Apple working on tablet computer since 2003: former employees

According to a new story in the New York Times Apple has been working on its infamous tablet computer since at least 2003. According to the report several former Apple employees are saying that a PowerPC-based prototype was being developed in 2003 but needed too much power.

The former employees also said that Jobs felt the device would only be useful for bathroom surfing which is rather disgusting really. Former Apple employee Joshua A. Strickland told the NYT that the device was never put into production because the battery life and graphics were not good and the parts to build it were $500.

The rumors of an Apple tablet continue to persist and Apple is sure to give customers what they want eventually. One interesting quote from the story is from an unnamed Apple executive who said “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.”

That is exactly what I envision a larger iPhone with a bigger screen. Some rumors say the tablet will run the iPhone OS and will be offered with and without 3G access. That said I think what many customers are really wanting is a more portable MacBook with full Mac OS X in the price range of today’s netbooks — and with 3G built in! Seriously Apple what’s the story — still no notebooks with 3G built in?