4 Comments

Summary:

In an interesting and exciting development, Apple has rehired Michael Tchao, one of the developers of the original Apple Newton personal digital assistant, the New York Times reports. Tchao left Apple 15 years ago. Most recently, Tchao has been general manager of Nike’s Techlab, finding innovative […]

newton

In an interesting and exciting development, Apple has rehired Michael Tchao, one of the developers of the original Apple Newton personal digital assistant, the New York Times reports. Tchao left Apple 15 years ago.

Most recently, Tchao has been general manager of Nike’s Techlab, finding innovative ways to get your sneakers talking to your iPod (and other clever stuff, too).

Michael Tchao

Michael Tchao

Tchao takes on the mantle of vice president of Product Marketing, and will report directly to Phil Schiller. The NYT’s Brad Stone says there’s no official word yet from Cupertino on Tchao’s new position, but a source identified only as “another former Apple employee” is quoted as saying, “He’s got the scars and the great ideas” regarding tablet computing.

According to the Newton Hall of Fame, Tchao was “largely responsible” for the creation of the Newton:

Apple’s advanced R&D had been working for years on slate computers that read handwriting and beamed data across the room (‘Alien technology’ Mulder would say). Yet these technologies were meant to be incorporated in high-end $5,000+ super cool computers of the future. He and Steve Capps came up with the idea of using some of these technologies in a small consumer device to be sold today.

Apparently, the head of advanced R&D at Apple completely rejected the idea, so Tchao pitched it directly to John Scully who was won over.

I can’t help but wonder why Tchao is going back to Apple now. Three guesses, anyone?

Photo courtesy of eschipul on Flickr.

Related research

Subscriber Content

Subscriber content comes from Gigaom Research, bridging the gap between breaking news and long-tail research. Visit any of our reports to learn more and subscribe.

You're subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

Related stories

  1. Uhh great. Just what I need to get confidence in the Apple Tablet: the dude who’s responsible for the Newton.

    Share
  2. I wonder, does this development put a nail in the coffin of previous tablet rumors? Because I’m wondering why they’d hire this guy now if the tablet is already built and almost ready to go.

    Share
    1. I mean, his work at Nike had nothing to do with Tablets, so for this could have nothing to do with it.

      Share
    2. Hi Brian, I doubt it. He has been brought on in a marketing role, not a development role, reporting to Schiller. So this is a marketing position that oughtn’t affect the technical development of the device.

      Ummm, that is, the device Apple has not confirmed exists. ;-)

      Share

Comments have been disabled for this post