Apple Debuts New Watch
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  Stephen Lam—Getty Images

Apple's First Version of the Watch Was Surprisingly Low Tech

Apr 02, 2015

Apple's earliest Apple Watch prototype was basically just an iPhone strapped to somebody's wrist with velcro, a new story detailing the Watch's origins reveals.

In the early days of the the Apple Watch, software for the device was being developed at a quicker pace than the hardware, according to Wired. That meant the Apple Watch team had to rely on a decidedly bootleg method of developing the user interface: Essentially emulating the Apple Watch software on a modified iPhone.

Via Wired:

The goal was to free people from their phones, so it is perhaps ironic that the first working Watch prototype was an iPhone rigged with a Velcro strap. “A very nicely designed Velcro strap,” Lynch is careful to add.

The team built a simulator that displayed a life-size image of an Apple Watch on the screen. Software was moving much more quickly than hardware, and the team needed a way to test how it worked on your wrist. There was even an onscreen digital crown—a facsimile of a watch’s classic knob—that you could swipe to spin, but it hardly replicated the feeling of twisting a real crown. Swiping, after all, is what the knob was supposed to replace. So they made a custom dongle, an actual watch crown that plugged into the bottom of the phone through the cord jack. In a sense the first true Apple Watch prototype was, like 10,000 Kickstarter projects, just a weird iPhone case with a strange accessory sticking out of it.

The Apple Watch is due out April 24, with preorders beginning April 10.

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Read the rest of Wired's story here: iPhone Killer: The Secret History of the Apple Watch

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