Did Apple Rehire Newton Genius For Tablet?

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It certainly seems that Apple has a thing for Geniuses, and while brainy men and women come and go, there may be one that Steve Jobs and Co. may ultimately never be able to escape: Newton.

That may be why Apple is bringing Michael Tchao, one of the original developers of the Newton PDA, back into the fold. Apple Monday hired Tchao as vice president of product marketing, according to The New York Times.

The rehiring of Tchao likely comes as Apple prepares to publicly embark on the worst-kept secret in the tech field: a tablet. The Newton, Apple's PDA, was one of the first consumer handheld PDA devices on the market. While the Newton never created quite the same fervor as the Palm Pilot, it did demonstrate a certain forward-thinking ability that Tchao may bring to an Apple tablet.

It is unclear exactly what Tchao's responsibilities at Apple will entail, but he may be tasked with developing a market for a tablet device.

Rumors of the tablet have long been circulating around the blogosphere. In July of this year it was reported that Apple may be looking at a tablet instead of a netbook, similar to a bigger version of an iPod Touch.

Shortly after rumors of an Apple tablet surfaced, reports came out that Apple was working on a new album format code-named Cocktail, which would include photos, lyric sheets, video clips and liner notes to increase paid downloads. Those functions were, in fact, incorporated into iTunes9, released in early September at Apple's Rock N Roll event.

While the features and release date of a tablet from Apple are yet to be finalized, Tchao may be tasked with determining how to make the form factor and features of an Apple tablet pleasing to consumers.

Meanwhile, since his return to Apple, Steve Jobs has reportedly taken a hands-on interest in the tablet device. Jobs' involvement paired with Tchao's marketing expertise may mean that a tablet from Apple will hit the stores later this year or early in 2010 after all.

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