Robert Scoble nails it with his analysis of what Steve Jobs has probably learned from the failed NEC LitePad Tablet PC–which, in my estimation was one of the best Tablet PCs to date.
The LitePad was the second Tablet PC I purchased at the time and was the first slate form factor I owned. In large part because of its thin and light slate design it quickly became one of my favorite Tablet PCs to use–particularly in conjunction with my desktop. In particular, I wrote a special app to share the clipboard and content between the LitePad and my other computers. It worked like a charm. One of my favorite projects, in part because through it I walked down the path of exploring what can really be done with the clipboard in a multi-machine environment.
Anyway, point is, I think that’s one additional lesson Steve Jobs could have learned from the LitePad. That is: A great slate/tablet is going to need to play well with other devices. Period. It has to do this out of the box.
Another lesson, is that although the LitePad was pretty good performance wise for its time, the onboard Intel processor was still not good enough. The alternatives at the time were not much better choices, but today, with embedded OSes and ARM processor derivatives, there’s a lot that can be done. You have to look no further than the iPhone or let’s say the Kindle.
Give Robert’s blog post a read if you too are wondering what lessons Steve Jobs and Apple engineers might have learned by watching the best of Microsoft and its partners.