At the time, it wasn't clear what type of user would be interested in a tablet. Early guessers saw it as a niche device for hospital staffs or a good fit with the education market. Today, it's a little clearer, but the economics of netbooks don't work in Apple's favor.

Nonetheless, design hubris and slumping sales will cause Apple to tap a hot segment of computer market.

One prediction: The Apple tablet, instead of being a stunning iPhone-like innovation, will probably end up with a fate more like the MacBook Air. Remember that blade-thin metal-design, $2,400 laptop? It's sitting at No. 52 on the Amazon bestselling notebook list. The tablet will be lucky to fall anywhere in the top 100.

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