Design history book reveals Apple's first stab at a connected wrist watch

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
If Apple does unveil an "iWatch" later this year, it won't be the first time the company considered a wrist-worn communicator, according to a recently-published retrospective of Apple's design history by legendary industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger.




One image from Esslinger's book -- entitled "Keep It Simple: The Early Design Years of Apple" -- reveals a keypad designed to be worn on a user's wrist that pairs with a wireless headset. The photo is one of a number excerpted from the book and published by German weekly Die Zeit.

The keypad sports 12 keys in all, one each for the numbers 0 through 9 and what appears to be one key each for star and pound. The headset, meanwhile, is a single-earpiece design with an integrated microphone that would curve around to the wearer's mouth.

Also shown off in the tome is a monolithic, foldable workstation-in-a-box concept based on the Lisa. The now comically large-looking prototype boasts a full Lisa computer, a monitor, a telephone, and a printer in a single package.




Both pieces seem to follow the "Snow White" design language that Esslinger created at the behest of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 1984. The designs first appeared in production with the Apple IIc, and the company began phasing Esslinger's work out following the release of the Macintosh IIfx in 1990.

Esslinger joined Apple on an exclusive contract in 1982 but left the company after Jobs's ouster. Esslinger followed Jobs to NeXT, but did not rejoin Apple upon Jobs's return in 1997.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,073member

    image

  • Reply 2 of 12
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    Is it me or does the mouthpiece look like a old school hockey goalie stick?
  • Reply 3 of 12
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,193member

    The display is just gorgeous and the all-in-one earphone combo mic was obviously designed for the monaural audiophile to wear not only for comm and music but as a fine fashion accessory. One might imagine that it got pulled on advice from legal due to neck strain (since there is no counter weight the balance the audio gear it might have left them open for a class action suit) ¡

  • Reply 4 of 12
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    Just my personal opinion. If there's anyone who was able to out-reality-distortion-field Jobs, it was Hartmut Esslinger. Jobs was completely duped by this guy with his white square boxes covered with dust collecting grooves. But Jobs finally came to his senses after Esslingers brilliant Next black box with dust collecting grooves, and embraced a true design genius in Ive.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Okay, so I have this nice, extensive book of Apple product product images… but it doesn’t include images of all of the Snow White prototypes! This is actually my first time seeing this headset/wristwatch combo! I’m a little disappointed in my book now.

  • Reply 6 of 12
    mac_128 wrote: »
    Just my personal opinion. If there's anyone who was able to out-reality-distortion-field Jobs, it was Hartmut Esslinger. Jobs was completely duped by this guy with his white square boxes covered with dust collecting grooves. But Jobs finally came to his senses after Esslingers brilliant Next black box with dust collecting grooves, and embraced a true design genius in Ive.

    Did you not find Esslinger's designs groovy?
  • Reply 7 of 12
    jakebjakeb Posts: 559member
    Snow White was awesome. Much better than the weird mid-90s Performa style

    http://www.forevermac.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/macintosh-lc-520-300x264.jpg
  • Reply 8 of 12

    It is funny watching that video. all those computers and monitors on the table.  We have come along ways in a short amount of time. All that he was talking about we do with our phones. lol

     

    Momma was having fun with her all in one computer (Macs) and dad was stressed out with his room full of computers (Windows machines).

     

    They have flat screen. lol

  • Reply 9 of 12
    jakeu26jakeu26 Posts: 44member
    Okay, so I have this nice, extensive book of Apple product product images… but it doesn’t include images of all of the Snow White prototypes! This is actually my first time seeing this headset/wristwatch combo! I’m a little disappointed in my book now.
    Is it Iconic, by chance?
  • Reply 10 of 12
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by jakeu26 View Post

    Is it Iconic, by chance?

     

    That’s the one.

  • Reply 11 of 12
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,035member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post



    Just my personal opinion. If there's anyone who was able to out-reality-distortion-field Jobs, it was Hartmut Esslinger. Jobs was completely duped by this guy with his white square boxes covered with dust collecting grooves. But Jobs finally came to his senses after Esslingers brilliant Next black box with dust collecting grooves, and embraced a true design genius in Ive.

    Not saying today's design are not better, but at the time you had the Apple design (your so call dust collecting groves) or the alternative which such in all the surrounding dust and stuck it to the inside of your computer.

     

    Apple computer for what ever the reason did not collect as much dust as their contemporary counter parts

  • Reply 12 of 12
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    Okay, so I have this nice, extensive book of Apple product product images… but it doesn’t include images of all of the Snow White prototypes! This is actually my first time seeing this headset/wristwatch combo! I’m a little disappointed in my book now.

    The prototype section in Iconic is only 43 pages. I'm sure he would've added these as well if either he or his publisher had decided to make the book even more extensive and thicker. But alas, they simply couldn't have added everything they got their hands on.
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