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Court filing reveals Apple's iPad prototype from early 2000s

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
Pictures of early design concepts for the iPad made between 2002 and 2004 have been revealed through an Apple court filing.

The pictures, published on Wednesday by Network World, show an early prototype design very similar to the final product Apple would eventually release in 2010. It features many of the signature elements of the iPad, including rounded corners, a dock connector port at the bottom, a front panel dominated by a glass touchscreen, and a plain back with just the Apple logo.

However, the early concept lacks the home button that is found on all iOS devices, and it also features a smaller black border on the outside of the screen. The concept device is also noticeably thicker than the first-generation iPad ended up being in 2010.

Apple's lead designer, Jonathan Ive, was asked about images of the prototype in a deposition conducted in December of 2011.

Ive said he couldn't precisely remember the first time he had seen the prototype, but guessed that it was at some point between 2002 and 2004. He revealed that was when Apple was first exploring tablet designs that would eventually become the iPad.

Apple's design chief revealed that the mockup tablet design, referred to as "035," was created as a result of collaboration between himself and other members of the company.

iPad


"I recognize this as one of... the models that we made as part of the design process, as part of the exploration," Ive said in the deposition.

The images confirm a story told by Steve Jobs at the 2010 All Things D conference, when he revealed that Apple had internally developed a touchscreen tablet long before the iPhone became a reality.

It was at the D8 conference in 2010 that Jobs first revealed that the development of the iPhone actually began as Apple was looking into building a touchscreen tablet. The original vision of Jobs was a glass multi-touch display that users could type on with their fingers.

"I asked our people about it, and six months later they came back with this amazing display," Jobs said. "And I have it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He got scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, 'My God, we can build a phone with this.' So we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the iPhone."
post #2 of 70
So basically this confirms that the iPhone and iPod Touch are small tablets and not the other way around what people have been saying that the iPad is just a blown up iPhone/iPod Touch..
post #3 of 70

But Samsung was working on this WAY before then. Like in the 70s. They just kept it all REALLY secret, and only decided to release their products *after* Apple, purely because it was the gentlemanly thing to do. 

post #4 of 70

Meh, looks like one of those Windows tablets. Thick, and prototype-looking. Of course, back then, this was great. 

 

 


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post #5 of 70

Very cool. I imagine one of the biggest things holding it back was battery technology.

post #6 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by logandigges View Post

Meh, looks like one of those Windows tablets. Thick, and prototype-looking. Of course, back then, this was great. 
Ummm, yeah. This was a prototype. That is why it looks like one. And even then, what windows tablet looked even close?
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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post #7 of 70

Interesting how long it took for Apple to finally get this to market. Even for the iPhone. Possibly 3-5 years. Yet after Apple introduced the iPhone, all of a sudden every other phone manufacturer had a design that was similar as well as an OS that tried to be similar. Same with the iPad for the hardware but it has been harder for the competition to get the tablet. 10 inches of screen real estate for the iPad was too hard to optimize right off the bat. Much easier to do things with just 7 inches of screen real estate.

post #8 of 70

This looks like it is made of the same white polycarbonate shell as iBooks were back in 2004.

post #9 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

This looks like it is made of the same white polycarbonate shell as iBooks were back in 2004.

It probably was since the article mentions the years between 2002-2004.

post #10 of 70
Does this mean that Apple also invented 'Instagram'?

Anyway....Seems that all of these 'leak-type' photos have to have that 'grainy' look, it's like it's some kind of requirement to add an element of secrecy. LOL
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post #11 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

This looks like it is made of the same white polycarbonate shell as iBooks were back in 2004.

 

My thoughts exactly!

post #12 of 70

I like how it's being held up with those little, white paper cups.

post #13 of 70

Even non-functional (I presume), I wonder what this would go for at auction.

post #14 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post

Ummm, yeah. This was a prototype. That is why it looks like one. And even then, what windows tablet looked even close?

Hmmm... The HP TC1000 that I've owned since 2003?

389
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post #15 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Hmmm... The HP TC1000 that I've owned since 2003?
389

That actually existed? I'm pretty sure that was the minority. Most Windows tablets were of the "convertible" style.
post #16 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


That actually existed? I'm pretty sure that was the minority. Most Windows tablets were of the "convertible" style.

it did

 

back around 2005 Charlie Palmer's in Vegas was using these or some other similar HP tablet for their menus. it was pretty cool too. it gave a wine pairing for every dish from their insane wine selection.

 

only difference with the ipad is a SoC and a better touch screen so you don't need a stylus.

post #17 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

But Samsung was working on this WAY before then. Like in the 70s. They just kept it all REALLY secret, and only decided to release their products *after* Apple, purely because it was the gentlemanly thing to do. 

haha 

 

 

Also relevant to the topic is this groundbreaking device which Apple started work on in 1987...

 

Apple_Newton_and_iPhone.jpg

post #18 of 70
Amazing device. I wonder if they initially planned on putting a desktop grade OS like OS X on it back then like the chunky old school tablets the competitors were putting out or if they had always planned on using a mobile OS?
post #19 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


That actually existed? I'm pretty sure that was the minority. Most Windows tablets were of the "convertible" style.

