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How Star Trek Artists Imagined the iPad... 23 Years Later

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the read-it-on-tos-yesterday dept.

324

MorderVonAllem submitted an incredibly cool article about the computers and set design of Star Trek. If you are into that sort of thing, you're going to really like this one. It says "There are a lot of similarities between Apple's iPad and the mobile computing devices—known as PADDs—used in the Star Trek universe. Ars spoke to designers Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda, and Doug Drexler to find out the thinking and inspiration behind the PADD and how closely the iPad represents a real-life incarnation of that dream."

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324 comments

lolwut? (-1, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205508)

Seriously? This is getting a bit insane now.

Re:lolwut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205770)

really. I just RTFA, smoke Jobhova's cock much Ars?

Wow... (3, Insightful)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205514)

I thought this was Slashdot: Source for technology related news with a heavy slant towards Linux and Open Source issues

Not Apple HQ.

The PADDs similar tablets in general, not just Apples iPad.

Re:Wow... (-1, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205564)

The PADDs similar tablets in general, not just Apples iPad.

Actually real tablet computers are probably a lot more similar than the crippleware that is the iPad.

Re:Wow... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205568)

If you RTFA the Star Trek guys specifically mention the iPad not pads and tablets in general. Thus the article title.

Re:Wow... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205588)

you must be old here...

Re:Wow... (5, Insightful)

EricTheRed (5613) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205614)

I thought this was Slashdot: Source for technology related news with a heavy slant towards Linux and Open Source issues

Not Apple HQ.

The PADDs similar tablets in general, not just Apples iPad.

I agree with you.

Think of all those e-readers out there, they too look like the smaller PADD's you see in TNG - albeit with black & white screens.

The only things an iPad (or iPhone/iPod touch) has more in common with PADD's are colour and touch sensitive screens, although some e-readers also have the latter.

I think there's too many iPad centric articles around at the moment, much to Apple's delight I think

Re:Wow... (4, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205784)

Well you can disagree, but the I think the point of the article is that the two Trek designers specifically brought up the similarities.

"For example, pinch to zoom—that was relatively difficult to do even as a visual effect. It's implemented brilliantly on the iPad and the iPhone."

Drexler said that to him, the iPad is "eerily similar" to the PADDs used in Star Trek. "We always felt that the classic Okuda T-bar graphic was malleable, and that you could stretch and rearrange it to suit your task, just like the iPad," he said. "The PADD never had a keyboard as part of its casing, just like the iPad. Its geometry is almost exactly the same—the corner radius, the thickness, and overall rectangular shape."

"It's uncanny to have a PADD that really works," Drexler said, unlike the non-functional props made for the TV series and later films. "The iPad is the true Star Trek dream," Drexler told Ars.

None of those things apply to, eg, the Kindle (nor other pre-iPad tablets. I've never seen an Android tablet) which has a very different form factor, different bezel/corner radius, different colors, different screen, no touch. So, take it up with the designers of the PADD if you've got a problem ;-)

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206504)

I've been using pinch-to-zoom on my NEC Versa LitePad since 2003 using XPTPCE's programmable gestures.

Bill Gates told us in 2002 that the Tablet PC was destined to replace the notebook computer, btw. He's the true visionary.

Re:Wow... (3, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205786)

Other than Jake Sisko, how often did you see the Star Trek post TNG cast use styluses with PADDs?

How often do you see people actually using Pogo styluses with iPad/iPod Touch/iPhones?

The iPad is largely the first consumer touch screen device that can aptly be compared with a PADD.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206256)

Apple fanboy is an Apple fanboy. News at 11.

Re:Wow... (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205810)

I thought this was Slashdot: Source for technology related news with a heavy slant towards Linux and Open Source issues

That last bit isn't advertised anywhere.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205902)

Yes it is.

Re:Wow... (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205820)

I'm not even convinced they originated the idea on Star Trek. I don't have a copy to hand to check, but I vaguely recall Arthur C. Clark writing something about Heywood Floyd reading a newspaper on an electronic tablet like device while en route to the moon in "2001: A Space Odyssey", which was published in 1968.

