Did Apple first develop the iPad back in 2002?

by Doug Drinkwater

July 19 2012

Jonny Ive says the first iPad may have been developed anytime between 2002 and 2004
Jonny Ive says the first iPad may have been developed anytime between 2002 and 2004

Apple’s first iPad may have launched only two years ago, but the firm’s fraught legal battle with Samsung has thrown up a suggestion that the Cupertino giant first started working on a prototype iPad as early as 2002.

As part of its patent infringement court case with Samsung, Apple showed off a collection of images of an early iPad prototype, and these photos were discovered amid all the legal wrangling by Network World.

Somewhat incredibly, there is the suggestion that Apple may have developed the first iPad prototype as far back as ten years ago, according to Apple designer Jonny Ive's testimony during the on-going court case.

“My recollection of first seeing it (the tablet) is very hazy, but it was, I'm guessing, sometime between 2002 and 2004. I remember seeing this and perhaps models similar to this when we were first exploring tablet designs that ultimately became the iPad," said Ive, during his testimony to Samsung lawyers back in December of last year.

"I actually don't know which model shop made this, but I recognize this as a model that was produced during our exploration."

Despite what could be a five year gap between the prototype tablet and Apple’s first iPad, there are some similarities. The tablet looks around the same size (although one source says it was 12-inches), has an Apple logo on the back and appears to be white – a color not available for the iPad until the second-generation model was launched.

The purported images also indicate that the original design was somewhat thicker, had rounder edges and also came without a home bottom sitting at the bottom of the device.

Meanwhile, in amidst all this Apple nostalgia, the firm has received somewhat more inconvenient news that a UK court judge has ordered the firm to advertise on its website that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab does not copy the iPad. Judge Colin Birss has said that these ads must be present for six months.

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