This was convertible too and detachable which is what separated it. It actually won a bunch of awards for design too (ha) back in the day. 

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post #20 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


That actually existed? I'm pretty sure that was the minority. Most Windows tablets were of the "convertible" style.

It is a convertible tablet / laptop.  I'm not specifically familiar with this model, but I have worked on a different convertible laptop that absolutely was a horrendous experience.  You could write on the screen, but you needed to do some things with the keyboard, so you had to move between the two - which didn't really make sense or work in real world situations.  I had high hopes for it as I was an original Compaq iPaq owner/user.  The idea of a larger format iPaq totally made sense to me.  They even got pretty good at handwriting recognition - certainly more so than Palm did with their goofy single letter writing format.

post #21 of 70

And how many of these were sold?
 

post #22 of 70

that's the difference between Apple and others. Apple creates a prototype and decides it's not ready for prime time. No one knows about it. Other companies produce prototypes, announce them and then either kill them or release half-assed solutions.
 


Edited by jungmark - 7/18/12 at 10:09am
post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by logandigges View Post

Meh, looks like one of those Windows tablets. Thick, and prototype-looking. Of course, back then, this was great. 

Troll

post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Hmmm... The HP TC1000 that I've owned since 2003?
389
We had those at work. Our server procurement folks tried to use them for a couple years. I guess there was some resemblance to the rounded corners and such now that I think back, but they were less of a tablet as they converted from laptop to removable screen. They always had the keyboard attached as without it they became almost unusable for them. I never correlated the two as that product was very heavy, felt kind of flimsy, had the complete computer innards, the battery was very short life and it needed a stylus to function even halfway decent. Oh, and it ran windows.

But from a purely rectangular screen with rounded edges. Yes, they existed.
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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post #25 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post

But from a purely rectangular screen with rounded edges. Yes, they existed.

 

And yet there's one big difference that we saw with a lot of those pre iPhone and iPad devices. The plastic goes all the way up and around the screen. Making a flat top was something that Apple was the first to do in the way that they did it. And then everyone else jumped on it. Even if the courts don't agree that that is 'illegal' copying, the court of public opinion generally sees it differently and votes with their wallets. 

 

I can't help wondering what would have happened if they had released this back in 2003 (or say 2005). Would we have seen the same Apple fronted push to have better components being made by the suppliers. What might the world look like in terms of online media for such things. Would Apple have created iOS or just scaled down Mac OS with a touch UI level on top of it. etc. Keeping in mind that they did have a prototype tablet at the idea stage back in like 1986.

 

 

Thoughts to ponder

post #26 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post

We had those at work. Our server procurement folks tried to use them for a couple years. I guess there was some resemblance to the rounded corners and such now that I think back, but they were less of a tablet as they converted from laptop to removable screen. They always had the keyboard attached as without it they became almost unusable for them. I never correlated the two as that product was very heavy, felt kind of flimsy, had the complete computer innards, the battery was very short life and it needed a stylus to function even halfway decent. Oh, and it ran windows.
But from a purely rectangular screen with rounded edges. Yes, they existed.

You mean like how it was just confirmed that early prototypes, like the one featured in this article, also used 'computer innards' ?

https://twitter.com/anandshimpi/status/225623450486718464

630
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

And yet there's one big difference that we saw with a lot of those pre iPhone and iPad devices. The plastic goes all the way up and around the screen. Making a flat top was something that Apple was the first to do in the way that they did it. And then everyone else jumped on it.



Thoughts to ponder

Actually... My Hp TC1000 has a very similar 'flat top' etc. design.

Anyway... Still cool to see the iPad in the early stages of development.
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post #27 of 70

Fascinating how little the iPad design has changed since the early 2000's prototype, Other than the obvious thickness due to the hardware limitations of the time it's basically the same idea. What's most revealing was Apple's forward thinking concept of doing away with PC-style expansion and media slots from way back then. Even today there are still some manufacturers that burden their mobile devices with SD slots and removable batteries, which has been proven to be extremely lacking in vision.

post #28 of 70
1) I wonder if it uses Mac OS.

2) if Apple would have released a tablet then it would have failed as a product. That is certain.

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post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeniThings View Post

Fascinating how little the iPad design has changed since the early 2000's prototype...

That's because, by the very nature of their function, ALL tablet comupters share the same basic aesthetic, one primarily of a detached laptop display... and they likely always will.

Additionally: The primary reason for manufacturers not proving 'expansion' slots etc. to just to force consumers to buy higher capacity models at exorbitant prices, and very little else.
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post #30 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


Hmmm... The HP TC1000 that I've owned since 2003?
389

Bullsh*t.

 

Tablet-PC.jpg

 

The TC 1000 was a laptop running windows with a removable screen that could be driven via stylus. The iPad prototype was far more forward thinking.

post #31 of 70
post #32 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by logandigges View Post

Meh, looks like one of those Windows tablets. Thick, and prototype-looking. Of course, back then, this was great. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post

Ummm, yeah. This was a prototype. That is why it looks like one. And even then, what windows tablet looked even close?

