Giulio Zompetti, a developer who collects Apple device prototypes, today shared some photos of the third-generation iPod touch with rear camera, giving us a clear look at the design variation that Apple tested.
Best unit of my whole collection.#prototype #iPod touch 3 with rear camera, a feature that wasn’t present on the related production device.#AppleInternal #Apple #AppleCollection pic.twitter.com/SeVxBvTL8w — Giulio Zompetti (@1nsane_dev) May 27, 2020
Back in August 2009, prior to when the third-generation iPod touch launched, MacRumors received photos of the prototype model with camera, sparking rumors that the upcoming device could launch with a camera.
At the time, it was believed that Apple scrapped the camera from the iPod touch late in the design process. Final versions of the iPod touch had an empty space where a camera might have been positioned.
After leaking in 2009, a prototype version of the third-gen iPod touch was spotted in a video in May 2010, and ahead of that, in April 2020, a couple of prototype models with camera showed up on eBay.
The eBay seller at the time said that he purchased the models at a flea market from someone who had bought them from a live auction in the Bay Area. Prototype devices like the third-generation iPod touch are hotly desired by collectors and surface on auction sites. Zompetti has in the past said that some of his devices are surfaced from device recycling facilities.
While the third-generation iPod touch didn’t end up with a camera, Apple added it in the fourth-generation model along with a microphone. The fourth-generation iPod touch featured a 0.7-megapixel rear camera alongside its 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera.