eBay pulls pre-release iPod auction at Apple’s request

An auction by former Apple employee Mike Evangelist for a pre-release first-generation iPod was posted on eBay Sunday, then removed today at Apple’s request. According to Evangelist, the iPod was acquired while he was at Apple as part of an internal testing program, and never exchanged for a final released version.

Otherwise fully functional, the pre-production unit can be synced with the current version of iTunes, but requires a special utility for restoring the software, as hardware changes made before the official release preclude this unit from being updated/restored using the standard mechanism. In addition, the unit included slightly larger earphones than Apple actually shipped with retail units—they were reduced in diameter from 18mm to 16mm following tester complaints.

After posting the auction, Evangelist received an e-mail from eBay noting that “[t]he 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.”