The Tablets of Our Dreams

Computers in movies look nothing like the beasts we lug around today. They're thin and light, a single pane that jumps to life when touched. Technology follows Hollywood dreams; here's hoping this montage is a portent of what's coming soon.

The world will be shocked if Apple doesn't reveal a tablet computer next week. It won't be the first, not by any stretch, and it won't be the first multitouch device, naturally. But as we envision it, the tablet represents the fusion of two of the most steadfast dreams of sci-fi nerds and ordinary people alike.

This reel, compiled for Giz by Mike Byhoff and Frank Cozzarelli as a celebration of sci-fi's longstanding love affair with tablets and touch interfaces, is pretty self explanatory, but there are a few things to think about:

  • The greatest literary device in sci-fi history, the actual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, was, in fact, a tablet.
  • Gene Roddenberry was—like some tech analysts these days—in favor of the tablet coming in large and small sizes.
  • The Incredibles, created by Steve Jobs' Pixar, not only has the most Apple-like vision of a tablet, but shows it sliding out of a manila envelope, three years before Steve drew the slender MacBook Air out of the same.
  • We're not sure what Bart Simpson is doing to that iMac either, but apparently "Mapple" beat Apple to the punch with touchscreen all-in-ones.
  • It is physically impossible to craft a montage of sci-fi interfaces without showing Tom C. in Minority Report.
  • You may say that the tablets of Moses weren't exactly interactive. Fine, believe what you will, but take our advice and stay the hell away from golden calves.

There are plenty more crazy touch computer sightings in TV and movies—if you can track any down, be sure to post them in comments.

Special thanks to Mike Byhoff and Frank Cozzarelli of Gawker TV for working overtime to pull this reel together. The catchy music—chosen for its sci-fi-friendliness, its nice buildup, and its utter lack of resemblance to 1990s techno—is "Lovely Allen" by Holy Fuck, which you can (and should) buy here at Amazon, or here on iTunes.

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Gizmodo is the world's most fun technology website, focused on gadgets and how they make our lives better, worse and more absurd. Source: The Tablets of Our Dreams [Tablet]

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