It’s not really a secret that products undergo multiple iterations, some of which hardly look like the finished version that eventually goes on sale. Prototypes are often closely guarded secrets and most get discarded and destroyed, never to be seen by the public’s eyes. Once in a while, some do miraculously make it out. As if that alone weren’t exceptional enough, the fact that this Apple Watch prototype still has working software makes this sighting even rarer.
You wouldn’t be able to tell it’s even an Apple Watch because of the bulky Security Case designed precisely to hide a device’s identity. In fact, it almost looks like a mini iPod, though the button at the bottom is not functional at all.
It also doesn’t exactly look like the retail Apple Watch whose design has basically remained unchanged throughout the years. Instead of Apple’s patented Digital Crown, the prototype had two rather clunky buttons on the opposite side. Apple Watch fans would probably be thankful Apple never went down that route.
The prototype also still had working test software on it, unusual for a prototype, even one that miraculously didn’t get destroyed. It also has a Springboard zoom app that offered an interactive preview of what the watchOS home screen would have been in the end. There are references to “Lisa”, both the Tester app and a Lisa Simpsons icon, that are most likely a nod to the Apple Lisa.
It’s not a usable device for consumers, of course, but the pristine state of this prototype will definitely catch the eyes of collectors. It also gives an interesting insight into the early ideas Apple had with the Apple Watch and watchOS, some of which are still in use today.