Steve Jobs seems to predict iPad in rare 1983 recording

The complete recording of Jobs' talk at an Aspen, Colo., design conference contained hints of Apple products to come.

Casey Newton Former Senior Writer
Casey Newton writes about Google for CNET, which he joined in 2012 after covering technology for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is really quite tall.
Casey Newton
2 min read
Jobs holds up the iPad during its 2010 unveiling. James Martin/CNET

We take for granted that Steve Jobs was ahead of his time. A new recording from 1983 suggests just how far ahead he was.

Blogger Marcel Brown posted audio to his Life, Liberty and Technology site today of Steve Jobs' full speech from the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colo. Though the main portion of this talk had surfaced in August, the new recording contains an extended Q&A featuring Jobs' thoughts on networking, voice recognition, and even "an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you" that sounds a lot like the iPad that Apple would release 27 years later.

That "book" computer would have a "radio link" so it could communicate without being hooked up to anything else, Jobs told the audience at the time.

Other highlights, as summarized by Brown:

He mentions that computers are so fast they are like magic. I don't think it is a coincidence that he called the iPad "magical." He states that in a few years people will be spending more time interacting with personal computers than with cars. It seems so obvious now, but hardly a given back then. 

He equates society's level of technology familiarity to being on a "first date" with personal computers. He recognized that technology would continue to evolve in the near future as would people's comfort level with it. In hindsight, once it became dominant the PC industry stood relatively still while Jobs was busy planning "the next big thing".

He confidently talks about the personal computer being a new medium of communication. Again, this is before networking was commonplace or there was any inkling of the Internet going mainstream. Yet he specifically talks about early e-mail systems and how it is reshaping communication. 

He matter-of-factly states that when we have portable computers with radio links, people could be walking around anywhere and pick up their e-mail. Again, this is 1983, at least 20 years before the era of mobile computing. 

He mentions an experiment done by MIT that sounds very much like a Google Street View application.

He discusses early networking and the mess of different protocols that existed at the time. He predicts that we were about 5 years away from "solving" networking in the office and 10-15 years from solving networking in the home. I'd say he was pretty much dead-on.

For more, and to hear the recording, visit Brown's site.

(Via the Next Web)