Today in Apple history: Apple’s new tablet is called … iSlate?
December 24, 2009: As rumors of a possible Apple tablet reach boiling point, a rumor spreads online that the new device will be called the iSlate.
The news is based on the fact that Apple quietly acquired the domain name iSlate.com a few years earlier. Since Apple did the same thing for the iPhone back in the late 1990s, years before the iPhone actually debuted, it makes total sense that the company would follow suit with the naming of its tablet.
Of course, that didn’t exactly end up happening.
Digging into the iSlate
Eurobox Ltd. originally registered the iSlate.com web domain in October 2004. Eurobox later passed it on to Data Docket Inc.
In 2007, the domain went to MarkMonitor.com. That company handles domain name registrations and trademark protections for a wide range of companies, including Apple.
Keeping the name quiet was typical of Apple. The company often goes to extreme lengths to avoid word getting out about its products in advance — all while securing the necessary trademarks. An examination of records for the iSlate.com domain revealed Apple’s ownership of it.
The discovery was made by MacRumors (happy holidays to our friendly rivals!), after they were tipped off by a 14-year-old kid by the name of Mark Gurman. (He later went on to become a veritable Apple scoop machine before joining Bloomberg as a reporter focused on Apple.)
Once news of the iSlate domain name discovery broke online, others joined the investigation. TechCrunch discovered that the iSlate name had been registered as a trademark by an unknown Delaware company named Slate Computing LLC back in November 2006 — before the iPhone was even released. Apple set up this dummy company, as revealed by the fact that the application documents were signed by Regina Porter, Apple’s senior trademark specialist.