Apple Working on a Tablet Since At Least 2003?S

More fuel for the Apple Tablet rumors. According to the NY Times, several former Apple employees say a PowerPC-based prototype was developed in 2003—but it was too power-hungry, and Steve Jobs felt it was limited to bathroom Web-surfing.

Former Apple engineer, Joshua A. Strickon (whose name is on several Apple multi-touch patents) told the paper it couldn't be built because the battery and graphics sucked, and the parts themselves cost $500 bucks.

But technology has come along way, Apple's iTunes could be the next big bookstore, the Newton's developer has been rehired, and Apple Tablet rumors have reached a fever pitch.

As another former Apple executive, who couldn't be named due to Apple's secrecy policies, told the Times:

"I can imagine something like the iPhone with a much bigger screen being a gorgeous device with great capacity, but I don't know where I would fit that into my life. Those are the debates that have been happening inside Apple for quite some time."

The paper's write-up is a good recap of all the buzz circulating right now; definitely worth a read (and not just because they quote our own Mr. Lam). [New York Times]