Re:Wow... (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205946)

I vaguely recall Arthur C. Clark writing something about Heywood Floyd reading a newspaper on an electronic tablet like device while en route to the moon in "2001: A Space Odyssey", which was published in 1968.

Yes. That's in the movie. [mercurybrief.com] For the 1960s movie, they had to build the tablet into the table and project film from underneath.

Re:Wow... (5, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206300)

I'm not even convinced they originated the idea on Star Trek. I don't have a copy to hand to check, but I vaguely recall Arthur C. Clark writing something about Heywood Floyd reading a newspaper on an electronic tablet like device while en route to the moon in "2001: A Space Odyssey", which was published in 1968.

It's been awhile since I read the book, but in the film, it seems to be a reading device, not a general-purpose tablet computer. IE its interaction appears limited to the equivalent of flipping through a newspaper, as opposed to running applications.

On the topic of the PADD, I've been making my way through the various Star Trek series, and one of the things that's really struck me is how even though the Federation has access to advanced computing power and networking technology, crew members still physically hand each other PADDs to transfer information. In some cases, they'll end up with piles of PADDs on their desks if they're studying a particular topic in depth.

At first I thought that this was something along the lines of how William Gibson didn't think to include cellphones in Neuromancer, because essentially everyone was still using payphones back then. But after more reflection, maybe the Star Trek staff were just more forward-thinking and assumed some sort of draconian DRM scheme that locks data to a particular physical device :).

Re:Wow... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206418)

and subsequent renditions of "hacking" have had more in common with the pre-internet phone phreaks.

and what if the newspapers where applications? see wired and comic books in electronic form on ipad right now. Hell, marvel tested flash based online comics some years ago.

Re:Wow... (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205938)

It is in fact heavily slanted towards, not exclusively about, Linux and Open Source.
Since we all love technology, I see no reason to dismiss outright any particular vendor.

Re:Wow... (2, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206202)

Actually, the article makes specific points that itis similar to the iPad over other tablets. This primarily comes from the fact that the Okudas specifically focused on ease of use and interfaces that could change to fit the needs of the story (and thus the needs of the fictional user). This is quite a bit different from most of the tablets that came before, those that relied on styluses and desktop OS's, enforcing paradigms that worked much better for a mouse keyboard.

Once some decent Android(or MeeGo, or WebOS, or Windows Phone 7) tablets come out, and I'm sure they will, lest someone think me a mere fanboy, that won't be true anymore. But for now the comparison is quite apt for the iPad in particular.

Re:Wow... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206270)

Once some decent Android(or MeeGo, or WebOS, or Windows Phone 7)

now, I'm a hardcore iOS fanboy but, c'mon? Windows Phone 7?

I'd hold more faith that BlackBerry 6 would be a better iOS competitor than WP7.

Re:Wow... (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206266)

Moral of the story is that science fiction often predicts future technologies - its not promoting the iPad as a Star Trek gadget. However, most techies already know this, so I agree, its not really news worthy of Slashdot.

Re:Wow... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206520)

The PADDs similar tablets in general, not just Apples iPad.

I dunno. Star Trek is very inline with Slashdot. I was suprised no one noticed the similarities sooner here.

I was watching reruns STNG with my dad a few months ago and I saw Picard hand what basically looked like an iPad to riker and I joked "Hey, I bet this is where got the idea haha."

The device is pretty much the same size and shape and considering every console in STNG is touch based...

Well... Here you go:

http://www.milliamp.com/blog/1485/ipad-got-nuthin-on-picard/ [milliamp.com]

Of course it was an inspiration (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205526)

I'd be willing to bet most of the engineers working on the iPad were Star Trek fans. Consciously or subconsciously, seeing how they were used on Star Trek inspired them. It's the same way cell phones operated a lot like communications. The Okudas should ask for royalty payments.

two words: (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205538)

Prior Art!

I'm still waiting for my Apple Tr-iCorder (1)

Omega (1602) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205822)

1. Geological
2. Meteorological
3. Biological

Re:I'm still waiting for my Apple Tr-iCorder (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206358)

There's a basic Tricorder app in the Android market (it's even got an LCARS-style UI, which has its pros and cons). It's obviously a far cry from the Star Trek props, but it does have some cool data acquisition and graphing features. For example, it can use the electronic compass in the device as a magnetometer, letting you graph the relative field strength as you move around a room. It also lets you view the raw coordinates from the GPS and cell positioning systems, view a spectrogram of sound captured via the microphone, etc.

