Star Trek Helps Steve Jobs Intro Apple’s New PADD iPad [UPDATE: Spiner iPad Comments]

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

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


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

I’m waiting for the iRack and iRan

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

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!

#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.

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

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!! ;)

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

“MMMMM Ipad arrrrrggghhhh”
Homer J Simpson

max ipad?

That does not look like James Cawley to me.

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

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!

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

Sorry, that was myBad.

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

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

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

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?

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

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

21. ..When did Data become bent?

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

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.

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

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



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!

no idea why I did #27

There was a Star Trek Original Series called The Apple

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

Still waiting for my iPhaser….

no idea why I did #27

That post might have been from your iAlterego. ;)

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. :)

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.

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.

As geek, I still preffer my Nokia N900 ;)

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

People mock now… but these will be huge.

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.

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

LOL. You go, girl6!!!!!


“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.

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

HP & Microsoft unveiled theirs yesterday.

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.

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…

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.

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.

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.

#40 / #43

I love your thinkin’ girl6.