Apple’s lesser known W.A.L.T. phone (Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone) was a thing in 1993, combining telephone and faxing features. And now, you can see in in action in a new video.
Thanks to prolific Australian leaker and writer Sonny Dickson, we now get to see for the first time ever a video of W.A.L.T.R. in action.
As evidenced by the video, the prototype device was powered by Mac System 6. It ran HyperCard instead of the better known Finder interface and featured a built-in monochromatic screen that responded to touch and stylus input.
It’s your classic Mac blended with the company’s ill-fated Newton message pad and a desk phone. There are multiple hardware buttons and ports, like SCSI, VGA out and external audio.
You could customize ringtones, see the caller ID on the screen, edit the address book, send and receive faxes and even access online banking.
And here it is in action.
Designed in partnership with BellSouth, the device never went past the prototype stage. Remarkably, Dickson was able to get his hands on one of these rare prototypes.
From his report:
While it doesn’t amount to a lot today, it’s still extremely interesting to see the device in action, and shows that Apple was thinking about improving the concept of the desk phone (albeit not the mobile phone at that point) for a very long time before the original iPhone finally made its public release.
Manufactured largely from PowerBook 100 parts, all framed with a specialized version of Mac OS Classic that is customized with WALT bootup text and specific WALT related language. It even included a built in hard drive instead of using firmware.
On a related note, Apple famously used a similar skunkworks approach to create prototypes of the original iPhone, which consisted of a PC-style development motherboard that contained nearly all of the iPhone’s parts spread out across a large surface area.
In a true Apple fashion, W.A.L.T. included a manual with a twist:
The unusual manual not only called out the device as a prototype, but also included oddly basic instructions, such as ‘Do not use WALT near water’ and ‘Do not drop WALT,’ as well as an advisement to probably avoid stepping on the cords.
Be sure to check out Sonny’s blog post if you’re interested in a bunch of photographs that show off the internals.
How do you like this piece of Apple history?
Let us know in the comments down below.