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Apple didn't rewrite this event, John Gruber made a remark that was interpreted by Thom as being such a thing.
Gruber doesn't state that Apple invented this type of home screen, he calls in an innovation and not an Apple invention.
When comparing the iOS home screen to the home screen from Thom's link you'll notice the iOS one is simpler.
Don't forget we've moved on from a rather "simple" time to a far more advanced one, yet Apple managed to not only keep their home screen simple, they apparently made it even simpler than Palm's as proven by Thom.
With regards to Apple rewriting history: they present us with stuff they call amazing, magical, blah blah. Then you have people that compare it with previous stuff of other companies and when they find a match, sometimes a very good one, sometimes a rather fat fetched one, they claim Apple rewrites history.
They don't claim to have invented the desktop GUI, mobile phones or tablets. They brought it main stream or put a different more successful twist on it.