If you’re reading this, you are likely reading it from your iPhone. The phone changed the world as we know it back in 2007, and it was truly one of, if not the most, innovative product in recent memory. Steve Jobs was one of the greatest innovators and this was his Picasso.
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As it would turn out, Apple had big plans for an Apple-branded phone all the way back in 1993. Thanks to Sonny Dickson, a reliable Apple leaker, we have a video of the W.A.L.T in action.
What in the W.A.L.T.
W.A.L.T. stands for Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone and was originally a desktop phone. It was announced at MacWorld 1993, but never saw the light of day as it was never released to the public. Someone managed to get their hands on a few, as samples were found on eBay for around $8,000.
The difference between those samples found on eBay and this W.A.L.T is that those were not functioning samples. The prototype shown in the video below via Sonny is perfectly functional, giving us the ability to see what Apple was up to, along with some pretty sweet features, given the time.
One of the interesting aspects of the W.A.L.T. was that it had everything that your smartphone already has, almost 15 years before the iPhone was announced. These features included:
- Full Touchscreen
- Fax and Caller ID Support
- Built-in Address Book
- Ability to customize ringtones
- Online Banking Access
To make things even more interesting, the W.A.L.T. also featured full handwriting support, similar to the Newton. For the unaware, the Newton was Apple’s failed attempt at a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). This product included a stylus and was released in 1993, before being discontinued in 1998.
While watching the video, you can see just how slow the W.A.L.T. takes to boot up. This is because it was running a modified version of Mac OS 6, along with an old spinning hard drive. Some of the connections included were VGA, external audio, and many others.
From the Newton to the iPhone
Despite being a disaster from the start, the Newton gave Steve Jobs a base to work from as the development of the iPhone began. This product made life easier for its users (when it worked), as you could take advantage of the stylus and perform many different tasks throughout its life.
Nonetheless, W.A.L.T. is just another example of how many different products Apple has been working on over the years. And although these products may not actually hit the market, that doesn’t mean that they are lost and forgotten forever.
This combined with the recent photographs of the original iPhone prototypes gives us a nice trip down memory lane. And looking at the slab of glass in your hand compared to the likes of the original iPhone or even the Newton, show us just how far technology has come in such a short amount of time.