Star Trek Helps Steve Jobs Intro Apple’s New PADD iPad [UPDATE: Spiner iPad Comments] |
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Star Trek Helps Steve Jobs Intro Apple’s New PADD iPad [UPDATE: Spiner iPad Comments] January 27, 2010

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Trek Franchise , trackback

Today was the long-anticipated introduction of Apple Computers new Tablet device. Apple’s new ‘iPad’ is being touted as a revolutionary device that will shake up the industry, just like the iPod and the iPhone. And when Apple CEO Steve jobs made his big announcement and showed off the multimedia capability, he showed the Star Trek movie as an example. Of course, the notion of a PADD computer is nothing new to Trek. [UPDATE: Brent Spiner weighs in on the iPad/PADD connection]    


Apple introduces its PADD, the iPad
The Apple iPad was introduced today with Apple CEO Steve Jobs making one of his famous speeches in front of a giant screen showing off the new tech that everyone is supposed to immediately desire, and admittedly the iPad appears to be pretty cool.

Steve Jobs reveals the iPad

Tech site Endgadget liveblogged with photos, including this one showing off the ‘magic’ of playing movies on the iPad. And to do so he showed the new Star Trek movie.

The iPad uses "Star Trek" to show itself off (Endgadget)

For more in Apples iPad, check out Endgadget’s first hands on article.

Apple has also put up their video demo at

"Star Trek" in Apple’s iPad demo movie

Star Trek has been using Tablets/PADDs since the 60s
Of course Apple is not the first company to offer a tablet PC, like they were not the first with a smart phone or with an MP3 player, but their market dominance will likely make them a leader in the category soon enough. But the tablet computer is yet another piece of technology that has lived on Star Trek for years. Since the 60s Star Trek showed that tablet computers were part of the future, which were called PADDs in Star Trek TNG tehno-jargon (Personal Access Data Display).

Uhura with her tablet from 1960s "Star Trek"

Every incarnation of Star Trek from the original Star Trek in the 60s, to all four of the spin-offs (Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, & Enterprise), used some form of PADD or tablet computer. They were seen as part of Starfleet and alien technology. Even the 2009 Star Trek movie continued the tradition of the PADD on board the USS Enterprise.

PADD from "Deep Space Nine"

A PADD (held by James Cawley) on board the new USS Enterprise in 2009’s "Star Trek"

For more on the PADD in Star Trek, see the Memory Alpha article on the subject.

UPDATE: Spiner Tweets on Trek/iPad connection
Star Trek The Next Generation’s ultimate piece of technology, Brent Spiner, has also noticed the iPad/PADD Trek connection. He has made a couple of posts to his Twitter about it today:

@brentspiner: Hey, I just heard that Apple is coming out with some kind of tablet. Wanted you to be the first to know.

@brentspiner: Didn’t Captain Picard used to play with a pad like that in his ready room? STAR TREK STRIKES AGAIN!!!

@brentspiner: Just heard a rumor about itransporter. Wanted you to be the first to know.

Thanks to Chris for the Endgadget link tip


1. Imrahil - January 27, 2010

I prefer the MacBook Wheel. Everything is just a few hundred clicks away.

2. John Hazard - January 27, 2010


3. garen - January 27, 2010

I dont like the name “iPad.” It just feels weird saying it out loud. Try it…

4. AC - January 27, 2010

I’m waiting for the iRack and iRan

5. garen - January 27, 2010

#1. I hadnt seen that parody before. Thanks for pointing out the Macbook Wheel!!

6. iams001efni - January 27, 2010

Hahah well just like my ipod touch to nemesis tricorder conversion, looks like someday Ill have to do iPad to a iPadd conversion. lol

Neat Stuff!

7. Imrahil - January 27, 2010

#4. My pleasure. :) Always happy to spread the Gospel of the Onion.

In all seriousness, this actually looks kinda neat. I’ll wait until there’s a PC version.

8. Jim Nightshade - January 27, 2010

Cauley was probably watching one of his new voyages episodes on his ipadd in the trek09 movie haha

9. Dom - January 27, 2010

3. garen: ‘I dont like the name “iPad.” It just feels weird saying it out loud. Try it…’

Yeah and remember that similar-sounding thing from a few years back called the ‘iPod?’ That didn’t catch on either!! ;)

10. denny cranium - January 27, 2010

I didnt get an Iphone because I’m a BlackBerry guy.
But I want one of these!

“MMMMM Ipad arrrrrggghhhh”
Homer J Simpson

11. Allen Williams - January 27, 2010

max ipad?

12. StarFuryG7 - January 27, 2010

That does not look like James Cawley to me.

13. allister gourlay - January 27, 2010

I’ll wait until there’s a PC version…..dream on!

14. Darkwing - January 27, 2010

When I first heard of this iPad today, I thought it was another parody as I had seen the macbook wheel one, and it wasn’t until later today that I actually realizd that the iPad was real!

15. rogue_alice - January 27, 2010

Sometimes, when I pick up chicks, I suggest we go back to myPad.

16. rogue_alice - January 27, 2010

Sorry, that was myBad.

17. rose - January 27, 2010

That’s just bizarre. I’m sorry, but there are things in life that Apple doesn’t need to exploit.

18. That One Guy - January 27, 2010

Sorry, Apple. This one goes into your Failed Product pile, right next to the Macbook Air.

19. somethoughts - January 27, 2010

Star Trek is awesome, cell phones, computers, 3.5″ discs, and now PADDS. Now I know why Star Trek went with the iBridge look :)

20. dmduncan - January 27, 2010

17: “That’s just bizarre. I’m sorry, but there are things in life that Apple doesn’t need to exploit.”

