Originally Posted by KDarling
The Knowledge Navigator wasn't a real project. It was a fantasy video made for an educational convention to make it look like Apple was working on such things. As the director of the educational marketing group inside Apple who made the video noted,
"NeXT claimed to be focused exclusively on the higher education market. Many of the higher ed(ucation) influencers and decision makers were saying that Apple had no vision for its future product line. John Sculley was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at Educom, and the stakes were high for us to show some “vision” of where Apple was going."
As for intelligent speech assistants, they go back at least to the 1960s with the Star Trek and Space Odyssey computers, which could hold a conversation, initiate calls, and correlate data upon request
OK, whatever you call it, whether a 'fantasy video' (disparaging its validity) or a "concept brief" (perhaps enhancing its validity), I think it's fair to say there is a pretty direct and measurable trajectory from that presentation to products like the iPad. It's frankly undeniable.
So, whatever was said, or occurred, or was thought of or even tried in-between (even referring back to 'ancient' sci-fi), the trajectory is still clear.
The ideas summarized in the Knowledge Navigator video, whether original ideas or not, helped to define the trajectory that ultimately brought us here, holding a device known as the iPad (or more generically, the "tablet"), with its multi-touch interface and easy navigation of all the knowledge publicly available...
It only reinforces how well Steve Jobs could sense the direction things would take.
Finally, that video wasn't intended to mislead people into thinking these were products Apple was actively working on. It was intended to illustrate or demonstrate how Apple thought, how they imagined the potential of technology, and that they were steering their R&D in that direction. Although there may not have been specific products like it, this was "the future according to Apple". I think they did get it pretty much right in the end, no?