With rumors circulating about upcoming Apple releases in anticipation of the Worldwide Developer's Conference next week, we can't help but think back to simpler times when options were limited and gadgets were bulkier. Old school tech may not be the most functional, by today's standards, but it still holds a special place in our memories.
Take Eugene Polley's Flash-Matic, for example. While it may not feature as many options as today's all-in-one remote controls, we're fascinated by how a "beam of magic light" changed the channel with a click of the trigger.
Polley, who passed away in May, introduced the world to the wonders of the first wireless remote control in the 1950s. A few years before his death, he claimed the Flash-Matic was "the greatest thing since the wheel," according to Yahoo News.
We've also got a soft spot in our hearts for other tech staples of the 19th and 20th centuries, most of which would be about as useful today as a Guttenberg printing press installed in your apartment.
Check out the gallery below to see the Flash-Matic and seven other old-school gadgets that make us nostalgic.
While other original tech devices look somewhat like their modern-day counterparts, the first wireless remote control is unrecognizable next to its compact and complex successors we use today. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/22/flash-matic-remote-eugene-polley_n_1536620.html" target="_hplink">Created by Eugene Polley</a>, the Flash-Matic dates back to 1955 when a "beam of magic light" allowed users to change the channel on their boxsets.
Handmade by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Apple's first computer is now an expensive antique. About 50 of the Apple I computers have survived through the years, while only six are said to remain in working condition. In 1976, the model sold for $666.66, but now the iconic piece of computer history fetches <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/02/apple-i-auction-sothebys_n_1562894.html" target="_hplink">upwards of $120,000 at auction</a>.
How did the world get by before flash drives and cloud-based services like Dropbox and Google Drive? With floppy disks, of course -- the original flash drive. Introduced to the market by IBM in 1971, the floppy disk was <a href="http://inventors.about.com/od/computersandinternet/a/FloppyDisk.htm" target="_hplink">named for its flexibility</a>. Floppies measured 8 inches in size when they debuted; the devices would soon be manufactured in 5.25-inch and eventually in 3.5-inch sizes. <em><strong>CORRECTION</strong></em>: The original version of this slide misstated the size of IBM's first floppy disks. They were 8 inches, not 12 inches.
Invented in 1891, the rotary telephone required callers to use finger holes to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXxP3eQiTQI" target="_hplink">spin a circular dial</a> in order to input each individual number. The early telephone used electrical pulses to make calls. It was eventually replaced by a phone with numbered buttons that used <a href="http://www.arctos.com/dial/" target="_hplink">touch tone dialing</a>. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/infrogmation/4668425919/" target="_hplink">Image via Flickr</a>, Infrogmation of New Orleans)
Although Polaroid is still kicking, its original cameras are hard to come by. The camera company branded itself as the premier producer of the instant camera, beginning with Polaroid co-founder <a href="http://www.polaroid.com/en/press/2010/5/5/mit-museum-receives-70-years-polaroid-history" target="_hplink">Edwin Land's first invention</a> in 1948.
Though they're still used on "Mad Men," and by writers chasing another era, the typewriter (<a href="http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/Dvorak/history.html" target="_hplink">a product of the 1800s</a>) has become obsolete in the age of the personal computer.
Portable Cassette Player
Time was, everyone you knew owned a Sony <a href="http://www.walkmancentral.com/" target="_hplink">Walkman or similar device</a>. The comparatively compact handhelds changed the way people listened to music in the 1980s. Before portable cassette players, there was no convenient way for music lovers to <a href="http://inventors.about.com/od/wstartinventions/a/Walkman.htm" target="_hplink">get their audio fix on the go</a>. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/27485954@N07/4941379904/" target="_hplink">Image via Flickr</a>) <em>Editor's note: The first Walkman was <a href="http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1907884,00.html" target="_hplink">introduced by Sony in 1979</a>.</em>
First Consumer Cell Phone
No tech nostalgia collection is complete without this old-school mobile phone. <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7432915/ns/technology_and_science-wireless/t/first-cell-phone-true-brick/#.T9DWOeJYvio" target="_hplink">Designed by Rudy Krolopp and his team</a>, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X or "brick," as it has often been called, hit the market in 1984 to the delight of chatty Kathys everywhere, despite its gargantuan $3,995 price tag. The video (above) is one of Motorola's DynaTAC ads from the '80s.