Dom Joly: Steve Jobs nicked my idea, so I nicked it back

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The Independent Online

So, Apple launches another sexy must-have product: the iPad. I don't bother finding out what Apple things do any more – they're shiny and exciting and I have to have them. The new shiny, exciting thing, the iPad, was launched in San Francisco by the distinctly unshiny and unexciting Apple supremo, Steve Jobs. As it appeared on a screen behind him there were whoops from the audience of assembled geeks, and even a wolf-whistle.

Then we started to find out what it actually was. It was a "tablet" – a portable screen that was as big as a small laptop but doesn't have the protective top to cover it. It looked very fragile. You could surf the net on it, read newspapers, play games... all things I can do on my laptop so I was a little confused as to why I needed it. Fortunately, Stephen Fry, he who must be obeyed or he'll go back to Bruges, had flown out to attend the launch. I watched Newsnight as he explained to both Jeremy Paxman and me why we were wrong and why we should buy one.

I still wasn't convinced but I'm sure that I'll have one in a couple of months and will bore people silly telling them how brilliant it is. It's one of the weird things about Apple-heads – we're not content to enjoy our "kit". We have to spread the word. We are Apple missionaries, determined to convert the PC savages.

If Apple were really clever it would design a new type of man-bag into which we could put all its shiny, exciting products that we have to carry around with us. Then we could really be taken seriously as the metrosexual, media plonkers that we are.

The morning after Our Lord Jobs launched the iPad, I awoke and went straight on to Twitter. My cat, Dr Pepper, has set up his own Twitter page (@domjolyscat) and as he has very severe Tourette's, I wanted to check that he hadn't been too rude to anyone that I knew. The tweeters, however, were not concerned with my swearing cat. Oh no. Everyone was too excited about the iPad.

Curiously, there were an extraordinary amount of tweets from people telling me that it reminded them of my big mobile from the Trigger Happy TV days. As far as I could make out, the iPad is not actually a phone of any sort, but this didn't seem to bother anybody. I was urged by many to take Steve Jobs to court for stealing my design. I didn't pay much attention to the first couple of twits, but they just kept on coming.

So, on the way up to London for meetings, I emailed some people to see whether they'd be up for doing some filming. They were and, by the time my train had rolled into Paddington, somebody had even made a mocked-up iPad for me. An hour later and we all met in Soho Square. I put the fake iPad in a borrowed man-bag and off we went.

It was like the old days. Find an unsuspecting man standing by a cashpoint, wander up behind him and scream "Hello" as loudly as I could and pray that he didn't have a heart condition. My larynx still hurts. I haven't shouted that loudly for about five years and I have children, so that's saying something.

Twenty minutes later and I'd shot an updated "big mobile" sketch using the iPad. Two hours later, and the clip was up and running (funnyordie. I'm only telling you all this because I'm astounded at how fast you can get things done nowadays. Back in "my day", it would have been a good three weeks before we'd even got things filmed, let alone got it anywhere near anybody actually seeing it. If only I had an iPad, I could watch it in style on the train home.