Well before it ever crossed Steve Jobs’ mind that Apple should get into the smartphone business, the company had for a few years been tinkering with various tablet designs. The story goes that when Jobs was shown a tablet prototype with multitouch, he had a lightbulb moment and decided that Apple should make a phone.
Now, thanks to the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Samsung, Network World has unearthed photos of a tablet mockup Apple had designed sometime between 2002 and 2004.
The mockup is referred to as the 035 mockup and was referenced by Jony Ive in his deposition with Samsung attorneys.
Asked if he’d seen the mockup before, Ive responds in the affirmative and adds:
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.
So interestingly enough, Apple’s work on a tablet form factor may date back as many as 10 years ago. And fascinatingly, despite some obvious size differences apparent below, the overall design isn’t all that different from the modern day iPad.
Here’s a front facing photo below, and you’ll note that there’s no home button.
Also, the thing was huge. Check out how thick it was.
And thanks to buzfeed, there are some color photo comparisons of this old mockup to an iPad 2.