The New York Times has an article out today covering the long, checkered history of the Apple tablet. The article is mostly a recap of the last few months of rumors and developments, but the Times also brought some new info to the mix. According to Joshua A. Strickland, a former Apple engineer, the Cupertino-based company has been trying to develop a tablet since 2003.
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This early tablet used PowerPC microchips that drained the battery far too fast for any consumer use. Strickland also states that the component parts alone cost more than $500. Jobs axed earlier tablet designs because of their short battery life and expense, as well as the fact that he could see no use for them besides bathroom web browsing.
In essence, this is what my editor Luigi has been saying all along. The iTablet isn't going to see a launch until it is more than just a big iPod touch. All of the iTablet rumors we've heard thus far are for a device that is not at all innovative. I can watch high-def movies, browse the Internet, and go seven hours without a charge on my netbook. Why would I want to pay twice as much for a tablet that does the same thing as a gadget I already own?
The Microsoft Courier is a good example of the kind of innovation the iTablet needs to bring to the table. It's entirely possible that Apple's tablet is something new and exciting, and that all this malarkey about a 'giant iPod touch' is just B.S. fed to us by Apple's rumor farm. I certainly hope so. Anything else would just be sad.