​Apple Watch prototype leaks – with a glimpse into life before watchOS

Pre-watchOS 1.0 build surfaces
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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.

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.

TAGGED Apple Watch

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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