So I guess you would not be open to an iSuck robot vacuum cleaner?

21. Anthony Pascale - January 27, 2010

I added some comments from Bent Spiner on the iPad

22. That One Guy - January 27, 2010

Sadly, it doesn’t make the end product any better.

23. rose - January 27, 2010

20. As interesting as that sounds…no thank you.

21. ..When did Data become bent?

24. somethoughts - January 27, 2010

I want one, and I’ll get a pink one for my wife.

25. Larry - January 27, 2010

Apple gets most of their new ideas from Star Trek. iPod Touch, iPhone and now the iPad. Isn’t great when you love Star Trek and Apple like I do.

26. Wytse - January 27, 2010

Pretty cool! As mister spiner sayd…. STAR TREK strike again INDEED!

Offcourse waiting for the itransporter but I ‘am willing to wait for…


27. somethoughts - January 27, 2010


Maybe we will get a whole line of iproducts for the living room/household. The i3dtv, the iFridge, the iStove, the idishwasher, the iSexdoll, the iPet, the iCar, iShower, iMirror, go apple!

28. somethoughts - January 27, 2010

no idea why I did #27

29. BringBackSuluPrime - January 27, 2010

There was a Star Trek Original Series called The Apple

30. rogue_alice - January 27, 2010

@brentspiner – what is the battery life of the iTransporter???

31. Sybok's Secret Brother - January 27, 2010

Still waiting for my iPhaser….

32. rogue_alice - January 27, 2010

no idea why I did #27

That post might have been from your iAlterego. ;)

33. Allen Williams - January 27, 2010

Steve Jobs presents the Max iPad

34. LoyalStarTrekFan - January 27, 2010

Not bad. Yet another invention that owes its existence to Star Trek.

Nice touch how they showed Star Trek on the new iPad. Of course, in Star Trek, the PADD replaced paper and pencils, which I doubt will happen in real life, but it’s a step in the right direction. Now, the only question that remains to be answered is whether or not it will be successful.

31, me too. :)

35. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - January 27, 2010

Major error there – they did NOT use PADDs in TOS. They didn’t have any computer access capabilities – they were just electronic clipboards, something to write on. They didn’t have any of the functions of TNG PADDs – I thought everyone knew that.

36. OLLEY OLLEY OLLEY - January 27, 2010

Hey Steve Jobs,

nice demonstration of high tech computing complemented with your Walmart clothing, classy stuff.

and where did you learn your delivery?
The GOD channel?
I was about to sign of a tithe of my wages to the church of Bill Gates, then my septic side kicked me in the ass.

37. Trek1701 - January 27, 2010

As geek, I still preffer my Nokia N900 ;)

38. oby - January 27, 2010

If I use it to look at smut, is it called “iPorn”?

39. Jorg Sacul - January 27, 2010

People mock now… but these will be huge.

40. girl6 - January 27, 2010

I’m bringing my iPADD to work, wearing my TOS Uhura uniform, hiking up my skirt, crossing my legs and taking notes at a meeting. Then I’m going on the PA system to call Scotty in engineering, call the captain to the bridge and Spock to the science labs. Then I’m gonna drink some coffee out of a gray-painted styrofoam cup. And I’m gonna have some peeled apples and marshmallows dyed with food coloring for lunch. Then after work, I’m gonna put on a red unitard and go do some tumbling in the gym.

So, unless you want the back of my hand, all of you haters just shut your pie holes and never talk again. Never!

The iPADD rules.

41. CJC - January 27, 2010

So, why would I need an iPad? I’m having trouble justifying it to myself.

42. rogue_alice - January 27, 2010

LOL. You go, girl6!!!!!

43. girl6 - January 27, 2010


“electronic clipboard” aka PADD. The EC was to the PADD what the giant, inefficient 1980s cell phone is to the iPhone *coughDroidcough*.

It looked to me like Spock did some computing on his. Maybe that’s just what *I* saw when *I* watched the show and never heard anyone call it and electronic clipboard.

OTOH, there was that Fisher Price viewfinder thingy that you sometimes saw on the bridge. Maybe that was an early PADD.

44. SarahJM - January 27, 2010

#7 “this actually looks kinda neat. I’ll wait until there’s a PC version.”

HP & Microsoft unveiled theirs yesterday.

45. Trevor - January 27, 2010

Yeah I feel like since the iPad came out we are now just one movie prop away from reaching warp drive… I’m waiting for Richard Branson to get that up and running any time now.

46. somethoughts - January 27, 2010

I’m gonna hang a bunch of them up in my place and pretend I am on the Enterprise. Would be cool if you someone created a Star Trek theme apps for it and everytime you touch it it says access granted…

47. Rick Sternbach - January 27, 2010

Only took 23 years (maybe a little less if you compare the iPhone to the small PADD) to come up with the iPad.

Jonathan Ive got nothin’ on us. :)

Now just wait for every new SF movie (and others) to use this thing. Product placement will be bananas.

48. somethoughts - January 27, 2010

I can see high schools, colleges/universities, businesses, everyday folks with this thing, as people tweet, check their facebook, watch porn/movies, listen to music and check their emails. Gone are the days of carrying around 100lbs of books and notes in students backpacks, we will have a less slouchy future generation. I wonder if you can use this thing in flight, bye bye laptops.

49. Christine - January 27, 2010

I’ll get one when it’s made by Windows (PC) and costs about half as much.

Still, looks pretty neat… but one bad thing! Touchscreens get scratched so easily, and MAC likes to charge gobs of money for their protective screens and such. Shame, too! If Macintosh lowered their prices (and made their computers more like PCs) I’d probably get some of their stuff.

50. DJT - January 27, 2010

#40 / #43

I love your thinkin’ girl6.

