Finding your Apple Watch useless? Here’s something to do: install Windows 95 on it.
Tenigi Insights’ Nick Lee did just that, although getting it to work was another story. By the specs, Apple’s wearable should be able to run Microsoft’s now 21-year-old operating system. The Apple Watch sports a 520MHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 8GB of storage, well above the original minimum specs Microsoft recommended at the time.
Lee is the same gentleman who gained notoriety in 2010 for sneaking a flashlight app with a hidden tethering feature onto the App Store. Apple discovered Lee’s handiwork after the press publicized his efforts, and the app was removed after only a few glorious days of sticking it to your mobile phone carrier.
Getting Windows 95 to work is quite a process, Lee found out. Apple’s devices by nature are a tough nut to crack and the Apple Watch is no exception. A loophole within the WatchKit SDK — that’s developer talk for a set of tools used by developers to create Apple Watch apps — allows you to run your own code rather than Apple’s. Lee used that to rig an emulator that runs traditional PC software.
From there, a disk image of a Windows 95 installation was uploaded and viola — Windows 95 on an Apple Watch was born. A word of warning for those about to try this at home: Lee waited almost an hour just for the operating system to boot, mainly because emulation is not the best method to try and run an operating system.
We don’t want to leave the impression that this actually works. It doesn’t, and the Apple Watch fights back in just about every way. Lee had to jury rig a device that turned the digital crown every few seconds, as the above video shows. The cursor also must be controlled by your finger, which might be a whole different problem altogether.
Remember, in 1995 we weren’t really designing PC user interfaces for touch, and combined with the fact that the emulated nature of the whole setup makes this extremely slow, there’s really not much use for Lee’s work.
Then again, if you have a lot of time on your hands, we suppose that it is at least somewhat cool that you can get this to operate at all. If you want to try it yourself, head on over to Nick’s GitHub page, and warranty be damned.