iPad History: Apple Had iPad As Early As 2002
July 18, 2012

iPad History: Apple Had iPad As Early As 2002

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

The sleuths at NetworkWorld.com have just dug up some delicious Apple history from Jonathan Ive´s deposition last December.

Digging through the Apple v Samsung court filings, the crew at Network World have not only found testimony from Ive about the early history of the iPad, they´ve also scored some pictures of early iPad mockups, confirming that Apple isn´t just two years ahead of the tablet competition, they´re at least 10 years ahead of the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

At the 2010 All Things D Conference, Steve Jobs himself told the story of the origins of the iPad, saying the iPad was actually in development before the iPhone, but after testing it, Apple thought they´d be able to put the UI and OS on a phone first.

Based on other depositions and interviews given by Jobs, we know that Apple began working on the iPhone as early as 2004. According to a Wired article, Jobs first confronted then-Cingular now-AT&T about a partnership in February 2005.

So, if iPhone development began in 2004 as a result of tablet development, when did Apple start work on the iPad?

As a part of the legal battle between Apple and Samsung, a court had to determine who came up with the basic “rectangle slab with rounded corners and no front buttons” design. To do so, they deposed Apple´s senior designer, Jonathan Ive.

During Ive´s deposition, he was shown a 3D mockup of an unnamed Apple tablet as a part of the discovery process. When asked if Ive had seen the mockup before – referred to as the 035 mockup or prototype – Ive acknowledged he had, saying, “My recollection of first seeing it is very hazy, but it was, I'm guessing, sometime between 2002 and 2004, some but it was I remember seeing this and perhaps models similar to this when we were first exploring tablet designs that ultimately became the iPad.”

Meaning, Apple was working on the iPad as early as 2002, 8 years before it ever launched.

Ive was then asked if he knew of any other mockup he had seen prior to March 2004 which more closely resembled the use of the ℠889 patent in the 035 mockup. The ℠889 patent is at the center of Apple´s argument that Samsung “slavishly copying” their designs.

Ive responded, “I'm not aware of any that are closer or less close. I recall this model; I, of course, recall this patent, and I can see many similarities.”

The 035 mockup (as seen on the Network World site) resembles the 2010 iPad in terms of shape, though the mockup is significantly thicker, housed in plastic and devoid of the iconic home button. Other than being much thicker, the 035 mockup from 2002-2004 features the same rounded edges, dock-connector, and headphone jack placement as the 2010 iPad.

The mockup even has the Apple logo on the same place on the back of the device.

To provide some context, while Apple was developing their 2010 iPad, their competitor´s tablet offerings looked something like this.

As further context, Apple was gaining popularity in 2002 on the heels of their game-changing product, the iPod. In 2002, the second generation iPod still had buttons, but introduced the touch-sensitive wheel. In 2003, Apple introduced a new design of iPod with an all-touch interface, complete with 5 touch-buttons over the depressed click wheel. Finally, Apple introduced the iPod which most closely resembles the current iPod classic, adopting the new click wheel from the best-selling iPod Mini.

Of course, Apple clearly wasn´t planning on shipping the iPad in 2002 or 2004, but it´s interesting to note just how far ahead Apple was looking when they set out to create the revolutionary iPad.