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Graphics Input Devices Apple Hardware

1979 Apple Graphics Tablet vs. the iPad 81

CWmike writes "When Apple launched the iPad earlier this year, it was the culmination of fans' long wait for the company to enter the tablet market. There's no doubt the iPad is a revolutionary device. But in 1979, an earlier generation of Apple users used a different kind of Apple tablet, back when the word meant something else entirely, writes Ken Gagne. The Apple Graphics Tablet was designed by Summagraphics and sold by Apple Computer for the Apple II personal microcomputer. (Summagraphics also marketed the device for other platforms as the BitPad.) To be clear, this tablet was not a stand-alone computing device like the iPad. Instead, it was an input device for creating images on the Apple II's screen, and it predated the Apple II's mouse by six years. Apple II fan Tony Diaz had an Apple Graphics Tablet on hand at last month's KansasFest, an annual convention for diehard Apple II users. He and Gagne, the event's marketing director, compared and contrasted Apple's original tablet with the iPad, snapping photos as they went." The contrived comparison is as silly as it sounds — but it's a fine excuse to look at some ahead-of-its-time gear, even in the form of an annoying slide show.
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1979 Apple Graphics Tablet vs. the iPad

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  • Ahead of its time? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alien1024 (1742918) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @03:05AM (#33249490)
    Hardly. Digitizing tables date back to the 1950s.
  • by apricotmuffins (950235) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @05:32AM (#33249818)
    And yet, apple didnt expand on the graphics tablets and now another company (wacom) holds the industry standard and specialises in input devices for artists and graphic designers. I don't deny apple's innovation here, I just am curious as to how that came about.
  • Memories (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bloobamator (939353) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @10:05AM (#33250708)

    Decades ago I wrote a map digitizing app for the Mac II and that tablet, which in the mid-eighties I think had been rebranded as the MacTablet. I used LightSpeed Pascal (I was still in college.) It was cool. I even added a logarithmic feature for contour maps. The app would draw a picture of what you were tracing, inside a small window, while it streamed the digitized coordinates to another small window. Because I built it for engineers to use, it also had a recalibration feature during which the app auto-calculates the map scale. It let you save the image as a bitmap file, and you could spool the coordinate stream to a flat file.

    That was back when I rocked.

  • Re:Poor comparison (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sznupi (719324) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:00PM (#33253710) Homepage

    Also, when something fizzles, lately it becomes suddenly "just a hobby from the start" (vide Apple TV)

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27