The original Apple Watch was released five years ago today — April 24th, 2015 — and Imran Chaudhri, a designer who worked on the team for the first Apple Watch, shared some fascinating behind-the-scenes info about the product’s development in a tweetstorm today.
Check out Chaudhri’s reproduction of the original sketch of the Apple Watch’s home screen, for example — it looks as if the concept for the “honeycomb” array of apps was part of the design of the device even in its earliest planning stages. And I think the early “E.T.” name for Digital Touch, described in the second tweet below, is quite clever, especially because you have to do an E.T.-like finger point on your Apple Watch’s display to use the feature.
digital touch was originally called E.T. for electronic touch. i called it that for its potential as a new form of emotional connection.— Imran Chaudhri (@imranchaudhri) April 24, 2020
the drawing “ink” was inspired by my graffiti days. the ephemera was designed to communicate transmission while making it guilt free. pic.twitter.com/FadGhf8ho9
Chaudhri also shared that the first Apple Watch prototype was built using a sixth-generation iPod nano attached to a watchband. If you don’t remember, that iPod nano was the small, square one. It was also a device that The Verge’s editor-in-chief Nilay Patel actually reviewed as a watch for Engadget.
i‘ve always loved straps that were uncomplicated, the mechanism for the loop watchband was an evolution of velcro speedmaster straps worn by apollo astronauts. pic.twitter.com/8FLSRC1NrV— Imran Chaudhri (@imranchaudhri) April 24, 2020
Chaudhri also shared a photo of one of the butterflies used for the Motion watchface, and that he created the Solar watchface in part to help Muslims observing Ramadan know the position of the Sun at a glance.
i created the solar watch face as a way for muslims observing ramadan to quickly see the position of the sun and for all to understand the sun’s relationship to time. #RamadanMubarak pic.twitter.com/4mcmIknqjm— Imran Chaudhri (@imranchaudhri) April 24, 2020
Since its release, the Apple Watch has become a huge hit for Apple — it now sells more watches than the entire Swiss watch industry. Apple has also added a lot more health-focused features, given the device a full redesign with 2018’s Apple Watch Series 4, and last year, finally added an always-on display so you can always see the time.