The New York Times reported yesterday that Apple recently rehired Michael Tchao, a former Apple employee who was one of the original developers of the Newton, Apple’s ill-fated attempt at a PDA. Tchao last worked for Apple in 1994, and his new role at Apple will take more of a marketing twist than actual product development.
Mr. Tchao joined Apple on Monday as vice president of product marketing, Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, confirmed. He will report to Phil Schiller, a senior vice president.
In his most recent professional experience, prior to rejoining Apple, Tchao worked as the general manager of “Nike Techlab, the company’s technology arm”, where work was done to help integrate Nike shoes with Apple’s iPod.
“It is not clear what his new duties at Apple will entail; Apple would not comment further on the matter, and Mr. Tchao did not immediately respond to a phone message,” the report noted, “But identifying a market for the much-rumored Apple tablet could certainly be among them. Mr. Tchao gets the credit (or perhaps the blame) for convincing John Sculley, Apple’s former chief executive, to integrate the company’s handwriting-recognition technology into a consumer device.”
One anonymous former Apple employee who once worked with Mr. Tchao observed that when it comes to tablet computing, “He’s got the scars and the great ideas.”
The latest Apple tablet rumors have Apple releasing a PA Semi powered 9.6-inch tablet sometime in early 2010 at a pricepoint between $800 and $1000. Most recently, the French language Mac Site, Mac4Ever, reported that while an incarnation of an Apple table does exist and is in the works, it’s far removed “from the concepts that have been announced so far by the rumor sites.”
And so the plot thickens…