Rare prototypes of the first Apple Watch uncovered

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2020
A collector has bought an assortment of early prototype Apple Watches, dating from before the device went on sale in 2015, and plans to sell them once fully repaired.

All of the prototype Watches are broken
All of the prototype Watches are broken


Just as with every hardware manufacturer, all of Apple's products go through prototyping, and some such prototypes show fascinating choices that were ultimately abandoned. Now a series of approximately six prototype Apple Watches have been displayed by a collector.

This is a thread on what we know about Apple's prototyping and development process of manufactured products.

1/ All info here could be incomplete/wrong/outdated. I may (or may not) update this thread in future if I have enough things to share #AppleInternal #AppleCollection pic.twitter.com/G5Pk1v9rT4

-- Giulio Zompetti (@1nsane_dev)


While collector and developer Giulio Zompetti, from Italy, will not reveal where he acquired the prototypes, this is not another case of an Apple engineer leaving them behind. Rather, they all come from an unspecified e-waste facility, and all of them are broken.

However, according to Motherboard, Zompetti says that each can be repaired. At present, none are even starting up enough to show any differences in the software, but they do contain sufficient markings to prove that they are prototypes -- and sufficient differences to the shipping model to make them interesting.

Zompetti has used his discovery and examination of these Apple Watches as part of a Twitter thread in which he discusses Apple's regular prototyping process.

Pre-production #AppleWatch #prototypes at PreEVT stage.
This particular design didn't make it to the mass production.#AppleInternal pic.twitter.com/Nb4LrDL649

-- Giulio Zompetti (@1nsane_dev)


Zompetti told Motherboard that enough key components in the prototypes are intact that he believes he can repair them. However, while he does then plan to sell them, he has yet to state a price. "This stuff doesn't have an estimated value," he said.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,748member
    I find it hard to believe that Apple lets these end up at an "e-waste facility" in any condition remotely resembling a watch.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    Somethings odd here. 

    Unlikely that Apple takes products developed in their secret rooms and drop them in public e-waste. Even if they did it is unlikely someone would find these buried in mountains of other ewaste. 

    Also, the model number is 123456 on one side of the watch and a shortened 12345 elsewhere on the same device. Why is the serial number intentionally blurred?
    edited April 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 8
    tardistardis Posts: 94member
    I have a collection of Apple Watches, one from 1999, one from 2010 and one from 2016.

    Strictly speaking, the first two belong to my wife and the third is mine. The first was a birthday present. It is of course an analogue watch, and was only ever on sale in Japan, available in 5 colours to match the iMac G3. Next was an iPod Nano 6G Product RED with matching red wristband, purchased from the Cupertino Apple Store. My own is a Nike Run version. 

    All three still work .....
    Beatsloquiturwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,052member
    Apple is gonna find out who the e-waste company is and sue them. It's just plain illegal.
    Beats
  • Reply 5 of 8
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,529member
    Remember when the uninformed thought Apple Watch was created to copy Samsung Gear crap? They're so different. Funny to remember this in retrospect and funny to see Sammy get it so wrong going off Apple patents.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    mike1 said:
    I find it hard to believe that Apple lets these end up at an "e-waste facility" in any condition remotely resembling a watch.
    I'm not massively surprised, have picked up prototype Macbooks, iPods and iPhones complete from e-waste facilities.

    I also got a bunch of unreleased Apple watch SOCs and a couple of Test Pathfinder boards ... from an office clearance service. Apple had left them in a rented lab when they moved out.
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 8
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,856member
    Interesting find. I’m still rocking a gen0
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 8
    loquiturloquitur Posts: 130member
    tardis said:
    I have a collection of Apple Watches, one from 1999, one from 2010 and one from 2016.

    Strictly speaking, the first two belong to my wife and the third is mine. The first was a birthday present. It is of course an analogue watch, and was only ever on sale in Japan, available in 5 colours to match the iMac G3. Next was an iPod Nano 6G Product RED with matching red wristband, purchased from the Cupertino Apple Store. My own is a Nike Run version. 

    All three still work .....
    Cool.  Then there was the official Apple "Think Different" watch whose hands ran backwards.
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.