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Newton engineer returns to his Apple roots

Apple today re-hired one of its original Newton developers and it may be one of the best sign yet that an Apple tablet actually exists.The New York Times reports that Michael Tchao joined Apple on Monday as vice president of product marketing after an absence of 15 years.

Michael TchaoApple today re-hired one of its original Newton developers and it may be one of the best sign yet that an Apple tablet actually exists.

The New York Times reports that Michael Tchao joined Apple on Monday as vice president of product marketing after an absence of 15 years.

It is not clear what his new duties at Apple will entail; Apple would not comment further on the matter, and Mr. Tchao did not immediately respond to a phone message. But identifying a market for the much-rumored Apple tablet could certainly be among them. Mr. Tchao gets the credit (or perhaps the blame) for convincing John Sculley, Apple’s former chief executive, to integrate the company’s handwriting-recognition technology into a consumer device.

According to inVerge Tchao was previously the General Manager of Nike Techlab, the technology innovation group within Nike chartered with developing new digital products. Tchao’s lab is responsible for Nike+ and the partnership between Nike and Apple which produced the award-winning Nike+iPod system in May of 2006.

It remains to be seen if Apple hired him because of his experience with handwriting-recognition or for his experience in sports technology and iPod peripherals. The announcement hasn't yet hit Apple's PR page and Apple hasn't provided any further details about the hiring.

Photo: inVerge.com