Roger Fidler, with the MU School of Journalism, dreamed of an iPad-like device in the 1980s

12:02 PM, Mar 8, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Fidler's vision of iPad

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  • An image of Roger Fidler's iPad-like prototype from 1994.
    
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  • By Casey Nolen

    St. Louis (KSDK) - It had all the hype expected from an Apple release, and for many it's already living up to expectations.

    Like countless tech experts giddy to get their hands on it, Roger Fidler blogged about the new iPad Wednesday, but he's one of the few who can say they saw it all coming.

    "Well, I've been dreaming about it for more than 30 years," said Fidler.

    Now at the University of Missouri School of Journalism[Reynolds Journalism Institute], back in the 80s and 90s, Fidler was dreaming up the future of newspapers for the Knight-Ridder company, and his dreams looked a lot like today's reality.

    "Most of my colleagues thought it was a nut-ball idea. It would never happen. It was pure science fiction," he said.

    Fidler says to him, it seemed obvious that a digital newspaper would work a lot like the original, with improvements.

    Because of the technology of the time, the pads Fidler designed never actually worked, and even after meeting Steve Jobs, the man who made his dream a reality, Fidler says he never tried to capitalize on his creation.

    "It was never about the money or fame. I really saw my role as an evangelist for the concept and also to try to prepare publishers for what I thought was inevitable," he said.

    As for his next prediction, Fidler expects everyone to have at least one iPad in the next 10 years.

    And Fidler wasn't the first to dream up an iPad-like device. He's quick to point out Arthur C. Clarke wrote about something he called a Newspad in a book that eventually became the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" in 1968. 

     

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