You know, with all the predictions articles that happened this month, there’s a phrase that I’m really tired of hearing included in most of them. This is NOT the “Year of the Tablet”. The year of the tablet, the REAL year of the tablet, has already gone by. Now, some of you are nodding, but when you think it was 2010 or 2011, and that the boom began with the introduction of the iPad, you’d be wrong.
It was over 20 years ago.
In the early 90s, Apple released Newton (whose development began in 1987) the first real pen-based computing device. I was a big Newton aficionado, despite its heavy weight, monochrome screen, large size, and god-awful handwriting recognition. It was still a personal computer I could carry, and, after equipping it with the Graffiti handwriting-recognition package, it was quite capable. My Newton could email, fax, take and retrieve notes and other information – and that’s what I needed. Unfortunately, at around $2,500 with all the necessary accessories and software, it was something that only true devotees could love, but it pointed the way to the future of computing, in products like the iPad (er… “Newton II)