Saturday, March 10, 2012

Did Roger Fidler invent the #iPad in 1994?

Roger Fidler with the iPad and his tablet 
An interesting video has surfaced on YouTube that shows Roger Fidler, University of Missouri program director for digital publishing, talking about a device for digital newspapers that looks very similar to the iPad. Moreover, you'll see in the video that many of the features of Fidler's tablet are very similar to the iPad and features of the Safari browser and magazine apps.
   Samsung, who is in patent infringement litigation with Apple, is claiming that since Filbert's tablet was in the public domain in 1994 Apple can't have patented the idea. However, before we all rush off and call Steve Jobs a conman and a plagiarist, we should appreciate that Fidler's tablet was only an idea, he never built them.
Alan Kay with the Dynabook
   If we want to find the real inventor of the iPad then Alan Kay of Xerox PARC can probably lay claim to having first invented the idea with his Dynabook in 1972, a small portable tablet with an intuitive GUI. However, like Fidler's tablet, the Dynabook remained just an idea until Apple built it and called it the iPad.
   
(skip in about 4 mins to see the tablet)