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Apple admits iPad is a "massive joke"

An Apple insider has exclusively told CNET UK that the iPad started out as a simple April Fool's joke last year. Find out the true story behind the iPad's origins

Apple insiders have confirmed that the iPad is in fact a "massive joke". With only a couple of weeks to go before the multimedia tablet arrives in shops, the head of Apple's design department has exclusively admitted to CNET UK that the iPad began as a silly in-joke -- only for Apple chief executive Steve Jobs to think it was real.

"Of course, it all started as a bit of a laugh," said design foreman and shop steward Jony Ive in an exclusive interview with CNET UK, conducted over a couple of snakebite and blacks at the Dog and Sprocket in Silicon Valley, California. "The lads love a good giggle as much as the next man, and April Fool's is always a big one. A few years ago a couple of cheeky beggars took Phil Schiller's Prius apart and stuck it back together in his office. Barmy, they are. I think it's still there."

1 April 2009 saw the design team come up with a joke based on the popular iPhone: "So this year we came up with the idea of mocking up a giant iPhone, and spent the day walking around phoning each other on this great big thing," said Ive. "Frightened the life out of the girls in HR, it did. It were hilarious."

The joke backfired when Jobs visited the design department later in the year. While touring the company headquarters in Cupertino, California -- across the road from the whippet factory -- Jobs noticed the prank prototype. "The gaffer's face just lit up. Real sense of childlike wonder. Of course, I clocked straight away that things were about to go pear-shaped for muggins 'ere," said Ive with weary resignation.

Jobs championed the production of the giant iPhone, even adopting the joke name 'iPad': "'E's daft like that. We just didn't 'ave the 'eart to tell 'im." Jobs unveiled the iPad in February of this year after a frenzied period of rumour. Ive is surprised the real story hasn't emerged sooner: "We thought the Flash thing was a dead giveaway, to be honest."

This isn't the first time Jobs' singular vision has sprung from a careless moment by a backroom boffin. Two years ago, an Apple insider told us the MacBook Air had sprung from a similar misunderstanding. The employee, who did not wish to be named, told us that a disgruntled R&D type grumbled in response to a directive to make the MacBook slimmer, "Yeah, and why don't we just take out all the blinkin' USB ports and carry it round in a chuffin' envelope," unaware that Jobs was, in fact, standing right behind him.

"He does that, y'know: just appears behind you. Pete realised his mistake straight away of course, but by then it was too late. The gaffer had that same look of childlike wonder -- the sort of look you know is about to make my life a bloody misery."

Original Image: Abrinsky