Pippin prototypes were assembled by Apple Computer for development and evaluation of the Pippin platform before consumer consoles were released by Bandai in 1996. These rare items are of particular interest to collectors of retro computing. Such systems shipped with developer ROMs, allowing them to run pre-release software without authentication.
- Pippin Concept Prototype (EVT-1): Constructed by Apple in a custom black box, these early Engineering Validation Test units are more similar to a Power Macintosh computer than a set top console. It was first unveiled at MILIA '95 at Cannes in January. It was also demonstrated by Bandai at Macworld Expo Tokyo '95 in February, where the "Pippin Power Player" brand was first used. About 10 units were sent to Japan in October 1995 for testing. A few found their way into auction sites years later.
- Design study models: Between September 1994 and February 1995, Ray Riley and Rick Johnson of Apple Computer collaborated with Dave Laituri and Gilbert Wong of Lunar Design to develop the industrial design of consoles and controllers for the Pippin platform. Early models of product designs bore the Bandai logo.
- Pippin Power Player (EVT-2): These prototype consoles closely matched the final design of the Pippin Atmark. Pre-release units were not yet branded with logos and were sometimes modified with cables to attach external SCSI drives. 3,000 Power Players were manufactured in December 1995, of which 1,000 were seeded to developers and 500 were supplied with updated "monitoring" ROMs for market testing. One such pre-release console was displayed by Apple at Macworld Expo San Francisco '96 in January, where the tentative name "PowerStation" was reportedly used. Bandai officially named the console the Pippin Atmark and began taking pre-sale reservations at Macworld Expo Tokyo '96 on February 22.
- Pippin Atmark-PD: Designed as a direct replacement of the original Atmark footprint, it would have included an internal drive that could read a standard CD-ROM disc, as well as read/write to a Phase-change Dual (PD) disk with 600 MB of rewritable optical storage capacity. An external SCSI port would have allowed additional devices to be connected, or for the console itself to function as an external PD drive for a computer.
- Pippin Atmark-EX: Featuring a footprint similar to a Macintosh desktop unit, it was designed with 8MB of RAM, expandable to 40MB with standard 72-pin EDO-DRAM modules instead of proprietary Pippin memory modules. The CD-ROM drive was upgraded to a 8x speed. The chassis could handle a half-sized PCI card internally. The displayed unit contained a PCI-based ethernet interface, a built-in analog modem, and wireless infrared (IR) Apple Desktop Bus. The expected list price estimated to be about JP¥ 100,000.
Other unreleased models include:
- Apple Interactive Television Box (ITV): Not to be confused with a Pippin console, this earlier 68LC040-based set-top box was first prototyped in 1993 and entered into consumer trials in 1994. However, it was cancelled before the Pippin Atmark was released.
- Apple Macintosh NC: A network computer based on Oracle's Network Computer Reference Profile and Apple Computer's own Pippin 2.0 specification. Gil Amelio, the CEO of Apple at the time, stated that their device would be "kind of a Pippin Plus."
- Apple Pippin Set-top box: Similar to the layout of the early Pippin Concept Prototype, this unit combined the functionality of a game console with a satellite receiver and DVD-R drive. The translucent panel opened to reveal smart card access, AppleJack and audio connectors. The processor would have been upgraded to a 120MHz PowerPC 603e on an 80MHz bus under the Pippin 2.0 specification.
- Arborescence Network Centric computer: During Marché international des Inforoutes et du Multimédia '97, Groupe Arborescence announced a partnership with Katz Media to develop and market a new Euro-Canadian console based on the KMP 2000 for the Canadian market. Arborescence also announced a Pippin Expansion Unit that would have been the first "combo" expansion dock with a floppy drive and ethernet (or modem) through the PCI bus.
- (Prototype) Apple Pippin by Pierre Dandumont, Le journal du Lapin (French). 2013-04-26.
- Les ROMs de la Pippin by Pierre Dandumount, Le Journal du Lapin (French). 2016-07-02.
- Bandai Pippin Image Archive by Bryan G. Villados, The Mac Geek. 2017-04-15.
- Macworld TV Tokyo 1995 by KandaNewsNetwork,Inc., YouTube. 2013-08-29.
- Apple Pippin Prototype, ASSEMblergames. 2013-03-17. Archived 2014-11-04.
- Mais qui a créé le design de la Pippin ? (French) by Pierre Dandumont, Le Journal du Lapin. 2019-03-10.
- AppleDesign: The Work of the Apple Industrial Design Group, p.201 by Paul Kunkel and Rick English. Graphis Inc. 1997-10-01.
- 開発用PIPPIN (Japanese) by みすてぃく, PIPPINであそぼ～. Archived 2002-11-07.
- Un prototype de Pippin sur eBay by Pierre Dandumont, Le journal du Lapin (French). 2016-12-11.
- Macworld Expo/SF 1996 Report by Koya Matsuo, YouTube. 2016-05-10.
- Putting all its eggs in one box, InfoWorld, p.49. 1996-01-29
- Is Pippin a Breakthrough or Outmoded on Arrival? by Andrew Pollack, New York Times. 1996-03-14.
- アップル不在のMacworld Expoが開幕 (Japanese) by 林信行, PC User, ITmedia. 2010-02-11.
- Macworld Tokyo: Of Cameras and Macs by Chuck and Linda Shotton, Tidbits. 1997-03-03.
- Pippinは元気です！ From B.D.E by 松山由美子, MacWeek / Japan. 1997-02-20. Archived 1998-12-01.
- Atmark-PD (Japanese, Shift JIS), Bandai Digital Entertainment. Archived 1997-10-25.
- Atmark-PD (Japanese), Atmark Channel. Archived 1997-06-29.
- Atmark-EX (Japanese, Shift JIS), Bandai Digital Entertainment. Archived 1997-10-25.
- Atmark-EX (Japanese), Atmark Channel. Archived 1997-06-29.
- An Early Apple Set Top Box Prototype from 1993! by Mac84, YouTube. 2018-06-08.
- Apple TV Prototype Sells on eBay for 46 Bucks by Brian X. Chen, Wired. 2010-05-05.
- Options will make Pippin 2 a home, network computer by David Morgenstern, MacWeek vol.10-37. 1996-09-30. Archived 1996-12-20.
- NC coalition frames plans for Net boxes by James Staten, MacWeek vol.10-21. 1996-05-27. Archived 1996-12-20.
- Apple Pippin Set-top box, Studio Taktika. 2006-06-07.
- Press: Arborescence launches the first Canadian-content Network Centric computer, Katz Media. 1997-05-22. Archived 1997-07-13.
- Arborescence introduce the first COMBO Pippin doc/base module! by Joe Kudrna, O'Grady's PowerPage: Pippin NewsPage. 1997-08-03. Archived 1998-02-07.