Re:two words: (1)

joeflies (529536) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206210)

Prior Art!

So which one is first? Did the PADD (tv prop) inspire the iPad, or does the iPad inspire the PADD (24rd century)?

I'm getting a transparent aluminum sized headache just thinking about it.

one more similarity (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205550)

These PADDS also don't run Flash.

I knew it! Jobs just tried to literally copy this whole PADD concept.

Errors in the article. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205578)

The article is wrong. i am almost dead certain that last PADD image comes from an early DS9 episode, where everyone gets aphasia and O'Brien tries to communicate with Bashir by writing.

FAIL!

What's Not Discussed +1, Helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205580)

is that iPad technology was stolen from aliens.

Yours In Baikonur,
K. Trout

not quite. (4, Insightful)

Triv (181010) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205628)

I dunno, it seems to me the iPad and the PADD aren't particularly analogous. iPads are interactive application frameworks; PADDs were usually only used exactly the same way paper is - "look at this data from Omicron Persei 8!" *hands it over. *Reads. "My god. The borometric field is fluctuating!" You rarely saw data uploaded to a PADD and you never saw it running complex applications or interacting with the world; that's what Tricorders were for.

A PADD was a clipboard, just future-visioned. It served exactly the same purpose, plot-wise, as all the paper in the new Battlestar Galactica being octagonal - it show you you were in a different world.

Re:not quite. (1)

netsuhi.com (1867770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205736)

No it's just that it looks much better when everyone is looking at an interactive wall and doing things on it than some small fiddley padd. The look at this served to move the plot on like many people working on an application with a wall for a display device. How booring would it have been to watch someone working on a PADD.

Re:not quite. (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205808)

I find I use my iPad mostly for content consumption as well. Browsing sites, looking up information, browsing pictures. Yeah I have Keynote, Numbers, and Pages installed, but they're largely gimmicks compared to Office for the desktop.

If only they included a stylus. My tablet PC is much more useful in terms of getting work done due to the stylus.

Re:not quite. (5, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205816)

You rarely saw data uploaded to a PADD and you never saw it running complex applications or interacting with the world; that's what Tricorders were for.

All it really took was reading the article for several examples of how that's not true.

Re:not quite. (4, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206016)

I dunno, it seems to me the iPad and the PADD aren't particularly analogous. iPads are interactive application frameworks; PADDs were usually only used exactly the same way paper is

Usually, but not always. ISTR them being used interactively during engineering diagnostics and for data entry in Sickbay.
 
I do recall an interview in the early 90's where Micheal Okuda stated that a PADD could act like any main display [like the ones on the bridge] and thus, in theory, one could operate the entire ship while strolling down a corridor with a PADD in hand. My copies of the technical manual have long since been consigned to the basement, but I believe those [theoretical] capabilities were discussed there as well.

Re:not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206046)

Actually to me, PADD's were used more like thin clients. The PADD was the interface/display device - all the real work was done on the main computer. Since I never one plugged into a charger, one would suspect that they used either "wireless power transmission" a la Tesla or every horizontal surface was a smart inductive charging surface.

Re:not quite. (1)

GreenTom (1352587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206194)

I dunno, seems like once you've got antimatter batteries, you can finally extend the time between recharges a bit.

100 watts @50% efficiency x 5 year mission = 8760kWH = 0.25 micrograms antimatter (=7.5 tons TNT, but who's worrying?)

Re:not quite. (1)

Monty_Lovering (842499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206336)

Ah, come on...

It's a movie/series.

They don't show them having a crap either, but they do.

Expecting them to show them plugging the PADD into their PADD docks is like expecting to see Legolas collecting arrows fro the bodies of the dead. Of course he did it, otherwise he'd run out, but it is more interesting to see him stabbing orcs than collecting arrows.

The only time 'bookkeeping' activities like ammo/battery charge come into a film/series is when it is relevant to the plot... as when pinned down under fire against unwinnable odds before the Butch and Sundance bit which they obviously survive (see above comment about it not being real)... "how many arrows you got left my keen eyed elven friend?", "how much charge in your blaster" etc. ad plot device.

Time-honored tradition (1)

Spinland (1865248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206480)

Rationalizing Treknology is a tradition as old as the Internet. You wouldn't think of denying someone their fun, now, would you?

Re:not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206072)

I'm not interested in buying an iPad. But if is UI looked like LCARS I'd seriously reconsider.

Re:not quite. (1)

Georules (655379) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206162)

There are tons of times where engineers can be seen working on PADDs for programming, creating reports, and reading -- not just passing over data on a clipboard. They were most certainly connected to the ship's computer, and therefore all of the systems on the ship. This isn't much unlike an iPad taking advantage of a cloud computing service.

Re:not quite. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206204)

Wow, a Futurama and a BSG reference while arguing about Star Trek. I think I regained my virginity just by reading that.

Re:not quite. (2, Funny)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206460)

"A PADD was a clipboard, just future-visioned. It served exactly the same purpose, plot-wise, as all the paper in the new Battlestar Galactica being octagonal - it show you you were in a different world."

Agreed. Seems to me that it would be obvious that future technology would evolve beyond using dead trees with black powder stuck to it.

The technology that annoyed me the most about Star Trek and TNG was cameras. Here you're sending people over to strange ships and planets and asking "What's going on? Can you describe to me what you see?" Give me a break! 400 years in the future and they can't envision wireless video, but wireless audio is everywhere.

Re:not quite. (1, Informative)

darien.train (1752510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206526)

PADDs were usually only used exactly the same way paper is

If you watch the episodes carefully you see Data and Georgi also using them as extensions of the ships computer interface and/or as a collaborative task and data sharing devices. I also recall Crusher using them as extensions of sick bay medical devices. Picard and Riker used them as clipboards which was just more noticeable as the information exchange was part of the plot.

The PADD discussion hits on both of my two biggest problems with the iPad. One, it isn't an extension of my home computer. It's an extension of itunes which is far from the same thing as an extension of an entire machine. You can rig a bunch of apps to get close but still no cigar.

The second thing I dislike about the iPad is the weight and by extensions it's ergonomics. PADDs were light (you see people holding them with a thumb and forefinger) and a bit smaller. I have an iPad for testing and pitching at work and I feel like I can never hold it the same way for more than 3 mins before I have to change my hand position (whereas I can hold my iphone steady in front of my face for hours while reading an ebook.)

Once ChromeOS tablets with app sync come out I think they'll get much closer to what PADDs have achieved in fiction.

I'd like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205646)

How many /. readers don't actually read arstechnica. The general overlap in interest is pretty huge. And, not that it's any real metric, ars has more followers on facebook than /. (Hopefully this is linked to privacy concerns)

Re:I'd like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206008)

I only read it when an article is linked here. I have ventured onto their forums a couple of times and... what a bunch of arrogant and opinionated arsholes.

I have no privacy concerns about facebook because I don't have an account. I don't have an account because facebook is silly.

HTH

Mod parent advert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205650)

Mod parent 'advert', plz.... again. ._.

sci-fi movies (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205674)

I like looking at old sci-fi movies and think 20 years ago this was impossible now we actually have that. I remember as a kid watching star trek and thinking that's would be so cool.

It would have been more impressive... (1)

Nux'd (1002189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205718)

...if they'd imagined it 23 years earlier.

Re:It would have been more impressive... (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205904)

They couldn't have imagined it 23 years earlier. Only Steeve Jobs could have imagined it first.

The good news is that Star Trek will still be around in 2033.

Imagine iPads (or PADDs) & "Minority Report" (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205730)

What a great concept for an interface. (Stick in all of the usual superlatives and adjectives like immersive, sharable, networkable, topographically deep display and interaction technology. ISNTDDIT [from the John Brunner school of neologism. {See "EngLReySattelServ". }])

Ultimately, I'd like to see something able to sense our reaching into a hologram which is projecting a synthetic image.

F&^* the mouse and my flat screens.

This would rock...

