Get a Peek at Apple’s First iPad Prototype from Early 2000s

Due to patent wars between Apple and Samsung, information about the iPad’s history has begun to leak out to the public. Upon first glance, things might not seem particularly interesting, but a writer for Network World recently did some research and was able to uncover actual pictures of a very early mockup of the iPad that purportedly dates back to the early twenty-first century.

Writer Yoni Heisler discovered the images after reading partial transcripts of a December 2011 deposition where Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, Jonathan Ive, was asked a number of questions regarding the design history of the iPad.

According to the partial release of the deposition, Ive is asked about a series of photos of a three-dimensional mockup of a tablet referred to as the “035 mockup or prototype.” He responds:

“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.”

The patent on trial in this case was number ‘889, which is the design patent that Apple uses today for its tablets. The courts asked Ive if he was aware of any other tablet mockup that more closely resembles patent ‘889 prior to March of 2004. He responds:

“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.”

As you can see from the images, the early mockup was much thicker than today’s iPad. It had a smaller screen border, making the working display much larger. You’ll also note that the mockup does not have a home button.

To see more images of the 034 mockup, check out Heisler’s post at Network World.


About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik