Apple Newton Developer Returns After 15 Years – Tablet in Apple’s Future?

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I don’t normally write much about executives moving in and out of firms. But, as an old Apple Newton owner, I had to mention this item from the New York Times…

Apple Rehires a Developer of Its Newton Tablet

Neither the NYT nor Apple is saying what Michael Tchao will be doing at Apple. But, the article does note that he most recently worked for Nike Techlab which builds gear like the Nike+ iPod products.

Some people (including the author of the NYT piece) calls the Newton a failed product. I don’t agree. The Newton itself was a fine piece of hardware with software features that still have no been equalled today (the “scrub” erase remains an awesome design achievement that is still easier to use than anything else I see in the mobile device market). Its failure was its lack of ability to easily sync with the then (and still) dominant Micosoft Windows platform. And, believe me, I went through virtual contortions to get data moving between the Newton and my PCs back then.

FYI: That’s my Newton Messagepad 130 sitting under my iPhone 3G in the photo above.