The photos show a prototype stainless steel Apple Watch concealed within a silicone security case, marked with a redacted serial number. Apple usually transports its prototype and testing units in thick protective cases that are intended to mislead and conceal the true design of the product.
Interestingly, the security case seems to resemble a third-generation iPod nano with a click wheel. In the years leading up to the announcement of the Apple Watch, it was not uncommon for some users to use the sixth-generation iPod nano as a watch using third-party cases. It is therefore fitting that Apple disguised the original Apple Watch as an iPod nano.
Prototype Apple Watch (Original) with matching Security Case and box. The Security Case was used to conceal the design before release durning transportation; and makes the Watch look similar to an iPod Nano. #appleinternal pic.twitter.com/2q0y8l6oso
— Apple Demo (@AppleDemoYT) September 1, 2020
The prototype was allegedly used for internal testing before the official release of the original Apple Watch. The device came in a cardboard box marked “Apple Confidential,” with multiple warnings about unauthorized use.
Images of original Apple Watch prototypes have surfaced before, showing slight variations from the final design. While no useful information can usually be gleaned from most prototypes, it is interesting to see how Apple conducts the development of its products before they reach the market. Prototype devices are hotly desired by collectors and occasionally surface on auction sites and at device recycling facilities.