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Early Apple prototypes by frog design's Hartmut Esslinger featured in upcoming book

post #1 of 6
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Pre-release images from a retrospective of work by Hartmut Esslinger, founder of early Apple design partner frog design, showcase a number of unreleased products and prototypes including an early "Tablet Mac" study from 1982.

Esslinger
"Tablet Mac" design study from 1982. | Source: designboom


Images from Esslinger's upcoming book Design Forward were published on Thursday by designboom (via The Verge) and offer a sneak peek into the design theory that produced Apple's distinctive computer models throughout the '80s and '90s. In collaboration with frog, Apple was able to create a unique design vision that helped the company move away from so-called "beige box" machines.

Most of the examples come from the "Snow White" design language, a version of which ultimately came to market with the Apple IIc, and are similar to actual Apple products, while others are more abstract and bear no resemblance to anything that came out of Cupertino.

Among Esslinger's design studies is a close look at rarely seen studies like the "Tablet Mac" from 1982, which takes on a normal slate-type format devoid of the modern iPad's infamous rounded edges, a topic of much debate during the recent Apple v. Samsung patent trial. Other notable concepts include the touchscreen "Macphone" from 1984 and the "Flat screen workstation" from 1982.

After working with Sony on the Trinitron and Wega product lines, Esslinger was contracted by Apple in the early 1980s and stayed with the company until late co-founder Steve Jobs was ousted from in 1985. The designer subsequently broke his agreement with Apple and followed Jobs to NeXT Computer. Esslinger has done design work for a veritable laundry list of high-profile clients, including HP, Microsoft Windows, Motorola, Siemens, NEC, Olympus, Lufthansa and General Electric, among others.
post #2 of 6

1982 predates IBM's tablet, doesn't it?

 

And that yellow floppy disc drive… Memories flooding upward of the plastic casings of early Macs and how they yellowed over time. I wonder if this is by design, as I never saw one get THIS bad.

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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #3 of 6

In those articles I didn't see this mockup from my files, which I believe was also done by Frog Design:

 

1000

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

1982 predates IBM's tablet, doesn't it?

Most if not all of the Frog designs seem to be concept mockups made of wood and plastic with no electronics.   Such large flat screen displays weren't quite ready yet.  Close, though.

 

Of course, almost every tablet is derivative of Alan Kay's well known 1968 Dynabook concept,

 

 

Kay later went to work with Apple on the Newton project as a concrete example of his Dynabook, but said that the marketing department had too much input and destroyed the product.


Edited by KDarling - 12/27/12 at 9:04pm
post #4 of 6
These look like what I expect Microsoft would have as recent prototypes of Surface tablets.

I loved the the thick SCSI-like cables connecting the tablet to the floppy drive and keyboard!

It's a great reminder of how far technology has taken us in 30 years.
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

These look like what I expect Microsoft would have as recent prototypes of Surface tablets.
I loved the the thick SCSI-like cables connecting the tablet to the floppy drive and keyboard!
It's a great reminder of how far technology has taken us in 30 years.

 

Ha!  You're right about the cables!

 

Gosh, that brings back memories.  One of the first multitasking OS device drivers I ever wrote, was for a SCSI hard drive interface sold for the Tandy Color Computer back in the 80s.

post #6 of 6
Tandy! Wow I'm getting old. No, I'm old, period.
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