A rare prototype of the Apple Watch has surfaced, which offers a glimpse into the development of the company’s ubiquitous smartwatch.
Twitter user AppleDemoYT has shown off the unit, which enabled developers to test the pre-release version of watchOS.
The watch is still inside a security case, although one shot shows the prototype hardware outside of its secretive housing.
The software is clearly a pre-watchOS 1.0 release, but bears a heavy resemblance to what we see today. In fact, some of the menus look nearly identical to elements of watchOS 7, which was released in September 2020.
Prototype Apple Watch with Security Case runs an Internal Pre-WatchOS 1.0 build, complete with internal testing apps and development settings. It’s extremely amazing that something like this could still exist; without having been destroyed. #appleinternalpic.twitter.com/WDTWP0NpIp
— Apple Demo (@AppleDemoYT) December 27, 2020
There’s no date for when this build was from, but we’d estimate that it could be 2013. The first Apple Watch was debuted in late 2014.
There’s not a whole lot to learn, but there are a few little nuggets.
Keen-eyed readers will spot the Apple Lisa app – a reference to the Apple computer from the 1980s – that appears to be an internal debugging tool.
It also has a Springboard Zoom feature, that according to AppleDemoYT, demos an interactive version of the home screen.
It’s pretty rare for stuff like this to survive and make it out into the wild, so it’s neat to see a glimpse of what the Apple Watch looked like during its development.
It’s a technological snapshot in time, not particularly revealing or explosive, but interesting none-the-less.