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Apple Watch prototype exposes the company’s ‘Ultra’ security testing program

New images and video purporting to show an Apple Watch prototype, concealed by a security case that resembles a tiny iPod, offer a rare look behind the product-development curtain of the notoriously secretive company built by Steve Jobs.

The first thing you see is the box it came in, which is more interesting than it sounds. “This product is classified as Apple Confidential and is designated an ‘Ultra’ security program,” the label on the rear declares. “This prototype MUST be returned when recalled.” Other parts of the sticker are masked to hide its origins, but a “PVTe” designation on the rear shows it’s likely for Prototype Validation Testing.

The device is a good deal larger than a Watch and has a home button but no crown. Once turned on, it shows the Watch apps, including Apple’s internal testing software. One of those, the Lisa tester, lets developers adjust the UI elements on the prototype Watch. One of the settings within that app shows Springboard Zoom, a setting that resembles the UI on the original Watch.

There’s no proof that the device is genuine, but an FCC disclaimer and other details certainly make it look that way. If so, it’s an interesting glimpse at how Apple builds prototypes, and provides a rare look behind the company’s iron curtain-like secrecy.

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