The Channel logo


By | Drew Cullen 6th January 2016 15:16

The designer of the IBM ThinkPad has died

Richard Sapper also worked for Alessi and Fiat

The ThinkPad’s answer to Johny Ive has died. Richard Sapper, a German industrial designer who orchestrated the look of the iconic laptop for IBM, was 83 years old.

He designed lots more stuff - you can read his obituary here.

We shall focus our commemoration on the IBM ThinkPad, which hit the business world in 1992 and quickly became a design favourite.

The clamshell-styled black laptop was apparently modelled on a cigar box and famously incorporated a tiny red nipple joystick - officially called a Track point - for navigation around the screen.

IBM sold the brand in 2005 to Lenovo and today, almost 25 years on from its launch, the ThinkPad is still black and still features the red nipple - a somewhat retro feature in 2016. ®

comment icon Read 46 comments on this article or post a comment alert Send corrections


Frank Jennings

What do you do? Use manual typwriters or live in a Scottish croft? Our man advises
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

Trevor Pott

Among other things, Active Directory needs an overhaul
Baby looks taken aback/shocked/affronted. Photo by Shutterstock

Kat Hall

Plans for 2 million FTTP connections in next four years 'not enough'
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella


League of gentlemen poster - Tubbs and Edward at the local shop. Copyright BBC
One reselling man tells his tale of woe