51. Emotionally Logical - January 27, 2010

I don’t think there is anything revolutionary about the iPad. Its simply a big iPod Touch. For a system that big (netbook size) it shoul dhave a full OS and multitasking and Flash which this does not.

52. Magic_Al - January 27, 2010

For now it seems like little more than a big iPod touch, but the iPad’s uses will become better defined as apps come out to take advantage of the larger screen. There’s nothing like iWork for the iPhone/iPod touch.

Even if it is nothing more than a big iPod touch, it’s priced in line, with the top iPod touch at $399 and the iPad starting at $499

53. cw - January 27, 2010

WHAT? Capt. Kirk only gets to hold a PADD and gawk at Spock?? Are we sure that is James? He looks too skinny. I really love the Phase II stuff, and think JC is great.

54. CmdrHiddenValleyRaunch - January 27, 2010

You know what’s really ‘way better than a laptop, way better than an iphone?’ Having $499 still in my bank account.

No thanks until the price comes WAY DOWN.

55. Simon - January 27, 2010

There have been tablet PCs for quite some time now. Apple is just now putting theirs out and declaring it a “new” product. Marketing at its finest…and worst.

56. Driver - January 27, 2010

The iDigress?

57. Will_H - January 27, 2010

Its a good day to be a mac person (ok, every day’s a good day to be one) but that looks awesome and pretty sexy. Maybe it will bring more people into the Mac community, one where what you buy doesnt automatically die after 18 months.

58. Mantastic - January 27, 2010

No Flash, no USB (without a stupid dongle), no memory card slots (again without a stupid dongle), potentially no Java, no camera, no GPS, no HDMI, no swappable battery, and a 4:3 screen.


59. AdamTrek - January 27, 2010

Star Trek shows all different sized PADDs. This thing is only one size.




60. Admiral Archer's Prized Beagle - January 27, 2010

More Trek tech makes it to the real world.

Come on holodeck!!!

61. sean - January 27, 2010

Let’s wake up to some realities here:
1)The price – its chief competitor is the Kindle, which is $489. The extra $10 gets you a whole lot more. Expect price drops in a year, similar to the iPhone.
2)3G – it’s unlocked and contract-free. Data plans are $15/30.
3)iWork. Huuuuge deal. Support for Microsoft Excel/Word/etc.
4)ePub instead of DRM crap.
5)Adobe Flash – HTML5 is likely to make this a non-issue
6)Assisted GPS and the 2nd gen will likely have built-in GPS

62. Thorny - January 27, 2010


1) The big Kindle is $489. The regular one (and Barnes & Noble’s Nook) is $260 and battery life is measured in days, not hours. Most users don’t need the big screen version, that’s more for people who want to read newspapers or colleges using it for textbooks.

3) If it doesn’t have a keyboard, its a toy.

4) Not many popular bestsellers in ePub, and I’d be surprised if HarperCollins and the other Apple partners don’t have DRM on their titles.

5) Don’t hold your breath.

6) I can’t figure out what GPS is needed on this thing for. On my phone, sure. I carry my phone with me everywhere I go. At $800 for an iPad with reasonable amount of storage, I doubt many will be carrying it everwhere they go.

63. Scott Xavier - January 27, 2010

GET ME LCARS mac can be a let down with upgrades to hardware every 6 months.

64. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - January 27, 2010


“electronic clipboard” aka PADD. The EC was to the PADD what the giant, inefficient 1980s cell phone is to the iPhone *coughDroidcough*.

But the electronic clipboard had none of the advanced features of the PADD. The acronym doesn’t apply to the EC – the EC doesn’t access anything, neither does it display anything. All it ever was was a writing surface to use instead of paper (or a keyboard).

65. Shunnabunich - January 27, 2010

#47: Hey Rick! Think you can pull some strings and get someone to develop an LCARS/PADD app for this thing? Make it feel like you’re doing cool stuff when you tap buttons in it? :)

Now we just need to find someone who can do PADD casemods for it…

66. RetroWarbird - January 27, 2010

iPad? Nah. It’s our duty as Trekkies to make Padd (or just Pad, I guess) part of the popular lexicon. Bad enough that cellphones are called cellphones when we all should’ve short-handed it to “communicators” years ago.

67. darrksan - January 27, 2010

Today’s world has allot of Trek-Tech:
The Wii,
Sennheiser kleer earbuds and bluetooth,
Plurk (which better than twitter and is more star trek like),
The DS (it is also like the PADD)
and so on…..
but unlike on star trek, Most are used has toys or are toys.

68. Rick Sternbach - January 27, 2010

#65 – A PADD-looking case for the iPad would be amazingly easy and might only involve three bits of 1/8″ plex and access to a shop that can do decent computer router work. The style could be either basic TNG with rounded corners and a groove in the center layer, or could mimic the Mamiya/Cabin light panels we used on Nemesis. Just a matter of time.

69. Jim Nightshade - January 27, 2010

yup i read an post here using my dsi web browser-its great to have in bed,but it does have memory n playback limitations but is still a bit like trek tech–oddly nuff psp is more powerful but even less compatible on the net due to even bigger memory limitations–dsi is much more useable to browse online-and it also plays great games,has a built 2 built in cameras with editing software,voice recording editing,dsi onlinestore with dl apps n games aplenty, touch screen, itunes playable with a sd memory card slot–

70. Peter N - January 27, 2010

With all the naysayers here I am surprised that noone has shot back with iDon’tThinkSo!

71. Nelson - January 27, 2010

I think you should see what happens at the end of March and April. I think you’ll want one once you see one in action.

And I did think of it’s amazing resemblance to the PADD’s when I saw it. And also those nice little tablets that Dave Bowman and Frank Poole were using to watch video from Earth whilst eating a meal on the Discovery. I can see doing that.

