When we talk about prior art for the design of mobile phones or tablets, we need to look at how images have generally been presented on a plane surface in the past, not just to similar modern devices.
We already posted that the Apple iPhone is almost identical in basic design to an ancient Pharaonic cartouche as a means of enclosing symbols, and that is definitely one aspect of icon presentation on the iPhone -- see The Apple iPhone as a Design Copy of the First Pharaonic Cartouche of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt: A Design in the Public Domain as Prior Art for 4500 Years.
The same holds true for the iPad as a device that presents images on a plane surface. As shown already in the previous posting, the Apple iPad is virtually identical in its basic design to a rectangular mirror with rounded corners used in modern correctional facilities. Such a mirror is also a device that displays images on its surface, just like the iPad, and it has the same design.
There is virtually NOTHING unique about the iPad in its design and the Apple company registration of an EU "design" on a rectangle with rounded corners is a legal abomination that can not be allowed to stand unchallenged and should never have been accepted by the German courts in their recent foolish limited-jurisdiction injunction against the Galaxy Tab on the grounds of an alleged infringement of an alleged Apple design which has prior art reaching back thousands of years.
The human "invention" of the mirror may have begun with the observation of image reflection in water, followed by the observation that images were also reflected on fixed surfaces as well, such as stones, the flatter and more polished the better. That led to the development of the first stone mirrors, followed by metal, and then glass -- the latter still being a common display surface for many electronic devices.
For example, a "cosmetic palette" (viz. tablet) made of polished stone is a basic human "imaging" tool that goes back thousands of years and its basic design is not an invention of the company Apple.
As written at MirrorHistory.com:
In Egypt, as written by Barbara O’Neill in Reflections of Eternity: The Mirror in Ancient Egypt: An Overview from Prehistory to the New Kingdom, as published on Egyptological, June 30th 2011, Edition 1:"The ... earliest manufactured mirrors ... found in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) have been dated to around 6000 BC. Polished stone mirrors made in Central and South America date from 2000 BC onwards. Mesopotamians crafted mirrors of polished cooper from 4000 BC, and ancient Egyptians made this kind of mirrors from around 3000 BC. Chinese manufactured bronze mirrors from around 2000 BC."
"The term most often used for ‘mirror’, “ankh”, also means “life”, with perhaps a play on words ‘reflected’ in the mirror’s role in preserving the image in a state of continual existence, (Bird, 1986)."The first mirrors were cosmetic stone palettes like this one currently on sale at Christies.com (here enlarged) and dating to the Predynastic days of Egypt ca. 3200 B.C.:
The stone palettes of old were essentially ancient "tablets", here framed by multiple lines at the top, bottom and sides. The general design of the iPad has not changed much. The ancient Egyptians even had a stone plektron of sorts, a cosmetic stone brush, and note the rounded corners. Nothing new.
Below is the back of a mirror, today in the Louvre, in framed four-sided shape with symbols in rows of 4, just as on the iPad or the iPhone. Note the rounded corners. The mirror is dated to Seljuq, Iran in the 12th century:
12 Zodiac symbols around the perimeter and four identical squares in the middle
Four columns of symbols, emphasized by Apple as a "design" future for its products, have been used "as prior art" since antiquity because that permits symbols or "icons" to be a size which can easily be discerned by the human eye while making optimal use of the space available on a plane surface. I.e this "design" has been "pleasing to the eye" since antiquity.
The only thing that Apple has done is to apply ancient designs to its electronic products and that is neither an invention nor an original design of any kind. It is merely commercial exploitation of the designs of antiquity for modern selfish monopolistic profit.
That legislators and courts support this kind of intellectual property theft from the legacy of mankind is something we do not understand.
Why should ONE company profit from designs that were actually created long ago by "humanity"?