Apple leaker Sonny Dickson posted a video that features Apple’s aborted attempt at its first phone – the 1993 Apple WALT. It shows off the prototype’s handwriting recognition tech, its address book, and how slow you have to navigate through its menu.
Apple announced the Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone in 1993 as a desk phone that included elements of the Mac and Newton. The prototype was a very ambitious device, but it was never meant to be released to the public. The company hoped that the device would be able to make phone calls, send faxes, access online banking services and take notes.
WALT was produced in a very small number of prototypes but it never hit the market. Just like the PenLite – a tablet prototype based on the company’s PowerBook Duo – it never saw the light of day.
No wonder it didn’t become publicly available; if you look at the prototype shown in the video, you can see that the PowerBook 100 parts can barely keep up with the fast stylus.
Despite this failed first attempt , Apple explored the smartphone idea further and came up with the iPhone almost a decade and a half later. WALT represented the company’s first steps in the smartphone direction, so even when you fail, you gain experience.