CNET UK reports: “The head of Apple’s design department has exclusively admitted to CNET UK that the iPad began as a silly in-joke — only for Apple chief executive Steve Jobs to think it was real.
“Of course, it all started as a bit of a laugh,” said design foreman and shop steward Jony Ive in an exclusive interview with CNET UK, conducted over a couple of snakebite and blacks at the Dog and Sprocket in Silicon Valley, California. “The lads love a good giggle as much as the next man, and April Fool’s is always a big one. A few years ago a couple of cheeky beggars took Phil Schiller’s Prius apart and stuck it back together in his office. Barmy, they are. I think it’s still there.”
1 April 2009 saw the design team come up with a joke based on the popular iPhone: “So this year we came up with the idea of mocking up a giant iPhone, and spent the day walking around phoning each other on this great big thing,” said Ive.
“Frightened the life out of the girls in HR, it did. It were hilarious.”
The joke backfired when Jobs visited the design department later in the year. While touring the company headquarters in Cupertino, California — across the road from the whippet factory — Jobs noticed the prank prototype.
“The gaffer’s face just lit up. Real sense of childlike wonder. Of course, I clocked straight away that things were about to go pear-shaped for muggins ‘ere,” said Ive with weary resignation.
Jobs championed the production of the giant iPhone, even adopting the joke name ‘iPad’:
“‘E’s daft like that. We just didn’t ‘ave the ‘eart to tell ‘im.”