Leaked prototype turns the clock back to early days of Apple Watch

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Apple Watch
The Apple Watch has come a long way since its early days.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A Twitter user by the name of @AppleDemoYT has posted images online they claim to be an early Apple Watch prototype, built as part of the pre-production process before Apple introduced the device in 2015.

Such prototypes are very rare, with Apple preferring not to show images that shed light on how it develops products. Somehow this one made it out in one piece — provided it’s legitimate, of course.

Rare Mac prototype with Twiggy drive goes up for auction

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Apple Macintosh prototype with 5.25-inch drive
Look closely. This Apple Macintosh prototype is different from the final version in a big way.

A prototype Apple Macintosh used in the development of MacWrite can be yours, if you can scratch up about $180,000. It’s almost unique because of a disk drive different from the one used when this revolutionary  computer shipped.

Rare Mac laptop rakes in more than $16,000 at auction

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Hap Plain
This early backlit Mac laptop sold on eBay for more than $16,000.
Photo: Hap Plain

An Apple prototype of an early laptop, one of only four known to exist, sold on eBay Tuesday evening for more than $16,000.

It was the second time the owner of the Apple Macintosh Portable M5126 – fully functional and with a rare-for-its-time backlit screen – tried selling the test device on the auction site. Last month, bidding closed at just over $10,000 but the buyer backed out.

Bidding for rare Mac prototype starts at 99 cents

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Hap Plain
This early backlit Mac laptop sold on eBay for more than $16,000.
Photo: Hap Plain

A rare Macintosh prototype that was once rescued from the trash recently sold for more than $10,000 on eBay.

But the winning bidder backed out and now, the clear-plastic Macintosh Portable M5126 laptop is back on the auction site. Bidding started at 99 cents with no reserve.

Birth of the iPhone: How Apple turned clunky prototypes into a truly magical device

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iPhone 2G prototype
iPhone 2G prototype
Photo: Jim Abeles/Flickr CC

iPhone turns 10 The world had never seen anything like the iPhone when Apple launched the device on June 29, 2007. But the touchscreen device that blew everyone’s minds immediately didn’t come about so easily.

The iPhone was the result of years of arduous work by Apple’s industrial designers. They labored over a long string of prototypes and CAD designs in their quest to produce the ultimate smartphone.

This excerpt from my book Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products offers an inside account of the iPhone’s birth.

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Steve Jobs’ original Apple-1 is going on display

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jobscomputer-1240x834
New exhibition will show off the most important computer in Apple history.
Photo: Living Computers

An ultra-rare Apple-1 prototype used by Steve Jobs as a demo unit is going on display at a Seattle computer museum. It’s the crown jewel of an impressive collection of vintage Apple gear that will be housed in a new wing opening Friday at Living Computers: Museum + Labs.

Lāth Carlson, the museum’s executive director, calls the Apple prototype “the most important computer in history” — and also “the most boring to look at.”

Apple’s weirdest, wackiest and worst products, this week on The CultCast

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Let us remind you of the weird Apple products that time forgot.
Let us remind you of the weird Apple products that time forgot.
Photo: Hartmut Esslinger

This week on The CultCast: We laugh and cringe about Apple’s weirdest, wackiest and worst products of all time! Plus: How Michael Scott almost single-handedly destroyed Apple; the cool new features in the iOS and macOS betas; facial recognition is coming to iPhone; and a look at the beautiful prototypes that led to some of Apple’s most iconic products.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to accept Apple Pay and sell your wares with your very own Squarespace.com website. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10 percent off any hosting plan.

This is the iPod-style UI originally built for iPhone

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Good thing Apple didn't ship this.
Good thing Apple didn't ship this.
Photo: Sonny Dickson

The original iPhone nearly came with a digital click wheel that mimicked the iPod’s interface, according to video of an alleged prototype running the software that has not previously been made public.

Former Apple engineers confirmed in the past that Apple created a click-wheel-based solution for the iPhone’s software during the early stages of development, but until now, no one outside Apple had seen what it looked like.

Apple prototype collector in search of rarely seen devices

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A "clear shot" prototype of an Apple Powerbook 140.
Photo: Jonathan Zufi

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugSerious Apple prototype collectors usually know exactly what they are looking for as they try to build a physical timeline of each distinct device ever made. A Holy Grail artifact would be an Apple I. Fewer than 50 are said to exist.

Hap Plain wants the pieces none of us, including him, have ever seen.

He is one of a very select subculture who search the world over for Apple prototypes. Before being polished into the personal computing icons of our lives, Apple computers, iPods, iPhones and other devices start out as crude, unfinished test models so glitches and user experience hangups can be identified and worked out before hitting the market.