Did Stanely Kubrick Invent The iPad?

Did Stanely Kubrick Invent The iPad?

Did Stanely Kubrick Invent The iPad?

Did Stanely Kubrick Invent The iPad?

Yesterday, it was discovered that Samsung, in an effort to not get sued by Apple, is attempting to prove a point that Stanley Kubrick created the original form of the iPad when he made 2001: A Space Odyssey. As you can see in the images above, there’s clearly some kind of electric tablet sitting there, and Samsung claims that “two astronauts are eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers.” It’s that last part that I don’t agree with.

Is that really a personal tablet computer? Or is it a personal television? As you can see there are 10 buttons on the bottom of the tablet, and what they do, we can only imagine. The scene which this was featured lasts only two minutes, and they never actually touch or interact with the devices in the scene. Looking up a timeline of the personal computer, in 1968, the same year 2001 was released, Hewlett Packard coined the phrase “personal computer”.

An advertisement in Science magazine by Hewlett-Packard introduces first programmable scientific desktop calculator, which Hewlett-Packard calls “the new Hewlett-Packard 911A personal computer”. (This is claimed as coining the term “personal computer”.)

In another example, you can see the Nova by Data General, which is basically a giant filing cabinet with a tiny monitor on top. So to say that the image is a personal computer seems just a tiny bit far fetched. What’s also funny to me is that you can clearly see a tiny IBM logo on the bottom right of the device. Interestingly enough, IBM launched the first laptop called the IBM 5100, in September of 1975, 7 years after the release of 2001.

Now, I’m not saying there isn’t similarities. Perhaps Kubrick did envision this as a personal computer, and perhaps IBM or a prop guy built something close to his idea? But is there any solid proof that says that’s what this was? Either way, I found the history lesson of personal computers rather interesting. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in the last 40 years. Imagine the computers we’ll be using 40 years from now.


7 Comments Did Stanely Kubrick Invent The iPad?

  1. Ryan August 24, 2011 at 6:59 AM

    Great post – from an aesthetic standpoint, I think Kubrick did have some influence. Its been noted since the original iPhone, that the design was like a mini ‘monolith’… and while this specific scene is in question, Kubrick did repeat the monolith shape all throughout the movie… so half true?

    To know if this device is a tablet, tv, or otherwise, the answer is actually in the book. While the functionality is a bit different, Kubrick & Clarke did in fact include a tablet in the future world of 2001. Its name? The “Newspad.” Link below:


    If anything, I think it just speaks to the genius of Kubrick & Clarke to think of something ahead of their time, instead of any design infringement by Apple.

  2. Kurt Lorenz August 24, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    See also: Paul Atreides in David Lynch’s DUNE.

  3. replay ray August 24, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    there’s no question that Kubrick read that Science magazine. he read EVERYTHING he could for 2001. an interesting aside: Kubrick correctly predicted flat acreen TVs and Monitors, as shown in 2001, but in the sequel, 2010,(which Kubrick had nothing to do with) they’re back to using CRTs

  4. Thirdsyphon August 24, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    I agree with Ryan. Those things fit the book’s description of a “newspad” device exactly. . . right down to their 0-9 number keys and the portrait orientation[!!!] of their displays.

    Unlike the newspads in the book, however, they don’t appear to be plugged into any kind of physical data jack. . . which means that Stanley Kubrick is also the inventor of wireless networking.

  5. Lallypop August 24, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Well Steve and Apple didn’t really claim to invent the tablet computer with the iPad since its been a concept that’s been sitting there for years.

    They just reinvented a concept that’s already there, and people just assumed or thought that they claim to invent it since they changed the whole tablet PC market when they introduced the iPad.

    As far as Kubrick is concerned, I’m sure we all agree that he’s way ahead of his time.

  6. peayq August 25, 2011 at 7:28 AM

    btw, HAL is IBM -1 letter on the alphabet. H-I A-B L-M.

  7. krylite November 13, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    If you compare the newspad to other levels of technology shown in the movie, it’s apparent it’s just a flat video terminal with wireless receiving capability as someone mentioned. The communications antenna had an electronic controller box which they retrieved in their eva missions. The eva pods had electronic targeting and control systems. Still it showed one function of the ipad as a flat video display. HAL as the main computer had a massive array of components of his cpu. In 2010 the sequel movie, Flloyd is using a laptop in one scene on the beach, but it’s a massive clunker compared to the newspad shown here.

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