Apple Working On A Tablet Since At Least 2003?

More fuel for the Apple Tablet rumours. According to the NY Times, several former Apple employees say a PowerPC-based prototype was developed in 2003 — but it was too power-hungry, and Steve Jobs felt it was limited to bathroom Web-surfing.

Former Apple engineer, Joshua A. Strickland (whose name is on several Apple multitouch patents) told the paper it couldn't be built because the battery and graphics sucked, and the parts themselves cost $US500.

But technology has come along way, Apple's iTunes could be the next big bookstore, the Newton's developer has been rehired, and Apple Tablet rumors have reached a fever pitch.

As another former Apple executive, who couldn't be named due to Apple's secrecy policies, told the Times:

"I can imagine something like the iPhone with a much bigger screen being a gorgeous device with great capacity, but I don't know where I would fit that into my life. Those are the debates that have been happening inside Apple for quite some time."

The paper's write-up is a good recap of all the buzz circulating right now; definitely worth a read (and not just because they quote our own Mr. Lam). [New York Times]

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