It's not uncommon to come across gadgets on eBay that never made it to market, but this is certainly a unique find. Seller russel400 has posted a prototype of Apple's unreleased WALT, or Wizzy Active Lifestyle Telephone. Introduced in 1993, right around the same time as the Newton came out, WALT was to be a companion for a home phone. Like the Newton, it had a touchscreen, stylus, and handwriting recognition. However, that's where the similarities ended. WALT was apparently designed closely with BellSouth, and offered an integrated address book, caller ID, custom ringtones, fax services, and even access to online banking. It also ran a stripped down version of System 6 with a HyperCard GUI replacing the finder. Clearly the device was ahead of its time.
Sadly, or perhaps mercifully, WALT never saw the light of day beyond prototyping. However, it's not alone in the annals of Apple's abandoned touchscreen devices. While the Newton made it to market, WALT was cast aside along with the PenLite — a tablet version of the PowerBook Duo that ran a full install of System 7.
The seller of this particular WALT claims the device is has some "loose connections," but thinks that someone with the electronics knowhow could get it working again. If you want take a stab at it, or just want a rare piece of Apple history, it can be yours for the price of 16 new iPads or $8,000.
- Source: eBay (Apple WALT prototype)