Re:Imagine iPads (or PADDs) & "Minority Report (1)

Kuroji (990107) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205930)

Two words: gorilla arm. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Imagine iPads (or PADDs) & "Minority Report (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206474)

only applicable if the screen is at a close to 90 degree angle vs the desk its resting on. get it down to below 45 and the problem goes away (tho i wonder why apple had to apply for a patent on their ipad case design).

Re:Imagine iPads (or PADDs) & "Minority Report (1)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206464)

"Ultimately, I'd like to see something able to sense our reaching into a hologram which is projecting a synthetic image."

Manipulating the graphics based on sensing and tracking your motion we can do now, it's the whole creating a hologram without spinning mirrors or suspended projection media that poses the problem, not to mention the user blocking the projection.

But I digress, I really just wanted to point out that the interface you describe was shown in the first Iron Man movie when Stark is developing the new version of his suit at his home lab. He displays the mechanical frame design for the suit forearm then reaches into the holographic image and "wears" it, rotating his arm with the hologram matching his movement.

Rubric for e-reader ubiquity (5, Insightful)

trickofperspective (180714) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205734)

When I can casually toss it onto my desk like Picard without worrying about the thing shattering, it will have officially replaced books.

Re:Rubric for e-reader ubiquity (2, Interesting)

jbarr (2233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206234)

Great observation!

Current technology in the iPad, while quite decent, is still quite fragile. I was discussing the pros and cons of the Kindle and the iPad to some family members, and they were asking what were some of the "cons" of these devices. Among other things, I said, "Well, you can step on a book and it won't shatter, you can drop a book in a puddle, shake it off, and it's usually still readable." The point being that books, while taking up far more space than e-versions, they are amazingly rugged and durable--something that the likes of the Kindle or iPad can't yet claim.

If you had "transparent Aluminum"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206332)

All the iPad needs is a transparent aluminum screen, and you can toss it around all you want. (:-)

PADD... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205746)

less space than a nomad... lame.

There's an episode (Voyager, I think) where crew are handed out single letters from home on a PADD. Looks like their hard disks were really, really small.

iPad vs PADD (3, Interesting)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205752)

I always just took it as a given that the PADD was a large part of the inspiration behind the iPad. I mean, even the name pays homage. I can easily envision someone like Steve Jobs sitting down with a designer and some episodes of ST:TNG and saying "Now make me on of those".

It's pretty apparent that the set designers on ST:TNG were visionaries. It's pretty difficult to accurately envision the future, even if it's only 20 years ahead of time. Credit needs to be given to those guys. I just hope that Apple had the decency to give them free iPads when they were released.

Nah. It'd be Gates yelling ... (2, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205958)

"Make it look more like the Mac."

The PADD is just the display portion of the iPad.

It would have come as a very great surprise to people in the 80s how microelectronics have changed the face what is actually possible.

The limitations of the iPad are ones of the physical limitations of human being holding them.

Your arms are only so strong, so long and so jointed.

The electronics and computing power we can cram into those dimensions may grow as Moore's Law continues apace but our arms and our eyes aren't going to change.

PADD: CS (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206268)

A PADD, iPad, or some sort of flat electronic information displaying device isn't exactly some whacked out idea - it's a natural and obvious design of a device - it's how everyone on the face of the planet consumes written material.Making computing more human friendly has been the goal of the comp. scientists since day one.

I really don't think Apple took any inspiration from Star Trek.

Re:PADD: CS (5, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206416)

I think the really interesting thing here is that some big and well funded companies have been trying to sell tablet computers for over a decade, yet never made the same decision concerning the form factor that was obvious to a art director for a TV show twenty years ago. Basically that a computing device accessed via a touchscreen should have an interface specifically designed to be operated via a touchscreen. That is the big difference between the iPad and the tablets that came before it. And also one of the big differences between the PADD and most of the tablets we've seen in the real world.

And I'd argue that it's not necessarily the job of computer scientists to make computing more friendly. They should be working on making software more efficient and powerful. Interface designers should be the ones worrying about making it more friendly. There is of course overlap and cross-communication between the two disciplines, but interface design is important enough that people should dedicate their work specifically to it.

Re:iPad vs PADD (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206458)

It's pretty apparent that the set designers on ST:TNG were visionaries

The clothes designers though...

