iPad concept from 1982 and 'Baby Mac' revealed in new book

A recently published book gives an insight into some of Apple's earliest designs, including the 'Bashful' concept tablet.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

Contrary to what it would have you believe, Apple didn't invent the tablet -- but it did have some promising concept designs sketched up as early as 1982.

The snap above, which shows an Apple tablet design decades before the introduction of the iPad, is one prototype gadget detailed in a recently published book of design written by Hartmut Esslinger.

Esslinger founded design company Frog Design, which worked with Apple in the 80s and is credited as strongly influencing the Californian company's design ethos, including a unified look across all gadgets that Apple still employs today.

The tablet above doesn't look particularly slick by today's cruel standards, but in the early 80s you'd likely have sold a kidney to fondle that concept touchscreen machine, which is adorably nicknamed 'Bashful'. It even comes with a stylus, like its descendant the Newton.

A passage from Design Forward: Creative Strategies for Sustainable Change, which was provided to our sister site CNET News, describes how Esslinger advised Steve Jobs to use companies like Sony, Samsung and other Asian firms as manufacturing partners, something that's standard practise with Apple today.

"Most importantly," Esslinger recalls, "I explained, Apple needed one design team that directly reported to him, and that design had to be involved far ahead of any actual product development in Apple's strategic planning."

Head over to CNET News now, where you can ogle a vast array of other concept Apple goodies, including the 'Baby Mac' above, which Esslinger calls his "best design never to be produced", and was due to feature a wireless keyboard and mouse.

What's your favourite old computer? Are you a fan of tablets, or would you rather stick with a good old-fashioned laptop? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.