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Friday, 06 December 2013 12:26

Intel built an IPAD a decade before Apple

Written by Nick Farrell



Never seen the light of day

Chipmaker Intel apparently built an IPAD ten years before Steve Jobs though of the tablet and the name. It was in the days when sticking an I in front of anything meant it was Intel rather than Apple and the Intel Pad, or IPAD for short, could browse the Internet, play music and videos, and even act as a digital picture frame.

Intel scrapped the IPAD before consumers could get their hands on it as its move into Tablets was seen as one of the outfit’s biggest blunders. According to CNET in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Chipzilla wanted to diversify its operations beyond the PC. The IPAD came from one of several small teams within its research arm tasked with exploring new business opportunities. The IPAD, which included a touch screen and stylus, would not run entirely on its own but connected to a computer to browse the Internet through an Intel wireless technology.

Intel thought that "mobility" meant moving around your home or business and the IPAD was to be a portable device you could take around your house. The reason that they never thought of connecting it to the phone network was because Intel wanted to tie it all back to its core PC chip business. After several years of development on the Intel Web Tablet, then-CEO Craig Barrett unveiled the device at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2001. The company planned to sell the tablet to consumers later that year.

Sadly though it miffed Intel’s PC partners, which didn't want a product that could potentially compete with them and Chipzilla caved in and cancelled the project.

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