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The GRIDPad was followed by a slew of other unsuccessful tablets, including—oh the irony—HP's first failed tablet 1992's Compaq Concerto, . It turns out the HP TouchPad had failure in its DNA.
By 1991, though, we finally had working tablets, like the Fujitsu PoqetPad.
Look at the record From almost the beginning of recorded history to twenty years before the iPad was introduced, the tablet was a common design. There's nothing new about the iPad's basic design. There never was. There never will be.