72. Marvin the Martian - January 27, 2010

Wow, for fans of a forward-thinking TV series, some of you are really backward-thinking in terms of technology. It appears that some of you view everything in light of what has come before, rather than accept a possible new paradigm.

First of all, it’s not “MAC”. MAC is a cosmetics company. “Mac” is shorthand for “Macintosh.” The company name is Apple. In addition, it’s not “IPAD,” “I-Pad”, ‘IPOD,” or “I-Pod,” either. If you can’t even properly spell the name of the product you’re criticizing, then don’t expect your criticism to be taken seriously.

Now, onto the criticisms:

1. “It doesn’t have a keyboard.” Yes, it does. It has a virtual keyboard that is built in. You may not like virtual keyboards, but that’s a separate issue. The fact remains that the unit has a keyboard, and if you’re very 20th century and require a physical keyboard, Apple provides a docking station with a physical keyboard. This criticism makes me laugh, as the same people who think it’s SO COOL that Geordi can enter information into both his PADD and his Engineering station–neither of which have physical keypads–in order to save the Enterprise from imminent danger, but we bitch and moan if we have to do it in order to save a document. Ridiculous.

2. “But… it doesn’t have [XYZ] adapter/connector!” The iMac was supposedly doomed to failure because it didn’t have a floppy drive. It saved the company, and is the top selling computer in the US marketplace year-over-year. The iPod was supposedly doomed because all it did was play music. The iPod/iTunes ecosystem has transformed the music industry. If you’ve been paying ANY attention to how Apple creates products, you know that Steve Jobs recognizes the imminent obsolescence of certain standards we take for granted at the moment when a new product is unveiled. Anyone remember Zip drives? Yeah, that “standard” lasted a loooong time. In addition, Jobs prefers sleek and smooth to having crap hanging all over the place from a small device. And as someone who prefers aesthetics, I appreciate it.

3. “It’s so expensive!” *This* complaint I don’t understand. Pundits were expecting a $999 price tag, and the $499 price is *half* that. Don’t forget that the original 5GB iPod debuted at $599, and the low-end iPhone at the same price. You get way more usefulness out of the iPad than either of the previous two, and you’re complaining about price? What… you expect companies to give away their products to you? I swear, some Americans have a warped sense of value, and all they care about is cheap, cheap, cheap. I guess you buy your clothes at Walmart, too.

4. “It’s nothing new… PC tablets have been around forever.” Yes, and for consumers, they suck. Because of their antiquated stylus input (which mimics pen and paper), they are only good for niche markets. The iPad on the other hand takes a complex technology–multi-touch gesturing–and creates an interface that does not require anything more than your two hands to interact and create with. So, no, it’s *nothing* like the previous PC tablets. It’s a new paradigm.

Look, not every product is for everyone, and it’s cool if the iPad is something you don’t feel you need. I’m not sure I really need this right now, either, but my hesitation is not because I’ve concluded that the iPad is useless based on scant evidence and no interaction with the product. I may have to adapt to a new mindset about how certain technologies interact with my life. Sometimes, that’s a bit of a learning curve, which can be a blow to one’s pride.

Based on the criticisms I’ve read here, I doubt that some of you would do very well in the 23rd century. No wonder Kirk so heavily discouraged Taylor in Star Trek IV. Although, I doubt she was the type to complain about a virtual keyboard.

Embrace the future, people.

73. Sisko is the Prophet - January 27, 2010

Wow macfanboy alert….I’m sorry, does it bother you that I didn’t type Mac, deal with it!

its not like the people here are unique, the press it is getting is not goo….

Gizmodo: It sucks
CNET: Netbooks are still better
Endgadget: Underwhelming
THR: not a gamechanger
Business Insider: Big Yawn

Face it, the rollout was underwhelming. Eventually the iPad may live up to its potential, but it is not the market killer that the iphone or ipod were before. It may be that windows 7 with its multitouch capability will dominate this market too, like the above linked HP Slate which looks a lot more capable. I mean really, no multitasking? no Flash? Feel free to get one, but dont pretend that this is some clear black and white situation where critiques are unwarented, especially here on a Trek site where people shoujld imagine a future of wonderful tech

To Apple I say, I dare you to do better

74. captain_neill - January 27, 2010

I always love how Star Trek’s technology has inspired it to actually become a reality.

With this increase in technology a good of friend of mine came up with a great reply when some non fan says “Oh look at my iphone it can do more than a communicator on Star Trek.”

He said “Well can you phone communicate with a starship in high orbit without a land mast?”

I thought was a great reply to use to get back athose comments.

75. Dovile - January 28, 2010

My first impression is ‘I’ve already seen this before somewhere’, well, it’s virtually a cross between a tablet PC and an iPhone, so nothing new here, and I personally don’t expect it to be such a hit like iPhone or Kindle. And I suppose it’s more for people who need a computer for entertainment and browsing the net, not for work. The outer design looks nice though, as with all Apple products. I’d like to try on of these given the opportunity, but I’m not it’s target market.

I’m a bit suprised about the risk they took naming it iPad which sounds too close to iPod, which might be confusing for some less-informed customers. And the design of the two products is very similar too.

Oh, and I’m next in line for the iTransporter (iBeam ?). ;)

76. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - January 28, 2010

How much does it cost $???

