1981 April Fools cover for Byte Magazine imagines smartwatch of the future


The image you see above was designed by Robert Tinney, an artist who contributed many a magazine cover for Byte back in its prime. A “master of the airbrush”, his work helped give the sci/tech magazine some of its voice in the 70s and 80s.

This particular cover was designed for the April 1981 issue (April Fools) and was a tongue-in-cheek look at the future of computers. Seeing as how these were yet to make their way into the homes of average families, PCs were still big and clunky with 5.25-inch floppy drives.

This is, obviously, an amusing image. The notion that a wrist computer might have a floppy-disk drive, a QWERTY keyboard and a tiny text-based interface was a good joke in 1981, and an even better one when seen through the lens of nostalgia.

If you’re a fan of this image or of Mr. Tinney’s work you can purchase prints for $75 each.