iPhone != Newton?

CG reader Bruce sent us a note today pointing out an interesting aspect of the the iPhone decision. He writes:

A lot is being said about the exclusive Cingular deal, no 3G, and the high price for a phone. How about short term positioning this as a true “pocket pc”? It has a PC O/S, wifi access for online use, great screen, etc… If Apple wants to sell this through their own retail channel, without all of the Cingular baggage, why not just sell it as an IP-based device and downplay the phone capabilities?

What he’s saying, essentially, is why didn’t Apple pull out a mini-Tablet PC similar to the Newton with video iChat integration. Palm is on the ropes, Wi-Fi is ubiquitous, and Windows Mobile hurts to use. The market, it would seem, is there. Why pin their success on a carrier? It’s slow today, so please discuss.