Scribe

The Apple Scribe was a thermal transfer printer made by Apple and first introduced in 1984 alongside the Apple IIc for a relatively low retail price of US$299 – and Jonathan was able to track down this early prototype of it.

Macs in Space!

Apple’s ‘pizza box’ portable, which was used by Nasa on a Space Shuttle mission.

Apple says the machine was able to get online, and the very first electronic mail message from space was sent by the crew of the space shuttle mission on Friday, August 9, 1991, saying:

“Hello Earth ! Greetings from the STS-43 Crew. This is the first AppleLink from space. Having a __GREAT__ time, wish you were here,… send cry, and CS! Have a nice day…… Haste la vista, baby,… we’ll be back!”

[Source: Apple]

Macintosh TV

Apple TV isn’t the firm’s first attempt to put its products in your living room – this is the Macintosh TV, which combined an all-in-one Mac with a TV tuner.

The Hockey Puck Mouse

Part of Jony Ive’s transparent iMac, the circular mouse shared its unique see-through looks.

Lisa 2


The first hardware revision of the Lisa, the Lisa 2, was released in January 1984 and was priced between US$3,495 and US$5,495.

Much cheaper than the original model, it dropped the ‘Twiggy’ floppy drives in favor of a single 400k Sony micro floppy.

Apple also produced a brilliantly cheesy promo video for the original Lisa machine, which you can watch above.

The First Macbook

Apple’s original Macbook, from 2006.

The original MacBook, available in black or white cases, was the first to feature a ‘sunken’ keyboard and the glossy screen, as well as the shiny polycarbonate casing.

Apple Quicktake 100 & 200 camera

Apple’s foray into digital cameras didn’t last long, but Zufi was able to track down the original packaging for the Quicktake 100 and a Quicktake 200.

Both cameras took images in 640×480 pixels, and the 100 had 1MB of memory, while the 200 had 2MB or 4MB.

Macintosh SE

Manufactured by Apple between March 1987 and October 1990, the SE was introduced at the same time as the Macintosh II, and was designed to accommodate either one or two floppy drives, or a floppy drive and a hard drive.

eMac packaging

Originally intended exclusively for education buyers, demand for the eMac was so high after its April 2002 introduction that it was made available to the public within weeks. Zufi was able to track on down in its original packaging, shown here.

Centris 610

Centris 610

Introduced in February 1993, the Centris 610 came in a ‘pizza box’ casing, boasting 8MB of memory

Personal Laserwriter

Personal Laserwriter

Costing an eye-watering US$6,995 when it was introduced in 1985, this was Apple’s first personal laser printer.

iSight Camera

Launched in 2003, the external iSight was sold for US$149, connected to a computer via a FireWire cable, and could be perched on top of an Apple machine or monitor.

Apple 1

Apple 1

The machine that started it all – a close up of the Apple 1 circuit board, taken by Zufi, copying the style Apple uses on its website today.

Profile image of Mark Prigg Mark Prigg
Enable referrer and click cookie to search for eefc48a8bf715c1b 20231024b972d108 [] 2.7.22