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"Does it remind you of the Foleo?" Palm's never-released "smartphone companion" laptop, killed on the eve of its introduction last September, does look a bit like Apple's new MacBook Air, though the latter is thinner yet and far more powerful. Under the casings, there's little comparison. Which raises a question: Did Jon Rubinstein, the former Apple executive who's now Palm's executive chairman, get some inkling that Apple would be coming out with the MacBook Air?

Rubinstein left Apple in the spring of 2006, before the Air began serious development. But he'd presumably have sufficient contacts within Apple to get such a warning. It would explain a long-standing mystery: Why Palm killed the Foleo later, rather than sooner. Better to take the financial hit in September — Palm wrote off $10 million in Foleo R&D — than to face the inevitable comparisons to a far superior machine in January.