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Thread: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    There's an interesting video making the viral rounds (see video below) and an equally interesting article in yesterday's Washington Post about Roger Fidler who worked for Knight-Ridder beginning in 1979 and eventually became head of their media lab headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, right next door to Apple's media facility that was working on the Newton. As far back as 1981 he began talking about a tablet computer that would eventually replace traditional newspapers. “These units could have tactile controls,” he wrote. “When readers wanted to read the whole story, they would simply press the capsule or tease headline and the complete story would instantly appear on the screen. - It just seemed so obvious to me that it had to be a touch screen, he said”. He eventually created mock-ups, one of which looks astonishingly like today's iPad in one of its incarnations. Did Apple steal the idea? Hard to say. In fact, in another video made in 1987 Apple shows off a future product concept called the Knowledge Navigator (predating Netscape Navigator) for a tablet computer and network device that clearly includes voice recognition and response in what is now known as Siri (still first gen, of course) and what is essentially the internet as we know it, so we know they were thinking about the possibility. (see video below) People thought Fidler was crazy as viable laptops were the new big thing in those days.

    EDIT: I almost forgot, Samsung is using the video of Roger Fidler as evidence to defend itself against charges of patent infringement on the iPad brought by Apple, which is one reason this is in the news these days.

    Fidler's 1994 concept mock-up






    Apple's 1987 concept


    Last edited by EZO; 03-10-2012 at 04:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    LOL

    Apple didn't invent the concept of the tablet computer, they just made the first one people would WANT.

    There were plenty of tablets before the ipad, they were just flops.

    After apple showed how it SHOULD HAVE been done, THEN THEY were copied by others.

    Its also not like apple struck out a few times before hitting on it either, the Newton, etc, were sort of this handheld computer idea...which had a following, and some clones, etc...but which also never really caught on. (Learn a new way of writing to use it, really?)

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    TEEJ, I agree completely. However, I think you'll have to admit that the conceptual mock-up created by Roger Fidler in 1994 as pictured in my post is strikingly similar in appearance and functionality to the iPad, whereas Microsoft's and others approach was to try to shoehorn Windows into a heavy, clunky "tablet" that was more or less useless to most people.

    EDIT: Perhaps it would be a good idea that anyone offering comments about this thread should watch the video and read the linked Washington Post article before posting. This thread isn't about Apple so much as it is about Roger Fidler and his seminal ideas.
    Last edited by EZO; 03-10-2012 at 02:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by EZO View Post
    TEEJ, I agree completely. However, I think you'll have to admit that the conceptual mock-up created by Roger Fidler in 1994 as pictured in my post is strikingly similar in appearance and functionality to the iPad, whereas Microsoft's and others approach was to try to shoehorn Windows into a heavy, clunky "tablet" that was more or less useless to most people.
    Sure, and the same could be said about laptops, and desk tops, etc.

    A form factor may not be a defensible "Invention"...it CAN be, but its pretty common for things that do a particular function to end up looking similar.

    Look at cars...the first ones had a windshield, doors on the sides, wheels on the bottom, and places for people to sit, etc....and they still look a lot like that.


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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    Sure, and the same could be said about laptops, and desk tops, etc.

    A form factor may not be a defensible "Invention"...it CAN be, but its pretty common for things that do a particular function to end up looking similar.

    Look at cars...the first ones had a windshield, doors on the sides, wheels on the bottom, and places for people to sit, etc....and they still look a lot like that.


    Yes, and somebody had to conceive of the first laptop and the first automobile. We are talking about way more than form factor here. Sounds like you haven't bothered to watch the video or read the article. In fact, you couldn't have as there wouldn't have been enough time as you posted so fast. What is your point exactly?

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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by EZO View Post
    Yes, and somebody had to conceive of the first laptop and the first automobile. We are talking about way more than form factor here. Sounds like you haven't bothered to watch the video or read the article. In fact, you couldn't have as there wouldn't have been enough time as you posted so fast. What is your point exactly?
    A car as a concept, a lap top as a concept, a tablet computer as a concept....seemed obvious?

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
    A car as a concept, a lap top as a concept, a tablet computer as a concept....seemed obvious?
    Yes, and Roger Fidler devised this "concept" long before anyone, including Microsoft or Apple thought to try to develop such a thing.

    TEEJ, I think you are missing the whole point of this thread and are just looking to argue about something trivial that is really unrelated to the crux my original post. In fact, I think you are basically trolling here and I don't wish to pursue this with you any further.
    Last edited by EZO; 03-10-2012 at 03:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Q: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?


    A: No.
    posted by jh333233
    Dont cheat me, im expert in using crap light

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    Q: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?


