Apple 2002 iPad Prototype Surfaces in Court Docs

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Prototype images for Apple’s early efforts to develop an iPad dating back to 2002 surfaced in court documents Thursday. The images show a device that is large, thick, white, and plastic, and is reminiscent of both today’s iPad and yesterday’s MacBook.

NetworkWorld first discovered some images in court documents from the Apple v. Samsung court battle being fought in federal court. Judge Lucy Koh recently ordered that many of those documents be unsealed, and this is one of the first major finds from that information trove.

The information included comments from Apple senior vice president Jon Ive about the prototype, known as “035.” When asked whether he was familiar with that prototype, Mr. Ive said:

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 course of the questioning appeared to be to establish whether or not Apple or an outside modeling group was responsible for the design of 035, and Mr. Ive said that it had been developed as a part of the teamwork that comprises Apple’s design process.

Buzzfeed was able to follow NetworkWorld’s article by finding four color photos of the prototype in the court documents, as shown below.

035 Prototype

The Back: iPad 2 vs. 035 Prototype from 2002
Click the photo for a larger version

035 Prototype

Rounded Corner: 035 Prototype from 2002
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035 Prototype

Height: iPad 2 vs. 035 Prototype from 2002
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Buzzfeed noted that from most angles, the prototype looks retro, but that from the front, it looks very much like the iPad we know today save for the lack of a home button, as shown in the image below.

035 Prototype

The Front: iPad 2 vs. 035 Prototype from 2002
Click the photo for a larger version

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