77. Philip - January 28, 2010

I am (unashamedly) an apple fanboy. And I don’t see a plce for the ipad in my life… Yet. Like the iPhone and iPod, it’ll take a little while before the ipad finds it’s “killer” app. It took three generations for the iPod (and the first iPod mini) and the second generation iPhone (and the app store) before these products really got into the public consciousness and I predict it’ll be the same for the ipad. The true potential will be unveilled when iPhone os 4.0 is released, which likely will include multi-tasking and adobe flash support (the latter of which I could do without since it’s a huge memory hog, and for what?)

however, just because I don’t see myself needing an ipad (already owning a MacBook, iPhone and old g5 iMac, all of which still serve my needs very well despite not being the most up-to-date models) doesn’t mean I don’t know who wouldn’t appreciate it. My mother, for instance, is using an old g4 PowerBook which is getting a bit long in the tooth at this stage. She’s just retired, and loves to read, but her eyesight isn’t the best, so having books in an electronic format while retaining the ability to edit the odd word processing document, send and receive email and surf the web… The ipad is perfect for her. And she’s no problems, at sixty years old and blind in one eye, half blind in the other, with using a virtual keyboard, since she’s got an iPhone 3gs.

And anyone who bashes apple for “inoriginal thinking” ought to remember that all of the “innovations” in windows happen to be ripped from older iterations of mac os. Hell, even vista’s ui (called “aero”) was astonishingly similar to mac osx’s “aqua” developed ten years before it.

And it might also be worth mentioning Bashful. Bashful was apple’s first design of a tablet computer. From 1983. That presages even my mortal coil by a whole year…

78. Philip - January 28, 2010

Apologies for some typos above. The one criticism I have of my iPhone is the craptacular predictive text… Presages = predates

79. earthclanbootstrap - January 28, 2010

Hey, if The Steve ships the iPad with a Yeoman Rand-bot to serve me coffee while I use the thing I am all on board!

But seriously, even with the all-Apple ecosystem I have at home (iMac, iPod Touch, AppleTV) I’ll probably wait until the next iteration. These sort of things from Apple tend to make a big leap forward in their second generation.

I’m always puzzled by the mad rush by Windows users to bash the latest Apple product, but no more so than I’m bewildered by the Apple Fanboi types who blindly defend any decision the company makes. I generally love their products, but they are, like most things in life, not exactly perfect. I’ve got no axe to grind either way, but I do know that after working on Windows and UNIX boxes all day at work, I always enjoy coming home to my Apples.

80. somethoughts - January 28, 2010


499 Latinum bars and with wi fi 100 more bars or so

81. bearjew - January 28, 2010

calling it the iSlate would have been cool

82. John from Cincinnati - January 28, 2010

Steve Jobs is a psychopath. You ever watch ‘Pirates of Silicon Valley’? He would tear into his employees that were working 16 hour days. A complete egomaniacal psychopath, and we’re supposed to worship him because he makes gadgets?

83. Shunnabunich - January 28, 2010

#73: Windows 7 may have multitouch duct-taped on, but aside from its adoption — sorry, adaptation — of OS X’s dock, it is still designed exclusively for a keyboard and mouse, not fingers, and limps along with a stylus if absolutely necessary. This hasn’t changed since the original tablets in 2001 that ran desktop XP, and is largely why tablet PCs have been such an abject failure in the marketplace.

Now, don’t take that as rushing to the defense of the iPad. I’d say Apple’s biggest mistake was to release the device before iPhone OS 4.0 was ready, but that relies on the assumption that 4.0 won’t suck as hard as 3.x (i.e. will include multitasking). It has a LOT of potential; sadly, as was evident at yesterday’s launch, Apple hasn’t made any effort so far to make it live up to that potential, indicating they may not be as serious as they seem about its success. As it currently stands, they may as well have unveiled it as the next version of the MacBook Air.

I think what’ll happen is, as with the iPhone/iPod touch, Apple will add fundamentally necessary functionality like multitasking a couple years late, and slowly, gradually, maybe by the third or fourth iteration, produce a viable device with viable software. They can only hope that Microsoft remains as utterly clueless as it is now until they can get to that point; otherwise, other tablet PCs may outdo the iPad and then it’s all over for that market segment. Stagnation for the rest of eternity and all that.


ANYWAY, I was thinking more about that LCARS app. I still really think someone should create one — even better if it’s someone who was involved with the TNG-era shows or can work with someone who was. Take a look at the most common things PADDs were used for, and try to recreate not just how they look and sound, but how it *feels* to interact with them. Making random button taps and sequences do interesting stuff. It could even have useful functions, such as an RSS reader or even a remote app launcher (or other sort of controller) for your PC or Mac. I’ve seen a few “tricorder” apps for the iPhone, but they all seemed a little half-hearted in one way or another. If real effort and spit’n’polish were to be put into one for the iPad…well, I’d have to take a good hard look at getting an iPad. In a couple years, at least. ;)

84. Daoud - January 28, 2010

What is next… the bathroom computer? Will it be called the iPeed or the iPood?

Seriously, the iPad evolution of a merged iPod/Tablet PC is a natural step in the progression towards the real PADD.

It looks good, and will as some have mentioned become marvelous at that price in education environments.

85. Tanner Waterbury - January 28, 2010

Im using a big padd right now, my 22 inch HP Touchsmart PC! I think i am set, at least until the multitouch starts working. Also I am worried, what will happen if you ever dropped that thing? Will it literally shatter into a million pieces? I expect the screen to be made like how the iPod was made.

86. Thorny - January 28, 2010

72… “Now, onto the criticisms: 1. “It doesn’t have a keyboard.” Yes, it does. It has a virtual keyboard that is built in.”

That’s not a keyboard, that’s a poor subsitute for a keyboard designed for people that don’t do much writing.

72… “and if you’re very 20th century and require a physical keyboard, Apple provides a docking station with a physical keyboard.”

Which is fine if you’re sitting at home. But if I’m sitting at home, I’ll just use my PC or Mac. And the keyboard dock will be another couple of hundred bucks.

