Apple appoints Nike+ marketer as top product chief

LONDON - Apple has appointed Michael Tchao, previously general manager at Nike+ and Nike Techlab, as its new vice president of product marketing, leading to speculation that the software giant is close to unveiling its much anticipated tablet computer.

The appointment marks a return to Apple for Tchao, who worked at the company for eight years in the late eighties and early nineties.

During Tchao's stint at Apple, he oversaw the launch of the Apple Newton, a ground-breaking but failed personal digital assistant, which is viewed as the precursor to handheld mobile devices.

Prior to his appointment at Apple, Tchao worked at Nike for seven years where he oversaw products including armbands and sneakers that integrate with the iPod.

Before joining Nike, Tchao launched his own management consultancy. He also worked at Cendant in the consumer services industry, and as chief product officer at wireless company Onedoto.

It is not known what Tchao's responsibilities at Apple will entail, but many are hoping he will handle responsibility for Apple's tablet computer.

In August and September rumours began to circulate that Apple was to launch the tablet computer at last month's conference. However, the rumour turned out to be false.

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