Before the Apple Watch, there was the Apple TimeBand

in Future Apple Hardware edited October 2014

Well, actually there wasn’t, but there was an Apple TimeBand ‘wrist watch’ (running System 7?) created as a concept piece by the “Industrial Design Group” who displayed it on the March/April 1991 back cover of Industrial Design magazine. (See pic below. Love the cute little yellow mouse marble!) It has buttons on the left that imply phone connectivity and print service. On the screen, menu item Schedule has been selected and the Select Transportation Type dialog box displays Airline, Train, Bus, Ship/Ferry and Interplanetary options to chose from. The TimeBand uses the rainbow Apple logo on the watch but the ad cover itself has the newer pure white logo up in the corner, implying that Apple approved the design and is advertising this advanced industrial design work at Apple.


So, who is this 1991 “Industrial Design Group?” We’ve all heard of how Frog Design helped Steve Jobs design the iconic Apple ][c, introduced the Snow White design language used by Apple during 1984–90, and continued with the design of several Macintosh models. However, I’ve never heard of any mention of an external company called Industrial Design Group helping Apple. Perhaps then it means this 1991 ad is a public announcement of Apple’s choice to bring all industrial design in-house by creating the Apple Industrial Design Group, headed by Robert Brunner. The ad implies it’s a new Apple Industrial Design Group but never states it as a fact. “Industrial Design Group” are the only three words printed on the full-page ad.


Are there any historians out there who can shed any light on TimeBand or the creation of the Apple Industrial Design Group (other than the existing Wiki article)? Was this their first product? Curious Apple fans want to know…

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