6 of 7
BACKNEXT
Apple touchscreen and tablet prototypes - 1980s
Apple touchscreen and tablet prototypes - 1980s
These two designs never made it to market, but they continue to inspire Apple's products.

First, industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger -- who actually assembled the Gizmodo Gallery -- developed a monochrome touch screen computer that could be operated with a stylus. These days it looks a lot like a precursor to the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Esslinger had been working for Sony when his work caught the eye of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who offered the designer an eye-popping $1 million contract. In the process of creating the touch screen, Esslinger also developed the "Snow White design," an aesthetic motif characterized by the machine's off-white color and a shape framed by horizontal and vertical lines. The design was ultimately applied to all Apple products from 1984 to 1990.

Esslinger also used the Snow White design to create a tablet computer for Apple, which has yet to see the light of day. Rumors have swirled for months that Apple will roll out a touch screen tablet PC that can run on a 3G network.

The blogosphere says we can expect to see an Apple tablet computer in stores by early 2010 -- but Esslinger saw it in his mind's eye decades ago.



NEXT: Rosetta Disk - 2009

Last updated September 23 2009: 11:26 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
These cities have the world's most expensive beer The world's most expensive cities for beer range from European capitals to financial centers in Asia. These are the destinations where a pint will set you back the most. More
8 great convertibles for summer Slap on some sunscreen and hit the open road in one of these fun open-top cars. More
Corporate America celebrates gay marriage decision Big business took to Twitter to celebrate Friday's historic Supreme Court decision. More

Special Offer