Before the Apple Watch there was the Seiko WristMac; rare find goes up for bids tomorrow

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Before the Apple Watch there was the Seiko WristMac; rare find goes up for bids tomorrow

26 years before the Apple Watch launched, the Seiko WristMac was released in 1988. The timepiece used AppleTalk to connect to a user’s Macintosh and stored phone numbers, handled both daily and weekly recurring alarms, and single-time alarms. It also was used to take notes which then would be exported as a text file to a disk.
The WristMac’s claim to fame took place on August 28, 1991, when the astronauts aboard the Atlantis Space Shuttle sent the first email from space. The WristMac units that they were wearing helped them connect with the Macintosh Portable and Apple Link software that went along for the ride aboard the shuttle. In 1991, the New York Times reported that the WristMac would be used to sound an alarm and show a two-line reminder on its display to remind the astronauts to do some of their tasks.

The Seiko WristMac was released 26 years before the Apple Watch was released

A WristMac watch purchased by someone for less than $50 from a Connecticut Mac warehouse’s going out of business sale is being auctioned by ComicConnect (via AppleInsider). The winning bidder will take home the original (opened) box, registration card, reference manual, software floppy disk, packaging, and the ultimate prize: an unopened Seiko WristMac watch; Serial No. 70216.

According to the description on the ComicConnect website, “This is an extremely rare and obscure piece of tech history, and an incredible find for collectors, investors, and Apple fans. It has rarely been seen since its inception over 30 years ago, and it will likely be years before another one comes to auction anywhere. This is a can’t-miss piece of computer history.” Stephen Fishler, ComicConnect CEO and Cofounder says, “The WristMac is so rare, it’s hard to predict what it will sell for. We couldn’t find any recent confirmed sales.”
Bidding for the WristMac starts at $1, and the auction starts online tomorrow, November 22nd, at noon ET. The rare watch could end up being sold for a price in the range of $25,000 to $50,000. This was a wearable before the term was coined.
The first time we mentioned a possible Apple smartwatch was in February 2013. On February 10th of that year, we passed along a rumor that Apple was working on a smartwatch that would run on iOS. The design at that time was based on Corning’s Willow Glass that could bend without breaking. There was speculation that the device would be equipped with Siri and would be able to send and receive texts among other things.

Why Apple didn’t call its smartwatch the iWatch

Just three days later we told you that Apple had 100 people supposedly creating a wearable device that everyone figured would be called the Apple iWatch. But Apple could not use the iWatch name because the name was already used on a trademark application by OMG Electronics in September 2012. The company tried to raise funds to build a smartwatch on crowdfunding site Indiegogo in September and October of that year and could only raise $1,434 which was well short of the $100,000 goal.

Before OMG Electronics filed its trademark application for iWatch, a big Apple firm named M.Z. Berger & Co. submitted an application to trademark the iWatch name in 2007. That application was successfully challenged by Swiss watch maker Swatch who complained that consumers were apt to confuse the iWatch with Swatch watches.

This was hardly the first time that Apple had to deal with a company that owned a trademark that the company wanted. It took exactly three years to the day that the late Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone for Apple to actually own the name of the device. Before February 9th, 2010, Cisco (U.S.) and Comwave (Canada) owned the iPhone name in their respective countries as both companies were developing VoIP products.

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