While Apple would be happy having many of us believe that the iPad is the genius invention of Steve Jobs and company alone, it turns out that tablets have been in development for over 100 years. As far back as 1888 the forerunners of today’s devices where being patented. In the 1960’s the RAND Corporation created The RAND Tablet, a stylus that could digitally capture handwriting. I’d like to believe that in a parallel universe people in the 60’s and 70’s were walking around with funky RAND Tablets.(A)ll technology evolves from sometimes cruder predecessors, and tablets are no different. People have been playing with some of the technologies underlying tablet PCs for over a century: In July 1888, for example, inventor Elisha Gray (pictured) received a US patent for an electrical stylus device that captured handwriting.
http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/knowledge/from-telautograph-to-ipad-123-years-of-tablet-pcs-27523 via Slashdot