Take A Look At Apple’s First iWatch

A page from legendary industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger’s book showcases a forgotten Apple-branded “smart” watch–from the 1980s.

Apple still hasn’t said anything publicly about making an iWatch, although it has been beefing up its staff with designers and sensor experts who could probably build a pretty nice one. If such a device were to ever grace wrists the world over, however, it wouldn’t be Cupertino’s first stab at a mini-computer. Apparently, Apple already made one. In the ’80s.


Swept away by the sands of time is this 12-key “smart” watch that was never formally revealed in front of the public. It doesn’t have a screen, but it does pair with a headset that, curiously, has enclosed hardware sensibilities similar to Google Glass.

It was designed in a collaboration beginning in 1982 between Steve Jobs and legendary industrial designer and Frog founder Hartmut Esslinger, whose book Keep It Simple: The Early Design Years of Apple reveals the iWatch 1.0 along with other retro-futuristic concepts and products, some of which never made it to store shelves.

It was a productive relationship, at least if history is any indication. For all this vintage iWatch seemingly lacks in functionality, at least it looks pretty sweet, informed by a sense of restraint that’s become a core part of Apple’s DNA. The feature-packed Galaxy Gears of 2014 might be able to learn a thing or two.

[h/t Apple Insider]

About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.