The Apple Watch first went on sale in April of 2015 and we’re getting closer and closer to a full decade of the world’s most popular watch. But there were of course plenty of prototypes before that model went on sale and we’ve seen some of those pop up online in recent years. But none of them have been quite so old as this one.
This new prototype is in the hands of the Apple collector Giulio Zompetti with photos shared with 9to5Mac. While Zompetti had previously shared photos of an Apple Watch prototype from early 2014, it seems that this one is even older than that and was being put through its paces in December of 2013.
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The newly shared prototype is apparently running a version of SwitchBoard that is based on the same version of iOS 8 that used to power the iPod touch at the time. SwitchBoard is software that is used inside Apple to allow its engineers to test specific features and components of a device before it progresses to wider testing. But there are some other notable differences here as well.
For one, Zompetti says that the charger that was provided with this prototype appears to be different from the ones sold with Apple Watches. They say that no other Apple Watch will charge via this specific wireless charger which suggests that there is something specific to the Apple Watch prototype. The prototype also features a different heart rate sensor layout than the one we’re familiar with, while the Digital Crown is also slightly different in shape from the models that went on sale.