Bonhams auction company has announced that it will be putting several rare prototype Apple devices up for auction on November 3. Among the devices is an unreleased VideoPad device that was initiated by former Apple CEO John Sculley but rejected by Steve Jobs upon his return in the late 1990s.
From the auction page:
APPLE VIDEOPAD 2
RARE EARLY APPLE TABLET DESIGN.
Prototype design model of the VideoPad 2, [Cupertino: 1994-5.] with hinged flip-top, 180 x 232 mm, height 33 mm. Made of heavy duty plastic with mock memory card slot, power socket and phone line input socket, silver-papered screen, flip top with space for a video screen and two speakers either side. In its original black leather carrying case, impressed with Newton light bulb logo.
Provenance: Purchased in Palo Alto from an Apple Engineer in 1999.
A UNIQUE PROTOTYPE DESIGN FOR THE APPLE VIDEOPAD 2, the only surviving concept prototype for the VideoPad PDA. Three designs were put forward by Apple as VideoPad 1,2 and 3, developed in the period of 1993 to 1995 under CEO John Sculley. VideoPads 1 and 3 were the only examples shown to the public. They were made from a conceptual design sketch drawn by Sculley. The VideoPad seemed to be the next logical step after the Newton Message Pad, which Sculley had also pushed into production, 1993-1997. It expanded the tablet to also include a fold-up screen apparently with a built-in camera for video conferencing. Although this fit some of the ideals that Steve Jobs envisioned for the future of computing, he cancelled this and Newton OS soon after his return in 1997. He rightly understood that the technology was not yet at the level required for a positive user experience and judging by the Newton, it lacked a successful foundation.
It would be ten years before Apple would finally make its way into the phone market and another 5 more before the iPad launched. Finally, with the multi-touch screen, the technology was ready to meet the design and performance demands that Jobs had required. The VideoPad stands as an interesting step along way.
The prototype was purchased from an Apple engineer in Palo Alto in 1999, and it includes its original black leather carrying case with the Newton logo. More details are available on the auction website.