The Original iPad Background Picture / Wallpaper

Feb 16, 2010 - 6 Comments

ipad background picture

If you’re anything like me you’re curious about the beautiful background picture featured on the iPad displays in all the press photos of the original iPad, so I dug around a bit and got some answers about this now widely distributed amazing photograph that was shown as the wallpaper on the first iPad.

The now famous image is titled “Pyramid Lake (at Night)” and is a 2004 photo by photographer Richard Misrach, taken at Pyramid Lake in Nevada.

The Story Behind the Original iPad Default Wallpaper has a pretty good story on the nice picture and Apple’s decision to use it, apparently at the last minute without the artist even knowing himself:

“I was in bed watching Inglorious Bastards when I got a call from Jeffrey FraenkeL, my dealer in San Francisco, and he said, ‘Do you know what’s going on live here?'”
…”The funny thing is that I don’t even have a contract with them yet, so they must have decided on it at the eleventh hour,” Misrach says. “I’m sure they’ll send me one quickly now. But I’m very happy, I’m sure it’s fine, and the terms are good.”

That sounds like Apple’s legendary secrecy at it’s finest, even down to it’s licensing of images. I’m sure Richard Misrach is going to have many more fans and licensing deals in the near future, as Apple has catapulted his work onto the world stage.

According to the photographer, this is the first time he has licensed an image for commercial use in his 40-year career–a deal he agreed to because he’s a fan of the company. ‘What’s funny is that for years I actually used the photo as my own screensaver,” Misrach says. “So I guess they know what they’re doing.”

Apple certainly does have an eye for pleasing imagery, but I haven’t been able to dig up a high resolution image of the picture to use as a desktop. I’m sure in time one will appear with at least the resolution of the iPad at 1024×768.

And apparently we aren’t the only people curious about this stunning image, NPR also wanted to know the story behind it too!

Oh, and if you’re looking for another amazing iPad background picture of a starry sky, look no further than our wallpaper posts.

ipad picture

Update: OS X Daily reader Deadmilkman posted this picture in the comments, it comes pretty close to being a high res version of the iPad background picture. If you look carefully it’s actually the smaller picture just repeated, reflected against each other, and smoothed together with Photoshop, but it looks pretty nice nonetheless.

[ via ]


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Mac OS


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  1. tim.hobbes says:

    Shame on Apple to steal his picture without first contacting him. Luckily for them he agreed with the terms.

  2. John says:

    Interesting article but as a writer you should learn the correct use of the apostrophe.

  3. […] has long been very minimalist, but this is obviously taking a page from the Bing playbook. Bing has long included attractive images as the search engine home pages background picture, it’s not particularly functional it’s just attractive. I for one welcome the addition regardless of where it’s from, I’m big on customizing things whether it’s changing the login screen on my Mac or adjusting the background picture of the iPad. […]

  4. jimrichels says:

    You can find more free iPad backgrounds to download here:

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