72… “This criticism makes me laugh”

Happy to entertain you. But remember that almost no buyer in the business world will even consider a device that has no keyboard. That’s why iPhone has not taken the business market by storm (even though it has the horses under the hood and the OS to do so) and why Blackberry is still the bestselling smartphone brand in the world, despite the Apple Mania. If it doesn’t have a (real, tactile feedback) keyboard, it’s a toy. iPad is a toy. Almost certainly too expensive (with useful amounts of memory) for home/personal use, and too useless without a keyboard for business use. Watch iPad 2.0 come out with a Kindle-like keyboard in a year or two.

72… “But… it doesn’t have [XYZ] adapter/connector!” The iMac was supposedly doomed to failure because it didn’t have a floppy drive. It saved the company, and is the top selling computer in the US marketplace year-over-year.”

Just a guess, but that’s because there is one Mac dealer and dozens of PC dealers. iMac is still outsold by PCs 10-to-1.

72… “Anyone remember Zip drives? Yeah, that “standard” lasted a loooong time.”

Replaced by USB flash drives that Apple had nothing to do with, as Apple resisted USB for quite a while, favoring FireWire instead. FireWire never caught on, and now USB 3.0 will make it obsolete. iPad has neither.

87. Robogeek - January 28, 2010

73. Sicko, 86. Thorny, etc. – you’re just being trolls.

Go to an Apple Store. Pick up an iPad. Play with it for, oh, 30 seconds. Then come back here and try your smarty-pants routine again. The iPad is the PADD we Trek geeks have dreamed of owning for decades. Apple has made it real.

Yes, it’s easy to cherry-pick a handful of whiny, ignorant, falsehood-ridden press links poo-pooing the iPad (by folks who haven’t even touched one yet), but the vast preponderance of coverage/response has been overwhelmingly positive.

At least try to get your facts straight. For one thing, the iPad supports all wireless Bluetooth keyboards (and the keyboard dock won’t be “another couple of hundred bucks”).

And to say “almost no buyer in the business world will even consider a device that has no keyboard” is astonishingly ignorant. 70% of Fortune 500 companies have either deployed or are piloting the iPhone on their corporate networks (per Apple’s quarterly report earlier this week). And Apple’s sold over 75 million iPhone OS devices.

For those of you keeping score at home, Apple now generates over $50 billion in revenue per year, has $40 bilion in cash reserves, and a market cap of over $180 billion (even bigger than Google, and a _hundred_ times bigger than Palm). They are the single largest mobile device company in the world. Bigger than Sony, Samsung, and yes, Nokia.

Take your trolling elsewhere. You’re just making yourselves look stupid.

88. Marvin the Martian - January 28, 2010

#86: Glad my post was food for thought.

“That’s not a keyboard, that’s a poor subsitute for a keyboard designed for people that don’t do much writing.”

That’s your opinion. I just find that criticism hilarious considering that three iterations of Star Trek (TNG, DS9 and ENT) all use non-tactile keypad devices to run a starship, a space station, and…oh, save the universe every so often. We have no problem embracing the technology in that future, yet we refuse to embrace it when it appears in our own lifetime. That says more about our unwillingness to change than it does about the usefulness of said technology.

“If it doesn’t have a (real, tactile feedback) keyboard, it’s a toy. iPad is a toy.”

The use of the term “toy” is disparaging and deeply unfair. Just because a device uses a form of input that you don’t like (even though it’s been successfully adopted by many, many people) doesn’t mean there is something “wrong” with the product. Again, this says more about your unwillingness to change (and by extension, the business world–which is notorious for being ultra-conservative and stratified when it comes to technology) than it does about the product itself. The iPhone is a powerful mobile device… it is not a “toy” simply because there is one aspect you don’t like. I don’t like physical keyboards, but that doesn’t make a Blackberry a “toy.” It’s a device I have chosen not to use, that’s all.

“iMac is still outsold by PCs 10-to-1.”

If all you care about is raw market share, then yes, the Mac OS is a minority player, but I never said they weren’t. My point of using the term “year-over-year” was that the iMac has been outselling PCs three-to-one in recent years, and this was proven by their most recent fiscal quarter, where the company sold more computers and iPods *ever* in their history, and exceeded Wall Street’s expectations for that quarter. And this is during one of the greatest recessions in US history. So, clearly, Apple is doing something right that other PC manufacturers aren’t.

“Replaced by USB flash drives that Apple had nothing to do with, as Apple resisted USB for quite a while, favoring FireWire instead. FireWire never caught on, and now USB 3.0 will make it obsolete. iPad has neither.”

1. It doesn’t matter that Apple had nothing to do with flash drives or CD-ROM data discs or any other storage technology. My point was that the company realized that sharing and backing up files via networks, the internet, and larger storage technology was the wave of the future, and the days were numbered for floppy drives. Apple tends to be ahead of the curve on this.

2. Apple never “resisted” USB. They favored FireWire because of its consistent data throughput, and FireWire *did* become the de facto standard for digital video cameras for quite some time before USB 2.0. However, USB ports were *always* available on the iMac from its inception, so your assertion is false.

3. You are right that these connectors aren’t *directly* available on the unit itself, but that does not mean one cannot make those connections if one needs to. The reason for this may again be due to the fact that the standard will soon change from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0. I’d prefer to purchase an adapter for whatever standard I, the consumer, choose to use, rather than have Apple dictate that to me. Apple’s ecosystem may be a closed model in a number of ways–which I understand–but when it comes to connection technology, Apple has never forced the consumer into one option ever since Jobs returned to the company more than 10 years ago.

