Did Steve Jobs Test the iPad with Pixar Movie “The Incredibles?” [Macworld 2011]


Back to the future? The computer in 2004 movie "The Incredibles."

If a device works on a movie audience, it’ll also work as a real-world product. That’s the “meta lesson” from Chris Noessel and Nathan Shedroff who study how sci-fi interfaces in movies make it off the silver screen and vice versa. (Is that the coolest job ever, or what?)

Despite the unfortunate late-afternoon slot – the tide of Macworld attendees was on its way outside – about a hundred people showed up to listen to findings on their forthcoming book, “Make It So – Learning from SciFi interfaces.”

Noessel, an interaction designer and Shedroff, program chair of the MBA in Design Strategy at the California College of the arts, believes that Steve Jobs may have used the 2004 Pixar movie “The Incredibles” to test whether audiences would accept the idea of a tablet computer.

The tablet computer in "The Incredibles."

They aren’t the first ones to believe that Jobs may have inserted the iPad-like device in the “Incredibles,” but to assert that “users may already be predisposed to certain interface solutions solely based on what they’ve seen in the media.”

The iPad-like device certainly looks like what Apple put on the market six years later.

What do you think?

  • RonBlatto

    I think I’m in love with Ms. Martinelli

  • DamienLavizzo

    Pixar took a lot of their design influence from Apple, there was a lot of crossover. Look at EVE in Wall-E, she’s basically an Apple product. And if I recall, Wall-E’s start up noise is actually the same sound that you hear when you start up a Mac. 

    Steve basically stole the idea of a tablet computer from Star Trek, consciously or unconsciously. That’s not a bad thing or even an original thing – the real world and Hollywood have had a long history of stealing from and influencing each other back and forth. It could have been something as simple as Steve mentioning his idea about a tablet based computer to someone in casual conversation, that person liking the idea, and then running with it. 

  • Kent Nebergall

    There is an earlier example of a tablet in 2001: A Space Odyssey used on the Discovery.

  • James Mccallum

    I picture Steve Jobs, deep in conversation with John Lasseter, sitting in a sauna, somewhere in the Swiss Alps…

    Or is that what I remember?