According to ABC News, in response to the slew of patent infringement cases that Apple has thrown at Samsung, Samsung is arguing that Apple wasn't the first to conceptualize the tablet—that it actually first appeared in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Here's part of Samsung's attorneys' argument:
"Attached hereto as Exhibit D is a true and correct copy of a still image taken from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey." In a clip from that film lasting about one minute, two astronauts are eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers. The clip can be downloaded online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo. As with the design claimed by the D'889 Patent, the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table's surface), and a thin form factor."
Kubrick's collaborator on "2001," the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, called the device in the story a "Newspad," and in the book version of "2001" described how a user "would conjure up the world's major electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more important ones by heart, and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad." He went on: punch in the code for a story and "the postage-stamp-size rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it in comfort."
Whether Samsung's argument holds up in court or not, kudos to Kubrick and Clarke; we may not be manning spaceships to Jupiter yet, but news on handheld devices via wi-fi? Nice.