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The iPad of 1935

As evidence that the conceptual idea behind iPad and other tablet devices is not a new invention, the April 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics featured the above design of a fancy man (look at that jacket!) leisurely reading with the courtesy of a machine. The magazine explained, “It has proved possible to photograph books, and throw them on a screen for examination, as illustrated long ago in this magazine. At the left is a device for applying this for home use and instruction; it is practically automatic.” And anticipating the multimedia functionality found in the iPad, the article also pointed out that “You can read a ‘book’ (which is a roll of miniature film), music, etc., at your ease.” The best part about the above illustration is that there are two plain old books printed on paper resting on the table. So neglected. So old school. I wonder if the fancy man was nervous when he made his purchase like I am before I buy an Apple product because I’m cynically positive the company will release a better version two months later. “What? The iPad of 1936? CRAP! I just bought this a month ago. I can’t even return it.”

No word yet on how they planned to manufacture it back then. Not sure if they would have the tight supply chain and inventory control that Apple is able to leverage. Recently the popular radio show This American Life had to issue a retraction following its airing of a critical expose on the working conditions at the factories in China responsible for manufacturing Apple’s devices due to certain “embellishments” in the story by the episode’s contributor, Mike Daisey. In the meantime, Apple shareholders will be laughing their way to the bank because the company announced that shareholders will receive “dividends and stock buybacks, at a cost of more than $10 billion a year for the next three years.” If you don’t own any shares but you do have an iPad, then here’s a consolation prize: a fun wallpaper that mimics a heavily smudged screen which will look even that much more disgusting on iPad 3′s new super high-def resolution screen.