Before the iPad and Newton there was Another Apple Tablet

To celebrate the launch of the iPad, the team at Frog design went to their design archives and dug out a tablet PC concept that frog founder Hartmut Esslingner developed for Apple in 1983. Looking at how concept Bashful works, it does seem to be a precursor to the iPad.

The “Bashful” — named after the story-book dwarf in Snow White — was created alongside the Apple II computer series as an extension of the Snow White design language that frog Founder Hartmut Essligner helped create for the company in 1983. Concepts for this early pre-touch tablet included one with an attached keyboard and one with a floppy disk drive and convenient handle for maximum portability. An attached stylus helped the user interact with the screen.

I don’t know about you guys but I really like this concept. Perhaps it is the product Archetype with an old school floppy drive, or my nostalgia for the simple “Cranbrook-ish style” block forms, or even my general tiredness for high gloss and metal finishes, whatever it is, this design proposition does appeal to me. If you consider the level of technology we have today, this concept should be easy to realize with space to spare. I’m tempted to even hack one out of existing Macbook parts!
It is interesting to also note that simple is timeless, as this design can hold its own today. Also, we have become pretty comfortable with technology these days. If you recall the evolution of computers, we went from black boxes we hated and feared, to transparent and organic forms we connected with, and now back to black boxes again, abet much thinner and glossier.
All in all, a nice track back into the history and heritage of our profession. Thanks for sharing Frog!

Via: Frog’s corporate blog: design mind.

  • yushi

    February 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm Reply

    Actually this remind me a comment from one client of a class in our school. The client mentioned sometimes we should look backward 10 years to see what is available innovations out there. This is not the only point I want to make. Moreover, it states a reality sometimes some of the products development were designed and waiting for the right context to diffuse. Wow, what a similarity with engineering world.
    They would like to invent something, then looking for a need in the real life. Such design is designed, then looking for a right context.
    Maybe we should have a position especially concentrating on recontextualization of existing ideas.

  • DT

    February 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm Reply

    @Jim, yes I have seen that happening too. The trick is to know when to pull it out of the vault and rethink it with the technology and needs of today. What I would give to dig around in Apples design studio vault! Thanks for visiting and good to hear from you.

  • Jim Rait

    February 7, 2010 at 3:04 am Reply

    i have worked on projects from aero gas turbines to laundry wash products where we have had concepts for ten to fifteen years; feeling sure that the customer need was there but not executing it well enough because the technology available wasn’t good enough….. so keep the archives, and refer to them regularly for inspiration, especially when new tech comes closer than the horizon!

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