Pen Mac -- the Original iTablet


TechCrunch has posted an interesting photo and write up of the Apple Tablet that never was -- the Pen Mac, unreleased in favor of the PDA-style Newton back in 1990.

The Pen Mac was a fully functional Mac computer (it even played the Mac startup chime) with a pen based touch screen. The screen itself was identical to the Mac Portable, but with the addition of pen touch. And of course the case was a lot smaller than the Mac Portable. The Pen Mac was supposedly not much more than one inch thick. Users could plug in a keyboard and mouse or easier input.

So, it happened before will it happen again? From Newton to iPod touch. From Pen Mac to... iTablet? We'll have to wait for 2010 to find out.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Pen Mac -- the Original iTablet


Could someone explain the gadget world's obsession with the unannounced Apple Tablet? It's not like the tablet PC market is burning so hot that it begs for an Apple entrant. Is it simply the dreams of people who love the iPhone OS but want it on a larger device? If so, how much mass appeal would that really have?
I'm not saying that there isn't a market for it. Hell, if it's impressive enough I might eventually want one. I just don't understand why people are so desparately looking for a Mac tablet in a market that seems ambivalent at best about tablet computers on the whole.