CWmike writes "When Apple launched the iPad earlier this year, it was the culmination of fans' long wait for the company to enter the tablet market. There's no doubt the iPad is a revolutionary device. But in 1979, an earlier generation of Apple users used a different kind of Apple tablet, back when the word meant something else entirely, writes Ken Gagne. The Apple Graphics Tablet was designed by Summagraphics and sold by Apple Computer for the Apple II personal microcomputer. (Summagraphics also marketed the device for other platforms as the BitPad.) To be clear, this tablet was not a stand-alone computing device like the iPad. Instead, it was an input device for creating images on the Apple II's screen, and it predated the Apple II's mouse by six years. Apple II fan Tony Diaz had an Apple Graphics Tablet on hand at last month's KansasFest, an annual convention for diehard Apple II users. He and Gagne, the event's marketing director, compared and contrasted Apple's original tablet with the iPad, snapping photos as they went." The contrived comparison is as silly as it sounds — but it's a fine excuse to look at some ahead-of-its-time gear, even in the form of an annoying slide show.