23 years "later"? (1)

Reilaos (1544173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205804)

It hasn't been 23 years since the iPad came out, and the article says "23 years ago" anyway.

Very simple (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205806)

The iPad is EXACTLY what the PADD would have been had the Ferengi designed it instead of someone in the Federation.

Re:Very simple (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206038)

The iPad is EXACTLY what the PADD would have been had the Ferengi designed it instead of someone in the Federation.

So what would that make the Android tablet, Pakled?

Re:Very simple (4, Funny)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206048)

Whereas Microsoft Courier is exactly what the PADD would have been had the Pakleds designed it.

Re:Very simple (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206408)

And the ASUS Eee Pad is exactly what the iPad would be if Dr. Noonien Soong had designed it.

And the Nintendo DSi is what the iPad would be if the Japanese had designed it. Oh wait...

The iPad's future (2, Funny)

CaseM (746707) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205832)

I can't predict the future, but I'm quite sure Steve's Job's brain, submerged in a nutrient-rich emulsion, will be wheeled out at the 2200 WWDC to announce the new iPad.

In Apple HQ yesterday... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205880)

"Grr! iPad sales aren't increasing fast enough for me to buy my eighth solid gold yacht! And why don't I dominate the world yet? These extra black turtlenecks won't sell themselves, people! Quick, iLackey! Post some bullshit story to Slashdot to drum up more iPad hype! Make sure you get it out when CmdrTaco's on duty! He'll publish anything praising Apple!"

I must have missed that episode (5, Funny)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205886)

These mobile computing terminals bear a striking resemblance to Apple's iPad

Perhaps it depends on the level at which you judge things. For me, for something to "resemble an iPad," it needs to have a third party inserted between the developer and the user.

Geordi: "Hey, what if we reroute The Borg's root command through the subspace neutrino beam? Their ship will collapse like a house of balloons!"
Riker: "Checkmate!"
Picard: "Mr. Data, make it so."
Data: "Aye aye, captain." [fingers blur on PADD, then stop. Data just sits there.]
Picard: "Mr. Data?"
Data: "Yes, captain?"
Picard: "Are you ready?!"
Data: "Waiting for software approval by the Ferengi, sir."
Picard: *sigh* "Initiate auto-destruct sequence."

It's amazing really (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205932)

It's amazing how much you can 'predict' given nearly a quarter century of hindsight. Not to mention that much of this technology is older than Okuda & Co. would have you believe.

I saw my first flat screen display with software configurable buttons in 1982, as this was the interface used to operate the simulation computers that drove the trainers for the MK88/2 and MK98/0 (Trident Backfit and Trident-I respectively) missile fire and launch control systems. (Though the screens were activated via a stylus rather than true touch screens.) The systems weren't new even then, they were at least six years old. (And thus designed even earlier.) For that matter, the many of the 'buttons' on the fire control console themselves (whose design dates to the early/mid 1970's) were actually miniaturized slide projectors that could display different messages under software control. Heck, the MK88/1 Poseidon system could (under software control) display different colors on a single button (though not different message text as the 88/2 and 98 could) as far back as the late 60's.

There's also sonar and torpedo fire control equipment from the same (early 70's) era with software configurable interfaces.

For that matter, as early as my VIC-20, the buttons on the keyboard could do various things depending on the software that was running at the time.

Re:It's amazing really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206018)

It's amazing how much you can 'predict' given nearly a quarter century of hindsight. Not to mention that much of this technology is older than Okuda & Co. would have you believe.

I saw my first flat screen display with software configurable buttons in 1982, as this was the interface used to operate the simulation computers that drove the trainers for the MK88/2 and MK98/0 (Trident Backfit and Trident-I respectively) missile fire and launch control systems. (Though the screens were activated via a stylus rather than true touch screens.) The systems weren't new even then, they were at least six years old. (And thus designed even earlier.) For that matter, the many of the 'buttons' on the fire control console themselves (whose design dates to the early/mid 1970's) were actually miniaturized slide projectors that could display different messages under software control. Heck, the MK88/1 Poseidon system could (under software control) display different colors on a single button (though not different message text as the 88/2 and 98 could) as far back as the late 60's.

