These Apple Watch prototypes date from a year before it was even announced

Apple Watch Prototypes
Apple Watch Prototypes (Image credit: GIULIO ZOMPETTI)

What you need to know

  • New Apple Watch prototypes have surfaced after an Italian was able to buy them.
  • He says the came from e-waste facilities.
  • They have markets consistent with Apple prototype devices.

Apple released the first Apple Watch in April 2015 and since then it's become the dominant force in the smartwatch market. But before there can be any product, there must be prototypes. And some Apple Watch prototypes dating to around 2014 have surfaced after they were picked up from e-waste recycling facilities.

As Motherboard notes, Giulio Zompetti, a 27-year-old from Northern Italy isn't saying exactly where these things came from as you might expect. But he does say that while they're all broken, all of the important parts remain. He hopes to repair the prototypes and then sell them on.

And, according to Motherboard, it looks like these are in fact the real deal – they have all the markings of an Apple prototype.

Apple Watch Prototype

Apple Watch Prototype (Image credit: GIULIO ZOMPETTI)

Some of the watches display a rare logo reminiscent of the Star Wars' Death Star, a logo that's been displayed on iPhone prototypes in the past. Zompetti has a history of obtaining rare prototype Apple devices, and he believes these are authentic Apple devices. The markings, QR codes, and logos on them are reminiscent of prototype iPhones Motherboard has seen and used in the past.

We often see prototype iPhones, MacBooks, and more appear on eBay of all places before they mysteriously disappear. Apple Watch prototypes are rare, however, and it's super interesting to get a glimpse at one from before the world even knew what an Apple Watch was.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.