System 7.5 Apple Watch (1995)

The Apple Watch was released in 2015, right? Not exactly.

Twenty years before the (smart) Apple Watch, Apple offered a product they referred to as an Apple Watch as a “FREE gift” for customers who updated their operating system to System 7.5. From May 1 to July 31, 1995, Apple allowed customers who paid $134.99 for System 7.5 to select between two gifts, the software application Conflict Catcher 3 (by Norton to resolve Mac system extension problems) or this Apple Watch. An article written in 1994 that is (surprisingly) still available online (as of February 2020) outlined all the methods to upgrade to System 7.5.

The Apple Watch (1995) was not a smart watch, but it was high-style for the mid-1990s. The watch followed the “Memphis” design aesthetic that originated in Milan, Italy. In an article presenting ten iconic examples of Memphis design, the origin of the style is reported as, “The Memphis Group…a collaborative design group founded by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass” (Creative Bloq). This Apple Watch is included among ten designs in the article. The style itself is “characterized by ephemeral design featuring colorful and abstract decoration as well as asymmetrical shapes, sometimes arbitrarily alluding to exotic or earlier styles” (Wikipedia).

The Memphis Design group is still represented online at www.memphis-milano.com. Even a cursory look at the designs on the site reveals an unmistakable connection to the look of the 1995 Apple Watch.

As an Apple collector, I have been searching for this Apple Watch for many years. I was able to acquire an example from a friend of mine from Minnesota.

If you wish to see the original print advertisement for this Apple Watch offer, I found a version published in the June 1995 MacWorld magazine. The vintageapple.org website has digitized past MacWorld issues and a PDF is available here. Please see magazine page 82 for the full-page ad.

Sources: Cult of Mac, Creative Bloq, Wikipedia, TidBITS

AirPort Base Station (original, 1999)

The original AirPort Base Station was released along with the original iBook (blueberry and tangerine) at the 1999 MacWorld conference and expo in New York City. An optional AirPort card was available for the iBook (a repackaged Lucent ORiNOCO Gold Card PC Card adapter) and this graphite AirPort Base Station provided one of the first consumer WiFi base stations that was relatively easy to set up and manage.

The original AirPort system including the AirPort card and AirPort Base Station allowed transfer rates up to 11 Megabits/second.

Soon after MacWorld, Apple began airing a TV commercial for the AirPort Base Station featuring a 1950s-style Sci-Fi soundtrack and the base station flying in like a flying saucer.

Sources: Wikipedia, Museums Victoria (Australia)