Intel Coined the Term iPad Back in 1994

Apple is notoriously protective of their intellectual property. Even going so far as suing Samsung in a high-profile fight over the iPhone and iPad designs. But what if Apple didn't coin the name for one of their most celebrated products? Namely, the iPad.

Predictions for iPad-like gadgets predate Apple's device by decades. Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey featured tablety devices and Knight-Ridder released a concept video for a news tablet back in 1994. But before Apple unveiled the name iPad in 2010, nobody predicted that term. That is, nobody except for former Intel vice president Avram Miller.

An Associated Press article from June 30, 1994 described Intel's vision for a home of the future, complete with an "information furnace" at its heart. But there's also mention of a curious sounding device: an I-pad or "information pad."

From the Associated Press:

"One of the devices that's interesting, we call it an I-pad, an information pad," [Avram] Miller said. "It would be a device that has a flat-panel screen. You can write on it, touch it. You might be able to speak into it and it might speak back. It would be wireless, cheap and have different forms in the house."

Some early forms of an "I-pad" are Apple Computer Inc.'s Newton, Motorola Inc.'s Envoy and IBM's Simon devices, which have both computing and communication features.

Intel's 1994 I-pad was more or less a catch-all term for the gadgets that would interact with tomorrow's home. Still, the name and its associations with home electronics clearly have a flag planted in the ground over 15 years before Apple's iPad would burst onto the scene. Intel even unveiled an IPAD device at CES in 2001 that eventually fizzled out.

But it's good to see Intel isn't being as obnoxiously litigious as Apple might be about this situation. Who knows what Apple might have done had the roles been reversed?


Image: Intel Corp graphic from the July 4, 1994 Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa