It's not often that you get a chance to feel sorry for Bill Gates, but the launch of Apple's new tablet netbook is one such occasion. Gates was touting the concept a long time ago and PC tablet computers have been on the market for yonks, but I suspect Apple will take all of the praise for 'inventing' this category simply because they will do it better.
Apple stopped innovating with the Newton, what they do now is make things more fashionable - and easier to use, a lot of people claim (I find their products impossibly difficult to use, but that probably says more about me...). You have to admire a company that can take concepts as established as a Walkman and a mobile phone and then totally reinvent them.
The only product that Apple has released since Jobs' return that has not taken its category by storm is Apple TV.
The Apple netbook (my name...) certainly is the right product at the right time, able to leverage the iPhone and iTouch OS and their existing extensive app libraries and poised to take on Kindle and the eReader as an ebook device.
Netbooks are also ideal for many specific roles such as education and mobile working, provided the keyboard is good enough; and this may be the deciding factor for the Apple netbook - is it another fashion device for media types, or will it open yet another market category for Apple ?
One thing's for certain, as long as Apple are gatekeeping applications and forcing me to use their dreadful iTunes software, I won't be joining the queue camping on the street outside the Apple store three days before it's launched..
Meantime, Bill is off saving the world. Who'd be a prophet in his own land ?