89. Marvin the Martian - January 28, 2010

Actually, I need to make a slight correction. The original iPod did in fact contain only a FireWire connector, but keep in mind that the original iPod was a Mac-only product. Once the iPod was opened up to the Windows market, Apple slowly adopted USB, and for legitimate financial reasons, dropped FireWire in favor of USB 2.0.

90. Robogeek - January 28, 2010

For the record…

The iPad Keyboard Dock will cost $69 – same price as the Apple Wireless Keyboard, which can also be used with the iPad.

91. Thorny - January 28, 2010

87… “For those of you keeping score at home, Apple now generates over $50 billion in revenue per year”

Gee, I wonder if that has something to do with their products costing twice as much as its competitors…

87… “They are the single largest mobile device company in the world. Bigger than Sony, Samsung, and yes, Nokia.”

Curiously (or conveniently) you left our Blackberry. That might be because RiM actually sells more smartphones than Apple.

87… “Take your trolling elsewhere. You’re just making yourselves look stupid.”


RiM Blackberry sales, 4th Quarter 2009: 10.1 million (CNET, Dec 17)
Apple iPhone sales, 4th Quarter 2009: 8.7 million (CNN/Money, Jan 25)

Yet judging by sensationalist media reports and breathless excitement from Apple Fans, you’d think Apple was the number one smartphone maker. Oops.

92. Christine - January 28, 2010

Gotta admit to agreeing with some people here… If it ain’t got a keyboard, it ain’t for me. Unless I can word process on it (like, through talking and it writing down what I speak or something) it won’t do me any good. I’m an aspiring writer and need something I can type on.

Nice try, Macintosh, but some people actually work on their computers!

93. Anthony Pascale - January 28, 2010

lets stop calling people trolls and ‘psychopaths’ etc. seems tech has the same problems as scifi fandom, but find ways to debate without namecallling

94. Thorny - January 28, 2010

88… “That’s your opinion. I just find that criticism hilarious considering that three iterations of Star Trek (TNG, DS9 and ENT) all use non-tactile keypad devices to run a starship, a space station, and…oh, save the universe every so often”

I just want to make sure that you understand TNG, DS9 and ENT are fiction, that their LCARS systems are plywood with blinking lights and a TV screen or two, and their PADDS are plastic with a backlight for a gel overlay that looks cool. Mr. Sternbach, Mr. Okuda and the others came up with brilliant system. But it is still just fiction, it never had to work in the real world, and probably never could.

In contrast, iPad actually has to work in the real world. Lacking a real keyboard, which is still how 99% of the business community inputs data, Apple has made a device that will be hugely difficult to make work for anything other than web-browsing and some light chat work. I want one, but I can’t justify the expense. I’ll wait for iPad 2.0 and see if Apple fixes things.

88… “If all you care about is raw market share, then yes, the Mac OS is a minority player, but I never said they weren’t. My point of using the term “year-over-year” was that the iMac has been outselling PCs three-to-one in recent years, ”

I’ve re-read this twice. I still can’t figure out what you mean. Mac sells more computers than Dell, Sony, Gateway, or HP, true. But they haven’t sold more computers than Dell, Sony, Gateway AND HP in recent years, nevermind three times more. They’re still defiantly sitting at around 10% market share, even for new computer sales. Where do you Apple fans get this information anyway, Apple Worshippers Digest?

95. FrequencySpike - January 28, 2010

@ 89

As a proud owner of a third-generation iPod circa 2003, I should point out that the 3g was the first to use USB for data transfer, but it could not charge the battery. The 4g could sync and charge with either connection. As of the 5g, FireWire can only charge.

Of course, I gave the 3g to my wife when I bought an iPod Touch…

96. Dom - January 28, 2010

It’s a great looking bit of kit. I could easily imagine carrying one of these around. I have a very nice MacBook Pro, but it isn’t always practical to have around the place. If I use MobileMe/iDisk along with the iPad, I can have all resources at my fingertips.

The iPad means I can still type up documents such as invoices and send them when I’m out and about without the hassle of digging out my notebook. If they can get a Final Cut Pro app on there, the opportunity of being able to edit by literally dragging and stretching the clips with my fingers is there. I also like that they’ve been making deals with the newspaper industry. The size and shape makes it ideal to be able to download and read daily newspapers that can actually be laid out like newspapers!

My only surprise is that it doesn’t have a built-in webcam for Skype and so on!

Sure this product is going to take some flak: I remember the iPod was routinely mocked when it first came out. I have a feeling the iPad will do very well on college campuses and the like, especially if textbooks can be downloaded on to it. Also, there’s a strange nostalgic thing for me about it having a touch keyboard: the first computer I ever used was the ZX81 in 1982. That had a touch keyboard too (although we inevitably complained about that one!

Thing is, the 30-something generation I belong to doesn’t make the big decisions about this stuff anymore. The 18-25-year-olds will either embrace it and make it a success or discard it.

I think it could be a winner!

97. Anthony Pascale - January 28, 2010

For the record I had higher hopes for the iPad. I use my iphone a lot when in the living room, but would like something larger and more powerful (multitasking, plays flash, maybe hdmi). This seems larger, but not very much better than my iphone. Maybe after some software updates, etc. I think I want the iPad 2. Let’s see if the HP Slate is any better (and I imagine the reason Apple didnt use iSlate is because HP has announced their ‘Slate’)

98. Marvin the Martian - January 28, 2010

#92: “Nice try, Macintosh, but some people actually work on their computers!”

I own a Macintosh and I get lots of work done on my computer. What’s your point?

#94: “Where do you Apple fans get this information anyway, Apple Worshippers Digest?”

