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Arthur C. Clarke predicts the iPad in 1968

Arthur C. Clarke, a legendary British science fiction author, inventor, predicted the future with accuracy. His prediction of the iPad was described in the 1968 novel classic ”2001: A Space Odyssey“, where in Chapter 9 of the novel describes a “newspad” device that would plug into a ship’s information circuit and scan latest reports from earth — so, should we have named this device iNewspad?

When [Floyd] had tired of official reports, memoranda and minutes, he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one, he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers. He knew the codes of the more important ones by heart and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.

Each had its own two-digit reference. When he punched that, a postage-sized rectangle would expand till it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he finished he could flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.

Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man’s quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. (That very word “newspaper,” of course, was an anachronistic hangover into the age of electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of information from the news satellites.”

Clarke past away 19 March 2008 at the age of 90, just two years before the iPad was released.


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