From Da Vinci to tablet revolution – part I

It all started way before first iPad hit the market. Only the smartest knew already in early eighties that computer that previously occupied several rooms would fit into a back pocket one day. The question today is – “How to get on mobile in that pocket?”

How ideas became the reality

Possibly the oldest sketch of the computer was made by Leonardo da Vinci. Not noticed as many of his inventions. Just after 1623, Wilhelm Schickard came up with the first mechanical calculating machines. The first programable computer was signed by Konrad Zuse, im 1936. Zuse would not even dream of reading his Daily on computer at that time. Development has continued and in 1945 the first universal, fully electronic computer was  constructed – ENIAC. You may have seen Imitation game movie lately to have an idea. It had an area of 140 meters square, weighing 40 tons, contained 18,000 tubes, 1,500 relays, 10,000 capacitors and 7,000 resistors. Energy consumption was comparable to the consumption of a smaller village.


ENIAC scientists holding various parts of the computer

The need of an intercommunication was growing that result in to the emergence of computer networks and internet. The great ideas on dissemination of a digital content for the masses exploded.


Tablet pioniers

It took another 40 years until tablet managed to reach the mass market. Several hypotheses why it tool so long are: the limits of the technology, extremely costly development or actual use in the real world.

The first typical tablet was Dynabook. A “personal computer for children” for interactive learning. Dynabook, launched in 1972, was never produced. At that time, the cost of the production would reach 6000 USD per unit. It wasn’t Steve Jobs who spun the tablets world but Alan C. Kay, who also came up with first notebook – laptop.

Alan Kay

Alan Kay and the prototype of Dynabook

Pocket note-books came on the market in the early eighties. A significant step was the emergence of e-readers. Knight Rider, the publishing giant in 90s in the US, released promo movie in 1994, which says: Today’s news in the electronic age. They presented The Tablet and also a great idea that newspapers may change entirely in next 15 years. They didn’t even know how right they have been in saying that people want a computer that does not need a manual. Again, never marketed, however a prototype had been developed to present how consumption of information would certainly lead.


tablet pc vs. Apple iPad 1

Roger Fidler with tablet pc and Apple iPad 1


Another 16 years have been varied. In 1996 NewsPAD devices – tablet size device, colour LCD display, main purpose was a distribution of news again. Several prototypes were built but adaptation failed. Walt Disney, Microsoft and other companies had similar ideas, without success.

Apple iPhone launch in 2007 was the game changer. It opened the door to many homes as a revolutionary phone with touch control. The secret of success was in its real ease of use, as predicted 13 years ago. Users were suddenly open to the idea touching, buying content, consuming digital information. In 2010 Jobs presented iPad1 in an unconventional way. Sitting in a chair he opened a newspaper on the tablet, e-mail, internet. Exactly as people would like to receive those information, without heavy laptop or sitting by the office desk. Convenient, quick and easy. No way back for publishing houses, companies, tablets have been here, powerful and needing the content.



Over many years companies had been exposed to the examples of digital era coming, but many of them’ve been struggling with digital content even today. Perhaps the unsuccessful adaptations, concepts and failures until then convinced them that the media future is elsewhere.


To be continued …


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