Apple's 1993 W.A.L.T. Combined Telephone and Fax Machine Prototype Seen in Action in New Video

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    At Macworld Boston in 1993, Apple introduced a prototype device called the Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone, or the W.A.L.T., the company's first desktop telephone and, like the Newton, a precursor to the iPhone.

    Little is known about the W.A.L.T., and while it's been seen in images, there's never been a video of it in action, until today. Sonny Dickson this morning shared a video that shows the W.A.L.T. being used, and it's a fascinating look at early Apple technology.


    Unsurprisingly, the W.A.L.T. takes a while to start up given its age, but it's functional, running Mac System 6. The W.A.L.T. featured a touchscreen, fax functionality, on-display caller ID, a built-in address book, customizable ringtones, and online banking access.

    As shown in the video, it had a series of hardware buttons for activating various functions, and it worked with a connected stylus that could be used for navigation and writing. There's a ton of lag when using the stylus, though, so writing doesn't look great.

    [​IMG]

    The video walks through many of the available operating system options, from a user identification card to fax settings, which included options for customizing notifications, creating greetings, and more.

    W.A.L.T., which was designed with telephone company BellSouth, was made from PowerBook 100 parts, and according to Dickson, prototypes came with an "unusual" manual that included basic instructions like "Do not use WALT near water" and "Do not drop WALT."

    [​IMG]

    Apple shelved W.A.L.T. and ultimately did not release the device, but the remaining prototypes provide an interesting look back at Apple's development efforts more than 25 years ago.

    Dickson also has a selection of photos showing the hardware inside of the W.A.L.T., which are well worth checking out if you're interested in classic Apple hardware.

    Article Link: Apple's 1993 W.A.L.T. Combined Telephone and Fax Machine Prototype Seen in Action in New Video
     
  2. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

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  3. needfx macrumors 68040

    needfx

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  4. tethead macrumors 6502

    tethead

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  5. Jimmy Bubbles macrumors 6502

    Jimmy Bubbles

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    #5
    that was awesome! The abilities of tech were much more farther along than many probably think or remember.
     
  6. decafjava macrumors 68040

    decafjava

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    #6
    Indeed, I love this experimental and precursor stuff from the 80s and 90s. Like the French Minitel or a similar Canadian system called Telidon.

    Yea, don't remind me of lag on my old modem circa 1994-95.
     
  7. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

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    #7
    Ah the sweet Minitel!!!
     
  8. MvdM macrumors regular

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  9. needfx macrumors 68040

    needfx

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    one more announced apple product that never made production
     
  10. lunarworks macrumors 68000

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    #10
    That load time. Jeez.

    Through the nostalgia goggles of our memories computers of that era loaded just as fast as they do now, but the reality was you could turn them on and have time to go make a sandwich.
     
  11. magicschoolbus macrumors 65816

    magicschoolbus

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    Even the early Apple prototypes used skeuomorphism
     
  12. AngerDanger, Apr 9, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019

    AngerDanger macrumors 601

    AngerDanger

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    A touchscreen phone? Ha, that'll be the day! Kind of odd to see a story about the W.A.L.T. without mentioning the infamous W.A.L.T. Junior:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. mikethemartian macrumors 6502a

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    #13
     
  14. cmaier Suspended

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    No gif? WTH, man!?!?
     
  15. lunarworks macrumors 68000

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    Skeuomorphism was a valuable design practice when people were transitioning from using physical objects to virtual objects. It gave them familiar design cues to ease learning. Now that people have been using those digital interfaces for decades skeuomorphism is little but an aesthetic choice.
     
  16. Unity451 macrumors 6502

    Unity451

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    #16
    Sometimes the best way to keep something in place is a good ol' piece of electrical tape.
     
  17. BigBoy2018 macrumors 6502a

    BigBoy2018

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    Geez that thing took a long time to boot. Must have a 5400rpm spinning disk inside or something.
     
  18. lavem macrumors member

    lavem

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    #18
    I may be wrong but isn't that thing using a light pen, and not a touch screen? Looked unbearable to use!
     
  19. justperry macrumors G3

    justperry

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    #19
    What long, a mac in the early 2000 to halfway 2010 (might be even later) took that long to boot, especially when there were a lot of extensions/Applications loading.

    We're in 2019, I know a settopbox which takes double that time to boot.
    (Ziggo Mediabox XL)
     
  20. stevenglassman macrumors newbie

    stevenglassman

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    #20
    I agree! The vintage Orlando map and the references to Barnett Bank (R.I.P.) were kind of nice to see.
     
  21. NachoGrande macrumors 6502a

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  22. pstevem macrumors newbie

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    When did they announce this product?
     
  23. jtrenthacker macrumors regular

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  24. decx macrumors newbie

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    Probably less. It's running a Conner CP2045 SCSI 40MB drive.
     
  25. coolfactor macrumors 601

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    #25
    I couldn't finish the video. Even my Mac SE running System 6 was quicker than that! Was this prototype severely underpowered?
     

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