    A: No.
    127.0.0.1, Once again you show up with nothing intelligent, worthwhile, interesting or mature to offer to a thread; only what amounts to baiting.

    Like I said yesterday, the last time you behaved this way in a different thread, please take it somewhere else.

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    Flashaholic* mvyrmnd's Avatar
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    Default

    This entire thread, or any post about a technology company "stealing" ideas, or usually any discussion about Apple at all is little more than baiting. They inevitably end up closed because of a fanatical few that will fight it out to the bitter end.

    For what it's worth, I'm with localhost.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by EZO View Post
    .............did Apple steal the idea?
    It doesn't matter. Ideas are neither patents, copyrights or trademarks. They're not protected, nor would such a concept be advantageous to society. The progression to tablet computers have been discussed as far back as the days of the TRS80 days, and envisioned as inevitable progression since the development of ICs and modular construction. I can envision the time when implants interfaced with our brains and networked to a global and/or universal web will become the norm; but I don't consider myself worthy of compensation for work others will do to bring it to fruition.

    Your thread, while it can be interesting, does suffer the possibility of being closed, if you continue to call those that reply to it trolls, and attribute negative motives to them.

    Attack the posts, and not the posters

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    Flashaholic* ico's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by mvyrmnd View Post
    This entire thread, or any post about a technology company "stealing" ideas, or usually any discussion about Apple at all is little more than baiting. They inevitably end up closed because of a fanatical few that will fight it out to the bitter end.

    For what it's worth, I'm with localhost.
    Who is localhost?

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Empath View Post
    It doesn't matter. Ideas are neither patents, copyrights or trademarks. They're not protected, nor would such a concept be advantageous to society. The progression to tablet computers have been discussed as far back as the days of the TRS80 days, and envisioned as inevitable progression since the development of ICs and modular construction. I can envision the time when implants interfaced with our brains and networked to a global and/or universal web will become the norm; but I don't consider myself worthy of compensation for work others will do to bring it to fruition.
    Empath, I am puzzled why you would quote me,......"did Apple steal the idea?", but not include the complete statement from my post, "Did Apple steal the idea? Hard to say." Also ignored, by apparently everyone, was my statement, "Perhaps it would be a good idea that anyone offering comments about this thread should watch the video and read the linked Washington Post article before posting. This thread isn't about Apple so much as it is about Roger Fidler and his seminal ideas."

    Perhaps in hindsight my choice of title for the thread was ill advised but I was merely using a common technique of journalism that employs a provocative title to get people to read the article. Unfortunately, it seems the title is what this thread became about as a result of members who chose to comment without properly exploring the post. One reason I included the video from Apple postulating a voice recognition tablet back in 1987, beyond the fact that it is fascinating, was to offer some balance to the title and show that Apple has been thinking about tablet computing for a very long time. Of course, we've been seeing tablet computers since the 1960s in Star Trek episodes and as discussed in the Washington Post article, Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, "2001: A Space Odyssey" as well. The discussion about Roger Fidler wasn't in any way meant to suggest that he came up with the idea for a tablet computer, it was more about the fact that his 1994 prototype mock-up and proposed tactile operating system was so strikingly similar in appearance and functionality to the 2010 iPad. Indeed, the word iPad is referred to in my thread title, not tablet. Fidler states that he loves his iPad and compensation is not at issue for him nor was it at issue in this thread. He said, “It takes a visionary like Steve Jobs to make these products possible. He’s a genius. He was a keen observer of the world around him, and he was definitely influenced by what he saw. I have no resentment of that at all. I’m really delighted that he put the pressure on Apple to make the iPad. I love my iPad.”

    I had hoped that CPFers would read the Washington Post article, watch the video and then engage in an interesting dialogue about the subject I presented. Sadly, that is not what happened. It is with dismay that CPF seems to be in the process of becoming a place where people seem more and more interested in making uninformed, sometimes insulting remarks, chest thumping, indulging their egos, baiting and small minded tweaking of other members but who otherwise have little of substance to offer the community. I've noticed that CPF seems to have an influx of new members who have generated many hundreds of posts in their first month or two here but a little bit of searching shows that a great many of these posts are of this unfortunate nature and that some of these members have at times been cautioned by moderators about this and have had some of their posts deleted. Please forgive my increasingly frustrated reaction to this phenomenon.

    It's never nice to have a moderator threaten to close one's thread but in this case it might be a merciful gesture.
    Last edited by EZO; 03-11-2012 at 02:40 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    The physical concept was not new when Fidler described it -- you can see iPad-like things in Star Trek -- but on the media implications, Fidler was quite prescient. The typical news-oriented web page of today is pretty much exactly as he described it. (And he was a newspaper guy, so I don't fault him for seeing the world through that prism.)