There's also sonar and torpedo fire control equipment from the same (early 70's) era with software configurable interfaces.

For that matter, as early as my VIC-20, the buttons on the keyboard could do various things depending on the software that was running at the time.

This may shock you, but the iPad (and the Star Trek prop) are portable.

Re:It's amazing really (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206320)

This may shock you, but the iPad (and the Star Trek prop) are portable.

Just an obvious enhancement because technology allows it.

If the Star Trek writers had any real imagination, they would have had a data display device that would induce an electrical current in one's occipital lobs thereby allowing said information to appear in their eyes. Or even have something that creates the memories in their brain so that as far as the recipient of the information is concerned, the information is a memory that they knew all along.

Or something that no one has ever thought of.

Re:It's amazing really (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206312)

And don't forget the old mnemonic computers that were constructed with stone knives and bearskin.

Amok Time (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33205942)

So Amok Time was about about Kirk calling Spock a fanboy and that's why he went ape?!?

Wow, did I misunderstand that one! Hands back card and accompanying plastic Tricorder. *shame*.

Tablet PCs have been around for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33205960)

It's always been a pretty obvious idea. Until a decade or so ago it was a bit too pricey and until Apple actually produced one with enough marketing push and App store infrastructure to make people actually want them.

just an eye phone, but different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33206084)

It will be just like the eye phone but will be larger, and not have the phone.

Ziggy the smartphone? (5, Funny)

eshbums (1557147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206086)

Maybe Al wouldn't have needed to beat on Ziggy all the time on Quantum Leap if he wouldn't cover up the antenna with his cigar hand.

Re:Ziggy the smartphone? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206180)

+5 ROTFLMAO! Well done!

Steve was actually figuring we'd all want to be like Al, struggling with imperfect implementations of high technology! He's a GENIUS!

Now we just need to have the iPhone4 make the little ticky-chirpy sounds when hit.

Not the smoking gun... (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206226)

...the real smoking gun would have been a TOS episode titled "I, Padd".

(This is bogus. Why did I bother posting this?)

So what about teleporter? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206238)

You know star trek seems to be the source for a lot of design patterns used in technology from a cell phone (communicator) to the ipad, to this and that, i wonder when it comes time to start teleporting if we will adapt the same hardware setup as they did in the transporter room? Seriously, did you know teleporting will be the next wheel or sliced bread invention, if we can get it right....imagine being able to teleport all cancer cells from your body, leaving behind healthy tissue, or teleporting from us to china in a blink of an eye, you could commute to japan for work almost everyday...limitations would be overcome in so many aspects of life and varying industries!

23 Years... LATER? (2, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206348)

Twenty Three years later than what? Maybe you mean 23 years *after* Stanley Kubrick envisioned the iPad in 1968 for the movie 2001?

Stanley was off by only 9 years, a pretty good prediction, and unlike Star Trek, which almost never showed anything on the PADD, in 2001, the characters are shown watching full-screen, wirelessly streamed video to the tablet.

Frankly, the PADD was a easy device to envision, especially since you see Kirk dealing with essentially the same device in almost every TOS episode (It's a clipboard with lights).

And for some reason, the best part about TOS was gone from every Rick Berman Star Trek that followed: the background jibber-jabber on the bridge, that stuff about "gravity is down to point-eight" that is heard to make the bridge sound like there's A LOT going on... All the other bridges are dead-quiet, even the "earlier" NX-01 Enterprise.

Anyhow; Point is: Nothing new under the sun, and, to anyone who keeps his eyes open, this stuff has been around since long before ST:TNG, it's just that the internet kiddies only remember TNG because that's what *they* grew up with.

Now Get Off My Lawn.

This belongs in the apple section. (0, Flamebait)

whatajoke (1625715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206386)

I haven't removed apple section from my preferences to see the shitfest spreading into other sections. Please keep apple stories in Apple section.

why exactly is this a story? (1)

playcat (1723020) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206486)

i kinda expected everyone here to know the similarity, and thought of it as something not worth mentioning :)

Jefferies's set design (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33206498)

I agree with the article that TOS set designer did a good job overall. But there were definitely elements of the design that were not very forward-looking. Spock had a MECHANICAL COUNTER at his station!
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