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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Earlier today, we pointed to some grainy photos of an early iPad prototype dating back to the 2002-2004 timeframe, revealing a much bulkier but otherwise fairly similar design to that seen in the device that was ultimately launched in 2010.

BuzzFeed has now posted new photos showing the prototype in full color next to an iPad 2, a comparison which shows the prototype to carry a much larger screen than seen on the iPad to date. Measuring pixel counts against the ruler shown in several of the photos reveals that the prototype device had a display measuring almost exactly 12 inches diagonally.


Compared to the eventually-released iPad's 9.7-inch screen, the prototype device would have had roughly 40% more screen real estate, although it is unknown at what resolution the early device was projected to run.


The prototype otherwise bears a distinct similarity to Apple's iBook of the time, carrying a white plastic shell with rounded corners and a 4:3 aspect ratio for the display. The prototype iPad measures in at just under 1-inch thick, compared to 1.35 inches for the white iBook models and the 0.34-0.50 inch range of the iPad models released to the public so far.


Article Link: Apple's Early Prototype iPad Had a 12-Inch Display


macrumors 6502a
Sep 5, 2007
Indianapolis, IN
It would make sense if it was going to run OS X at the time. A 12" display would be beneficial to a desktop OS. This was before the Air or MBPr would have been technologically possible.


macrumors 68020
Sep 25, 2009
Orlando, FL
I find it interesting that they did experiment with a thinner bezel.

I remember thinking how ugly that wide bezel was, when the original iPad was introduced but now that I own an iPad, and see that Apple made the decision to widen it, it makes complete sense.


macrumors 68020
Sep 25, 2009
Orlando, FL
:D The i-brick? I doubt they would have had the DEV support either, I'm happy with the new one...The retina screen is a joy to use..I wonder if anybody actually has one of these?

I'm pretty sure Jony Ive has one. I would give up my right nut to rummage through that man's house and office/work lab. :)


macrumors 65816
Jun 24, 2010
I dig the white plastic design actually, it's so minimal and elegant. Of course with the size, not so much.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2008
I wonder how long will it take for iPad 1/2/3 to look this outdated...

im sure the look isn't going to change much, i mean, the look isn't really even that different from the ipad 1/2/3 and the white plastic ipad.
the thickness is all thats really changed.

im sure in ten years the ipads we are using today will seem so thick and heavy that they will be almost 'unuseable'.


macrumors 68040
Aug 21, 2004
There was a company operating at that time that would take your iBook and turn it into a touch screen machine. It was like 1500 dollars.


macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
The iPad 1 still looked a bit like this prototype, just smaller, thinner and with the additional of a home button and aluminum back. The real breakthrough came last year, the iPad 2. The form factor is truly beautiful. With the unbelievably crisp retina display since the iPad 3, we can easily see why Apple dominates this market. ;)


macrumors 65816
May 20, 2011
If this were circa 2004-2005, I'm curious as to what it would have been using for a processor: Intel Atom (which had some Kernel Extensions in Leopard, enabling a generation of Dell Mini 9/10 Hackintoshes, IIRC), ARM, Core or maybe even G4?

Pentium M. Source Anandtech.


macrumors 68000
May 6, 2004
Since this development period was just before ( or during ) the the release of the PowerBook 12" this makes perfect sense.

I'm guessing the prototype was G4 12" PowerBook internals mated with the white plastic iBook case.
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