Windows tablet prototype from same period:

make-shoebox-house-800x800.jpg

post #33 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeniThings View Post

Bullsh*t.

LL

The Hp TC 1000 was a laptop running windows with a removable screen that could be driven via stylus. The iPad prototype was far more forward thinking.

As someone who actually used (and still owns) an Hp TC1000 for several years as an engineer in the USAF, I KNOW that the device was not merely some 'laptop with a removable screen' and was, In Fact a tablet computer as outlined by the specifications by Microsoft in 2000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Tablet_PC#History
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post #34 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

Amazing device. I wonder if they initially planned on putting a desktop grade OS like OS X on it back then like the chunky old school tablets the competitors were putting out or if they had always planned on using a mobile OS?
IOS is OS/X with a different UI and limitations on multitasking. Deep down you have some of the same basic UNIX'y features of OS/X. One of the big reasons for Apples iOS success is the very fact that iOS is more UNIX than mobile OS at the time.
post #35 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


That's because, by the very nature of their function, ALL tablet comupters share the same basic aesthetic, one primarily of a detached laptop display... and they likely always will.

Nope.

 

That's backwards thinking that lacks vision and imagination. MS thought a tablet was simply a keyboard-less laptop. One that ran a marginally modified, stylus driven version of Windows, and one that was burdened with the same PC era expansion and media slots.

 

Apple re-invented the idea of a tablet by abandoning the windows metaphor and stylus input in favor of a completely new touch-based OS. Then they removed the expansion slot idea. Then they did away with the keyboard. All these bold decisions defined what Apple was doing, and all these concepts were absent in the wholly unoriginal and failed MS tablets.

post #36 of 70

The fact that Apple was happy to spend 8 years perfecting it tells you everything you need to know about whether innovation comes from visionary companies and is then copied or if it comes from everybody zeroing in on an "obvious" design. Frankly, if you think the latter is true, you know nothing about design or development. Android and the Android tablets are not just copies, they're obviously the product of careful and deliberate reverse engineering. They simply would not exist otherwise. I have no doubt at all that Google very carefully studied the iPhone and measured the way it responded to touch, etc, probably using some kind of robotic rig and high speed cameras to ensure they could copy it just-so. I have no doubt that Samsung took apart the iPhone and iPad and carefully studied them so they could make their own. That's how these products came into existence in such a short time after the iPhone/iPad was released.

post #37 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Does this mean that Apple also invented 'Instagram'?
Anyway....Seems that all of these 'leak-type' photos have to have that 'grainy' look, it's like it's some kind of requirement to add an element of secrecy. LOL

 

Think back on digital camera image quality around 2004. High quality output was very expensive, affordable not nearly so much.

 

The original images shown in the article were likely shot on film, either C41 process, or fast black and white, like Tri-X or Tmax-400.

post #38 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by poke View Post

The fact that Apple was happy to spend 8 years perfecting it tells you everything you need to know about whether innovation comes from visionary companies and is then copied or if it comes from everybody zeroing in on an "obvious" design. Frankly, if you think the latter is true, you know nothing about design or development. Android and the Android tablets are not just copies, they're obviously the product of careful and deliberate reverse engineering. They simply would not exist otherwise. I have no doubt at all that Google very carefully studied the iPhone and measured the way it responded to touch, etc, probably using some kind of robotic rig and high speed cameras to ensure they could copy it just-so. I have no doubt that Samsung took apart the iPhone and iPad and carefully studied them so they could make their own. That's how these products came into existence in such a short time after the iPhone/iPad was released.

Apple should offer a multi-million dollar bounty to anyone who would testify to and who could offer evidence proving such events occurred.  I bet there would be some takers if the $$$ were large enough.  Make it a global offer to cover Samsung and others.

post #39 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


As someone who actually used (and still owns) an Hp TC1000 for several years as an engineer in the USAF, I KNOW that the device was not merely some 'laptop with a removable screen' and was, In Fact a tablet computer as outlined by the specifications by Microsoft in 2000.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Tablet_PC#History

 

You're moving the goal post. We're not talking about what MS defined as a Tablet. We're not talking about your credentials (I do UI design and have owned a tablet since the 1990's but thats beside the point, and what MS defined as a 'tablet PC' has been made irrelevant by Apple).

 

What we're supposed to be talking about was your post claiming that the TC1000 somehow predated the iPad. It did not.

 

The TC1000 had none of what defines an iPad. Namely a windowless touch OS, uncluttered expansion slot-free design, and edge-to-edge glass front.

post #40 of 70

I'm amazed at the industrial design on that prototype, and how many design features ended up in the final shipping iPad in 2010 - a full 6 to 8 years later. When I first saw the iPad at its unveiling, I recall being impressed with the pure beauty and elegance of the design. Once I had one, I was even more amazed purely from an aesthetic standpoint. While the final iPad was successful based on a combination of how it looked, felt, and worked from a software standpoint it's pretty amazing how long these design characteristics existed within Apple - especially secretly.

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