Photos of first iPad prototype revealed

The iPad prototype of 2002
The iPad prototype of 2002

It looks like the endless cycle of lawsuits between tech firms is finally good for something after all, as photos of the first iPad prototype were revealed in court documents that were recently made public.

As part of the ongoing case between Apple and Samsung, Apple's senior VP of industrial design, Jonathan Ive, gave a deposition last December. The full transcript was sealed, but a portion of it recently resurfaced in the case as public record.

The photos date back as early as 2002, revealing 035, an early mockup prototype of the device that would much later become the iPad.

"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," Ive's testimony said.

Digging into iPad's past

Even in its early form, the 035 mockup looks very much like a jumbo-sized iPad. It is outright fat by today's tablet standards, but for its time the 035 mockup is rather slim, seemingly about the same thickness as the original iPod.

Unlike the tablet it would become, the 035 mockup is all screen. The signature iDevice home button hadn't made its appearance yet nor even a power switch and volume control. There is a headphone jack though, along with the iPod charging port.

Though the 035 mockup was not quite ready for prime time, it inspired a shrunken version that later released as the iPhone in 2007. Apple then revisited the device's tablet roots to finally launch the iPad in 2010, eight years after its first prototype was built.

Via NetworkWorld