Apple Rehires Veteran Newton Developer


In an interesting and exciting development, Apple (s aapl) has rehired Michael Tchao, one of the developers of the original Apple Newton personal digital assistant, the New York Times reports. Tchao left Apple 15 years ago.

Most recently, Tchao has been general manager of Nike’s Techlab, finding innovative ways to get your sneakers talking to your iPod (and other clever stuff, too).

Michael Tchao

Michael Tchao

Tchao takes on the mantle of vice president of Product Marketing, and will report directly to Phil Schiller. The NYT’s Brad Stone says there’s no official word yet from Cupertino on Tchao’s new position, but a source identified only as “another former Apple employee” is quoted as saying, “He’s got the scars and the great ideas” regarding tablet computing.

According to the Newton Hall of Fame, Tchao was “largely responsible” for the creation of the Newton:

Apple’s advanced R&D had been working for years on slate computers that read handwriting and beamed data across the room (‘Alien technology’ Mulder would say). Yet these technologies were meant to be incorporated in high-end $5,000+ super cool computers of the future. He and Steve Capps came up with the idea of using some of these technologies in a small consumer device to be sold today.

Apparently, the head of advanced R&D at Apple completely rejected the idea, so Tchao pitched it directly to John Scully who was won over.

I can’t help but wonder why Tchao is going back to Apple now. Three guesses, anyone?

Photo courtesy of eschipul on Flickr.