No, actually Computerworld:

And here, too:

99. Christine - January 28, 2010

#97 :: I’ll have to look up this “slate”. Sounds interesting, but again, I have a brand-new laptop and probably won’t invest in one. Heck, I don’t even use my phone that much (though granted it ain’t a Touch) and if I need anything, I go to this hunk of black and LCD and computer ware. ;3

#98 :: Oh, I wasn’t talking about regular Macs. Those are fine, if not a little confusing para mi. I was talking about the fact that the new iPads aren’t really “better than a laptop” for the aforementioned reason that they don’t really have a keyboard-keyboard. So it would be a little more difficult to work on.

100. Philip - January 28, 2010

The ipad v2.0 will not have a physical keyboard. Apple has invested too much r&d into the virtual keyboard, and the ipad was never intended to be a serious business machine anyway. As for people slating the virtual keyboard, I can get by just fine on the one on my iPhone, which is a tiny fraction of the size of that on the ipad. I can touch type a good thirty to forty words a minute on it. It’s not the 70 I’m used to on a physical keyboard, but it’s probably still quicker than your average typist can manage on same physical keyboard. To be honest, it’s all just nitpicking for nothing. But I will agree that there will be vast improvements come the next release of the OS and possibly the next generation of the ipad itself. Part of me feels apple were a little hasty in showing it off to the public. Something you wouldn’t often accuse them of

101. iMe - January 28, 2010

iTry to decide if iWant iPad, but iNot sure… iHeard that it’s just like a big iTouch but iDon’t know, because iSaw some good reviews… iAlso saw some bad reviews. iLike the iDea, but iT seems lacking of complete fullness. iFeel that iT could be iMproved. Though iDo really like apple iAm not sure if the iPad iS all that great as iNoticed the hype made iT up to be…. iPad 2.0 iHope so but maybe not.


102. starfall42 - January 28, 2010

According to “2010: The Year We Make Contact”, we’re supposed to still be using the Apple //c —

103. Christine - January 28, 2010

#100 :: Eh, I suppose you’ve got a point. I suppose eventually all the keyboards WILL be virtual, I just think they’re a pain.. I’m used to typing around 80 WPM on a standard keyboard, and if I can’t feel what I’m typing, I… Well, I have to LOOK when I type. It’s a pain.

Then again, I also had to get used to the small keyboard of my new laptop, so I s’pose, like I said, it’s just something we’ll all have to get used to.

104. Philip - January 29, 2010

I never said all keyboards would be virtual. I simply said those on apple devices smaller than their average MacBook will be.

Of course, when you see the likes of the “Optimis tactilus” keyboard (do a google search), eventually, this is what we could become. But I can easily see how useful that would be for someone who, say, uses a lot of Photoshop.

Eventually, we’ll get used to touch typing on virtual keyboards the same way people got used to typing on qwerty keyboards. It’s all more about muscle memory rather than tactile feedback. And fair play on 80wpm!

105. Robogeek - January 29, 2010

91. Thorny: Apple is five times bigger than RIM – $180 billion vs. $35 billion market cap. You know you can look these things up, right? ;-)

(And btw, your iPhone/Blackberry sales comparisons conveniently exclude the iPod Touch — a big chunk of the iPhone OS mobile platform which is, yes, outselling RIM’s Blackberry platform.)

92. 99. 103. Christine; 94. Thorny; 100. 104. Philip: ONCE AGAIN… per my previous posts, you can add a wireless Bluetooth keyboard or a hardware keyboard dock to the iPad for $69. Boom. On top of that, you can add Apple’s iPad-optimized, Word-compatible layout and word processing called Pages for a mere $10.

And btw, I don’t think anyone’s saying/said the iPad is “better than a laptop”, or that it’s in any way intended to replace one (especially since Apple already sells the bestselling laptop out there). It’s its own thing.

Maybe check out the video at and see for yourself?

106. That guy... - January 29, 2010

Reminds me of those tablet TVs in 2001: A Space Odyssey that Bowman and Poole were watching while enjoying a meal of good old zero-g astronaut food.

107. Aceman67 - January 30, 2010

Just watched the full Keynote, and I have to say, I frigging want one. As an owner of a 32gig 2G iPod touch, I would love to get my hands on one.

I just wonder how long it’ll take for someone to jailbreak the device for 3rd party apps…

108. captain_neill - January 31, 2010

speaking of Brent Spiner, will there be an article on him for his Birthday on tue?

109. James Cawley - January 31, 2010

#53 Yes, That is me. They cut and colored my hair.

110. James Cawley - January 31, 2010

btw, The prop was heavy and made from resin and plate glass with a transparent graphic overlay on it. Really a neat prop.

111. krush - January 31, 2010

#92 Yes, you can type on the virtual keyboard. I write on my iPod touch. It takes a little practice, but unless you have a physical issue that prevents it, you can adapt. If you don’t want to adapt, that’s your choice.

112. Schiefy - February 1, 2010

iPad=over-sized iPod/iPhone! I guess I am a simple man–I prefer my good ol’ iNook (imagine the possibilities) to read all my Trek on without all the eyestraining flash.

113. linuxglobe - March 11, 2010

@brentspiner @WilliamShatner It’s about time Apple created a Star Trek-like PAD device for the 21st Century! :D

114. Zaphod - September 22, 2010

All (predictable) bickering aside, the iPad is a device that every single tech company is trying to copy. That alone should tell you something.
Like the iPhone copycats, they tear them apart and build something to beat it.


Yes Google/RIM/Palm/HTC/Samsung/Micros**t, I’m looking at you.

115. james braselton - May 30, 2011

hi there just wait for apple and nintendo start useing the star trek isolinar chipsw

116. Captain Picard - May 9, 2012

I can’t wait for the iReplicator and iTransporter. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.