Apple Tablet work-in-progress since 2003?

It's been a few days since the last good Apple Tablet rumor, so what better way to celebrate the start of a new week than a blast through the annuls.  The NYT, in the absence of any hard evidence, instead rehashes the story so far, though does at least drop in a few choice quotes from an ex-Apple engineer claiming the company has been working on the Tablet project since 2003.

"It couldn't be built. The battery life wasn't long enough, the graphics performance was not enough to do anything and the components themselves cost more than $500" Joshua A. Strickland, former Apple engineer

The initial devices, Strickland claims, were based on PowerPC processors and suffered dramatically short battery life.  In addition, the sort of hardware available for a mobile device at the time was insufficiently powered for the Tablet to be functionally usable.

Steve Jobs is also fingered as an early nay-sayer, with an unnamed Apple executive suggesting that the outspoken CEO demanded to know what Tablets "were good for besides surfing the Web in the bathroom."  Recent rumors about the iPad device – which is believed to have a 10.7-inch capacitive touchscreen, come in 3G and non-3G versions, and prioritize media playback and internet access – have suggested the Jobs is the last barrier in-between a commercial launch and another re-shelving for the Tablet project.

[via MacRumors]