Thanks to some research by NetworkWorld, we now know how iPad used to look back in early 2000s. The prototype which was found in images attached to Apple and Samsung court documents show a tablet prototype, on which Apple was working back in 2002-2004. The device as you can see in the images looks a lot more thicker than the original iPad Apple launched in 2010. The device has a similar back, with a large Apple logo on it and features a dock connector that originates from Apple iPod. It is still found in iOS devices of today. Interestingly this prototype has no buttons at it’s front. Current iPad as you know has circular home button that is used to exit an app and return to the home screen.
The device even has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top.
When asked about these images and the prototype itself, Johnny Ive responds in the following words:
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.
These images offer a very tempting look at the beginnings of the most popular tablet ever produced. This image also confirms the fact that Apple was working on the tablet project way before they started working on a phone, something Steve Jobs revealed at WSJ’s D10 conference in 2010.
The image you can see above shows a man using the prototype with his finger. This particular image confirms that Apple’s tablet from it’s very beginning was hand-touch based, unlike Microsoft’s Windows tablet that was stylus based for over a decade.