from Game Boy and Tetris to new AirPods

In late November, Apple device collector and insider Giulio Zompetti tweeted posted photos of prototypes of Apple’s 29W charger and AirPods headphones with a transparent case.

He repeatedly gave out various information about Apple devices in his account. So far, these are only prototypes, and it is not a fact that the technique will receive just such a performance. Most likely not, but transparent gadgets have always looked somehow futuristic.

These are far from the first gadgets (especially prototypes) in a similar design from Apple. For example, Twitter user @DongleBookPro posted Macintosh Classic prototype with transparent casing.

Well, the well-known iMac G3, which was made in a translucent body, looks good even after many years. By the way, this one could be seen at the recent Demodulation 2021 from Yandex.

Many who grew up in the 90s remember two of the most famous portable devices in Russia in transparent cases – the Game Boy (and, preferably, Color) and its cheaper brother – Tetris, more precisely, a device with a bunch of Tetris species and, possibly, a snake. And if not everyone could afford the first one, then transparent Tetris could be seen in many.

Transparent portable devices were not limited to gaming devices. So, with the boom of mobile phones, manufacturing companies began to exercise in various options for creating devices with transparent parts of the cases. That is, it was not just a transparent case, where the insides were visible, but a completely transparent part of the phone. For example, the LG GD900 Crystal slider released in 2009 with a transparent bottom part – a keyboard.

In the same year, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pureness was released, which looks like the complete opposite of a phone from LG, not a slider, and the screen was transparent (but not quite, slightly darkened so that you could see it). These were rather the last attempts to hook the market with some unique feature, because in 2008 the iPhone 3g was presented at WWDC in San Francisco, and in 2009 – the iPhone 3gs, after which the mobile device market changed dramatically.

True, the first completely transparent phone was not presented by Apple – it was made by Polytron Technologies. This device was announced in 2013, special glasses were developed for it, there were some opaque parts in it: a circuit board, slots for a SIM card, a slot for a memory card and a camera. But the device was more captivating with its uniqueness than characteristics: a dull display, not the best processor and the price of a good smartphone did not play into the hands of the manufacturer. In Russia, this device was supposed to be sold, but somehow it did not work out.

And this is not all smartphones with transparent displays, so just last year Samsung patented a new technology for a fully transparent phone.

Well, how not to mention in this collection the smart TV Mi TV LUX Transparent Edition from Xiaomi, also released in 2020. And at the moment, this is perhaps the best implementation of devices with full transparency. Although not without reservations.

Perhaps some other devices have not been included in this collection. But I wanted to show the evolution of transparent devices using simple examples, but not quite, so this collection did not include joysticks from consoles in transparent cases, ordinary home phones in transparent cases, etc.

As for the presented prototypes from Apple – in the beginning, most likely, they were made just to see how such devices function. And in the case of the Macintosh Classic, apparently, to see how much space is left in the case.

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