Apple’s Original Tablet

The net has been all a-twitter about the anticipated Apple tablet product, but remember that they’ve trod this road before with the Newton. Unfairly maligned at the time, the Newton was actually an absurdly capable device that was simply in the wrong market at the wrong time; proof of its ultimate efficacy is found in the near-complete domination of the PDA market by Palm only a year or two after Newton’s launch — a device that can legitimately be called a smaller, less capable Newton. The experience of using either was very similar, especially in key areas (for example, neither had what you’d recognize as an “OS” visible to the user — you just moved from app to app).

Perennial Apple booster John Gruber has an excellent essay about the Newton you should read if you’re at all gadget-geeky.

Disclosure: I had three Newts: A 110, a 130, and a 2100. They were my constant companions for several years until I could no longer deny the appeal of a perfectly-synced device, and switched to Palm.

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