Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad has lived up to the hype, garnering rave reviews and meeting sales expectations. That success is particularly impressive because previous attempts by other companies to launch similar products were met with abject failure.
Because they make up less than 1% of the personal-computer market, few observers realize that so-called tablets have been around for about twenty years now.
The first models offered detachable keyboards, pen-based applications, and were priced in the thousands. A few contributed to companies declaring bankruptcy shortly after their debuts. Most were as pricey as a laptop but without nearly as much memory or competitive features - "underpowered and overpriced" were the usual complaints.