Newton designer returns to Apple

One of the principal designers behind the ill-fated Newton Message Pad has returned to Apple, sparking further speculation that an Apple tablet is on the cards.

Newton designer returns to Apple

Michael Tchao has rejoined Apple as vice president of product marketing, reporting directly to Phil Schiller, senior vice president for worldwide product marketing.

Tchao spent ten years at Apple and, according to lore, was responsible for the integration of handwriting technology into the Newton Message Pad, after pitching the software to former Apple chief executive John Scully aboard a private jet.

Unfortunately, the handwriting software failed to pass muster among users, resulting in a rash of poor reviews. This led Apple to can the Newton and all related products in 1998.

Tchao left Apple in 1994 for Nike’s Tech Lab were he oversaw the creation of products such as the Nike + iPod pedometer.

His return has prompted a fresh round of debate that Apple is working on a new tablet. The latest speculation suggests the nearly mythical device will feature a 10in touchscreen running the iPhone OS that can also hook up to a Mac and be used as a secondary screen, or clever touchpad.

Read our feature on the 20 other innovative products that should have changed the world, but failed spectacularly

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