    Equally interesting is the things that this prediction missed: that the keys to viability were wireless networking and eliminating the stylus. Every early tablet-like device (e.g. Newton, Palm Pilot) had a stylus or mini-keyboard, and could only access locally-stored data. That has very limited practical use, although it's fine for the application Fidler had in mind (customers going to kiosks to download newspaper content onto removable-media cards).

    The iPad succeeded where its predecessors had failed because of several relatively new technologies:

    (1) Wireless networking (not limited to locally-stored content)
    (2) High-resolution clear glass capacitive touch screen (no awkward stylus)
    (3) The App Store (not just a newspaper reader)

    I think the iPad would have been a complete failure without all three of these elements. To the best of my knowledge, every failed predecessor lacked at least one of these, and every successful competitor has all three.

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    flashflood, Thank you for adding an interesting and thoughtful post to this thread.

    I agree with you about the the different technologies that Apple deployed that have helped make the iPad such a success. Apparently, Fidler makes reference to this concept in his 1997 book, "Mediamorphosis" where he speaks about "technological convergence". Convergence in this instance is defined as the "evolution and interlinking of computing and other information technologies, media content, and communication networks". In the video from Knight-Ridder's Information Design Laboratory he seems to be alluding to what might later become wireless networking on a tablet when he says, ďIf Iím interested in that ad and want to know more, itís simply a matter of touching that ad. And at that point I go through an electronic doorway into the advertiserís space."

    Speaking of missed predictions I've been reading prescient author William Gibson's recent book, "Distrust That Particular Flavor" where he speaks about what he got wrong or even missed completely regarding many of the predictions from his early science fiction novels. He thinks nailing the future precisely is besides the point and basically impossible. He points out that while many authors predicted television and how it might be used not one ever predicted reality TV or Hollywood Squares. It seems that technological convergence leads to unexpected outcomes.

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    Flashaholic* mvyrmnd's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ico View Post
    Who is localhost?
    127.0.0.1 = localhost

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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by EZO View Post
    Speaking of missed predictions I've been reading prescient author William Gibson's recent book, "Distrust That Particular Flavor" where he speaks about what he got wrong or even missed completely regarding many of the predictions from his early science fiction novels. He thinks nailing the future precisely is besides the point and basically impossible. He points out that while many authors predicted television and how it might be used not one ever predicted reality TV or Hollywood Squares. It seems that technological convergence leads to unexpected outcomes.
    That's why I love looking at past predictions. They show you how far ahead some people can see, while at the same time showing you how constrained that vision is by then-current assumptions. "We will use genetic engineering to reduce horse flatulence to the point that it never again spoils a romantic buggy ride."

    But this has its advantages. One point Fidler was spot-on about was the importance of making new UIs look and feel like old ones, so that you don't need a manual to use the new device. It will be interesting to see how that principle evolves over time. For example, today, the icon for the calendar app on your cell phone looks like a physical paper calendar, because that's what's familiar. In 50 years, when no one has ever seen a paper calendar, will we still use the same icon on new computers, simply because that's what it looked like on old computers? The term "dial tone" certainly long outlived dial phones. And, come to think of it -- horsepower.
    Last edited by flashflood; 03-11-2012 at 05:19 PM.

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by flashflood View Post
    That's why I love looking at past predictions. They show you how far ahead some people can see, while at the same time showing you how constrained that vision is by then-current assumptions. "We will use genetic engineering to reduce horse flatulence to the point that it never again spoils a romantic buggy ride."
    Here is a link to a fascinating scan of a page from a 1901 copy of The Ladies' Home Journal making predictions of what things will be like in 2001.
    (click on the image if it comes up too small in your browser.)

    A few highlights:
    Store purchases will be made by tube.
    There will be no wild animals except in menageries; rats & mice will be eliminated.
    There will be no X, C or Q in the alphabet.
    Mosquitoes and flies will be eliminated.
    Trains will travel at 150 miles per hour.
    Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance.
    There will be airships but they will not compete with surface cars and water vessels for passenger or freight traffic.
    Wireless telephone & telegraph circuits will span the world. By an automatic signal they will connect to any circuit in their locality without the intervention of a "hello girl".
    Peas and beans will be as large as beets are today.
    Last edited by EZO; 03-11-2012 at 07:48 PM.

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    Well, 127.0.0.1, you've certainly offered up a perfect example of the sort of inappropriate behavior I've been referring to about your demeanor. Perhaps you should take a little time to go and read rule #4.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Did this man conceive of the iPad in 1981 & did Apple steal the idea?

    The topic would have been great, had it stayed uncluttered without involving opinions of the participants.

    Our Underground Wine Cellar is, of course, an ideal place to continue that aspect; but not the Cafe.
    It's closed here.

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