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Apple's Tablet: Newton Redux?

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Next week, after two years of suspense and speculation, Apple (AAPL - Get Report) will finally lift the curtain on its sleekly monolithic Tablet (or iSlate, or iPad).

Apple's bold entry into the tablet game could be as monumental as the company's last attempt to bring an e-notepad to the mobile masses, known as the Newton MessagePad.

The Newton -- a stylus-driven grayscale touchscreen device -- was first announced in 1992. More than a year later, it was introduced for sale by then-CEO John Scully as the first of what he called personal digital assistants (or PDAs).

The 7.5-inch, one-pound device was an inspired design that could, among other things, beam information via infrared rays to other Newtons within a three-foot range.

To some tech observers, the hotly anticipated Apple Tablet has more than a few parallels to the dreamy, somewhat comical and ultimately failed Newton.

Touchscreens, Part II

Newton users could jot down notes, mark calendars and even draw pictures on an unlit screen, ushering in an era of electronic notes. Apple Tablet users will be able to do all that and more on a brilliant color screen, ushering in a bigger multi-touch generation of devices.

Tech Breakthrough, Part II

The Newton had a fax modem -- a huge advantage at a time that predated email attachments. The Tablet promises to be a multimedia powerhouse delivering high-def, cinema-like entertainment to a mobile device.

Sized Wrong, Part II

The Newton was too big to fit in a pocket. The Tablet is even bigger, falling into that lug-it-or-leave-it category of portability.
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