The legal battles between Apple and Samsung seem endless. The key point of the debate is whether the idea of tablet is Apple's original creation or public knowledge. Recently, a video on YouTube seems to suggest that the iPad idea isn't exclusive to Apple, but it has been in existence since 1994.
The director of the Knight-Ridder lab (which has shut down), Roger Fidler, has conceived of the tablet idea, which bears a strong resemblance to the iPad, almost one decades before Steve Jobs filed a patent for the original iPad in 2004. Because the iPad has become so hot currently, many would write Fidlder's theories off as sour grapes.
However, Fidlder's team had taped a promotional video about the tablet idea in 1994, which confirms its authenticity. The video was entitled “The Tablet Newspaper: A Vision for the Future,” which was uploaded on Google Video as early as May, 2007, or three years before the first iPad was unveiled. And later the video was put up on YouTube.
In the video, there is a black-framed, rectangular tablet, which can be used to browse the news. The device looks uncannily like the current iPad.
Tablets are a whole new class of computer. They’ll weigh under two pounds, they’ll be totally portable with clarity of screen display comparable to ink on paper, the video’s narrator says, adding that they will be able to blend text, video, audio and graphics together and be part of our daily lives around the turn of the century.
We may still use computers to create information , but we’ll use the tablet to interact with information: reading, watching, listening, the narrator says.
However, one huge difference between them is that the tablet in the video relies on a stylus for input.
In Fidler's opinion, the printed newspaper would disappear, and people will browse the news on a touchable tablet.
It may be difficult to conceptualize digital paper, but we believe that’s what’s going to happen, Fidler says in the video.
Fidler has great confidence in his tablet idea. We believe we’ll play a role in changing history, Fidler says in the video. Many people believe newspapers are dinosaurs, road kill on the information highway. We believe exactly the opposite, that newspapers can evolve that blend the old familiar aspects with new technologies that are emerging.
Why is Fidler's video important? It is because Samsung is now using the video to prove the tablet idea is public knowledge rather than Apple's original creation. If the judge rules in Samsung's favor, Apple will be forced to drop its patent infringement claim against the Korean tech major.
Meanwhile, Fidler has not laid any claim to the tablet idea, nor is he upset about the billions of dollars he may have potentially missed out.
To me it was never about the money, Fidler told the Washington Post. I was never doing things with the idea that this was going to make me rich. It never occurred to me, actually.
Check out the video below and decide for yourself whether the iPad is really Apple's original creation.