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Former Apple designer reveals original sketches, other tidbits about genesis of Apple Watch

One of the early design sketches of the Apple Watch. (Source: Imran Chaudhri)
One of the early design sketches of the Apple Watch. (Source: Imran Chaudhri)
Apple Watch is by a long way the world’s most popular smartwatch and it is now five years old. To mark the occasion, one of the former lead designers for the Watch has taken to Twitter to reveal some behind the scenes details never before revealed.
Sanjiv Sathiah,

Smartwatches have been around for a number of years with companies like Sony leading the way. Sony, incredibly, even owns the name ‘smartwatch’ among its trademarks although it now seems to have given up on making them anymore. It wasn’t until the Apple Watch launched, just on five years ago, that Apple hit on the winning formula of giving emphasis to health tracking features that smartwatches went mainstream.

To mark the five-year anniversary, one of the lead designers of the Apple Watch has taken to Twitter to reveal some of the history behind its creation and his involvement in it. Imran Chaudhri is no longer with Apple, which perhaps explains why he has given a rare insight into its early development without fear of getting the sack. Chaudry reveals some details that have never before been aired.

Among the tidbits is an early sketch of Chaudhri’s impression of how apps would work on the device with the user able to scroll endlessly through the apps and swipe between screens. Although the first idea didn’t quite make the cut, it is similar to what followed, while the second idea persists today and has been emulated in Android Wear OS among others. Chowdhri also revealed that the watch-like iPod Nano gen-6 was used as one of the early prototypes for the device.

Sadly, Chaudhri  and his team didn’t get to show Steve Jobs the fruits of their labor as he passed away just after the initial prototype had been finished.

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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2020-04-26 (Update: 2020-04-26)
Sanjiv Sathiah
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.