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Bonhams today announced that it will be auctioning several rare prototype Apple devices on November 3, including an unreleased VideoPad.

apple-videopad-2-prototype-open.jpg

The VideoPad was intended to be a personal digital assistant (PDA) device similar to Apple's Newton MessagePad series, with Apple testing three versions of the device between 1993 and 1995, including the VideoPad 1, VideoPad 2, and VideoPad 3, according to Bonhams. The auction company says the VideoPad 2 headed to auction is the only surviving concept prototype, and it is estimated to fetch up to $12,000.

The three VideoPad prototypes were based on a conceptual design sketch drawn by Apple's former CEO John Sculley, but the devices were ultimately scrapped by Steve Jobs upon his return to Apple in the late 1990s, according to Bonhams.

apple-videopad-2-prototype-closed.jpg

The prototype VideoPad 2 features a hinged flip-top design with two screens, although the top screen appears to be missing. The device was apparently going to have a built-in camera for video conferencing, two speakers, a memory card slot, a power socket, and a phone line input, but it was ultimately never released to the public.

The prototype was purchased from an Apple engineer in Palo Alto in 1999, and it comes in its original black leather carrying case with the Newton logo, according to Bonhams. More details are available on the auction website.

Also headed to auction is an early prototype of the original Macintosh, an early prototype of the original iPad, and a handwritten letter from Steve Jobs.

Article Link: Apple VideoPad Device Scrapped by Steve Jobs Headed to Auction
 
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glsillygili

macrumors 6502
Dec 16, 2011
404
129
New York
The iPad with no branding or logos on the back was foreshadowing what was to come on iPhones. But not iPads for some reason.
 

and 1989 others

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2016
406
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Its amazing to think that the culmination of ideas that were to become the ipad were in development for almost 2 decades before its release.

Also Job's was quite courageous in ditching entire lines of prototyping because they were not good enough.
 

Spock

macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2002
2,531
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Vulcan
Its amazing to think that the culmination of ideas that were to become the ipad were in development for almost 2 decades before its release.

Also Job's was quite courageous in ditching entire lines of prototyping because they were not good enough.
Killing off anything Newton related wasn't courage, it was killing off a product that was important to John Sculley.
 

shakerstevens

macrumors newbie
Jan 28, 2010
29
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Amazing to see but 10 years before Wifi started to become popular or mobile data for that matter no wonder it didn't take off if you had to plug this into a phone line.

Love the concept though !
 

Avatar74

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2007
1,398
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“The device was apparently going to have a built-in camera for video conferencing, two speakers, a memory card slot, a power socket, and a phone line input”

Video conferencing over a POTS line and with 1990s technology. It’s no wonder Jobs killed it.
I remember while working for a telco in the early 00's ... One of the product managers worked for Apple and was there the day Jobs pulled all the PMs into his office. He axed 90% of Apple's projects in a single, 30-minute meeting that uncluttered Apple's product line for good.

It was out of that meeting that the foundational product matrix for Apple was born, and existed for nearly two decades: Desktops, Laptops, Devices (iPad/iPhone)... low, medium, high configurations/price points.

Combined with Bob Anderson's restructuring of Apple's finances, wiping the whiteboard clean saved Apple which was roughly 90 days away from bankruptcy when Jobs orchestrated the boardroom coup that ousted Amelio.

Of course Sculley's biggest failure wasn't any of these idiotically uncharismatic, corporate-chic products... it was his failure to understand what Hypercard really was. Then again, under Sculley or Amelio, all we'd have ended up with was a larger eWorld a few years earlier, instead of the World Wide Web.
 

mannyvel

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2019
1,042
1,772
Hillsboro, OR
Since that was back then, the memory card was probably an SRAM card. Those were brutally expensive. I still have a couple of them around, for my PIC-1000s(!).

I can just imagine sitting there waiting for the modem to connect before starting my video call. Why would I want to do that at one FPM (frame per minute) when I could just pick up the phone and call the person?

In any case, Apple learned from its mistakes. The Newton wasn't ready, but they released it anyway and Doonesbury basically killed the product in the mass market. Siri didn't do much, but at least it worked as advertised. I'm sure Steve realized that you need to control the narrative in the press, no matter where the press was. I mean, who in tech paid attention to Doonesbury before? Or any comic strip?
 

jk73

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2012
1,125
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Since that was back then, the memory card was probably an SRAM card. Those were brutally expensive. I still have a couple of them around, for my PIC-1000s(!).

I can just imagine sitting there waiting for the modem to connect before starting my video call. Why would I want to do that at one FPM (frame per minute) when I could just pick up the phone and call the person?

The same reason people fly to meetings instead of call.

We’re spoiled now, but imagine being able to see your mother in California when you were at college in New York back in the 1980s or 1990s.
 

3xBoom

macrumors member
Apr 20, 2020
64
56
Steve was so short-sighted... could not see the future in front of him... sad... /s
 

zvolts

macrumors newbie
Apr 22, 2015
8
19
I don’t think that the top screen is missing. That small square area was to place a Polaroid picture of mom for your “video conference” with her.
 
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jk73

macrumors 65816
Jul 19, 2012
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I guess back in the day almost anything could walk out of Apple's research and development labs to wind up at auction in the future. Nowadays they lock up all the prototypes to keep things like this from happening.

It sure looks like it. You’d think Apple would have maintained a collection.
 
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visualseed

macrumors 6502
Dec 16, 2020
334
557
“Video Pad 2” implies there was a Video Pad at some point or was the whole line and subsequent models planned out?
 
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