Re: [NTLK] Safari Pad - Apple's Tablet Computer

From: Riccardo Mori <>
Date: Wed Apr 22 2009 - 19:59:09 EDT

Stefan wrote:

> I believe, our dear Steve is not the solution, he
> is part of the problem. He killed the Newton
> mainly because he hated Sculley, IMHO.


A couple of months ago, Jon Glass quoted a lot of interesting old
posts written by John Arkley in 1999. Arkley was -- and I quote him --
"Apple employee #88 and in Newton group Feb 95 thru Aug 98;
i was last software engineer standing in the "Newton group", because i
was the Newton OS "patch master" and they kept me around in case
another patch was needed. I also was the author of the Newton C++
Tools for Macintosh and the Newton group's ROM build system and build
tools engineer."

Arkley wrote some interesting things about what the Newton project was
costing to Apple. I quote again:

"Over the long life of "Newton" development Apple spent (i estimate)
in excess of $400 million on R & D. The early years (88-91) were
almost pure research on technologies, hand-writing recognition, low
power CPU's (ATT Hobbit efforts), prototypes, UI design for pen, grand
schemes to create a large format "Slate" type products... The whole
"Newton" thing started as an attempt to implement Sculley's 'Knowelege
Navigator' video as a real product. It was typical Apple "engineering
technology for its own sake" with little real world concern for what a
customer would want and how much a buyer would pay for a given level
of functionality.

"Eventually the 'slate' at $4000-$5000 was obviously not saleable
[...] The rest is fairly public history of a product that cost too
much for what it did and was never small enough to really be a hand
held device. Relative to the total R & D dollars Apple spent on the
whole newton developement cycle Apple never recovered the first dollar
of profit above the $400 million sunk R & D costs.

During Apple's last couple of years the R&D expenses of the bloated
Newton group of about 175 people was burning about $27.3 million a
year; this follows from the 'standard' cost per person for salary,
benefits, equip, office space and supplies and mgmt overhead of
$156,000 per person. Apple was NOT selling enough MessagePad,
accessories, etc to cover the costs, except for one or two quarters
during the years i was working in NSG (Feb 95- Mar 98)."

Now, given these numbers (which I have no reason to doubt), and given
the fact that Apple was in a serious financial crisis in 1997, I
believe that Jobs shut down the Newton because he wanted to stop that
cash haemorrhage and get Apple on its feet as soon as possible.

> Some of Apple's so-called features are simply
> gimmicks. (iPhone/iPod touch = fine, but
> unnecessary),


> OS-X for example was and is so
> feature-loaded that most machines are too slow to
> get the feeling of speed. A good operating system
> and the most important applications should run on
> every sold computer of the producer with
> satisfying speed. That's not the fact.

Say again? I have a lot of Macs of various vintages. I have, for
example, a G3/466 clamshell iBook, bought second-hand in 2002. It has
run, so far, every Mac OS incarnation from 9.1 to OS X 10.4.11. Every
Mac OS installation has run on that iBook quite satisfactorily. Every
Mac OS X version has even felt a little snappier than the previous
one. (This has been particularly noticeable when upgrading to OS X
10.2 (Jaguar) from 10.1.x and to Panther from Jaguar.

Mac OS X has actually extended the already long life of older Mac
systems. Today, a Titanium PowerBook G4/500 (another example taken
from my collection) with Mac OS X Tiger is still very much usable, and
not just for email and Web browsing. I also have an original blueberry
clamshell iBook, a 300 MHz G3 processor and stock 3 GB hard drive. It
was running fine on Mac OS 9.2.2, but it couldn't connect to my
wireless WPA-protected home network. I installed Mac OS X 10.3.9 and
the AirPort update, and now it can. Panther runs also fairly smoothly
on it. The iBook has just 288 MB RAM.

> Apple is also such a company that wants to sell,
> to sell, to sell. Do you really feel as an
> appreciated customerŠ ???

I surely feel as a customer who has bought a lot of worthwhile Apple
hardware over the years, yes. All the money I've spent in Apple
products (new and used) so far has amortised nicely.

(By the way, I despise Mac fanatics -- I hate fanatism in general --
and my very positive experience as a long-time Mac user surely hasn't
clouded any possible criticism I may have for Apple, Inc. I don't
acritically agree to every move Apple makes or has made. I don't
"defend" Apple at all costs. Apple doesn't certainly need me to defend
itself. Every opinion I may share in any Mac vs Windows debate always
originates from personal experience of both platforms, not fanatism. I
write this as a disclaimer because it has often happened to me when
discussing Apple -- everytime I say something in agreement with Apple,
everytime I report a positive experience with Macs, I get the fanboy-
treatment as an answer. *sigh*)


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Received on Wed Apr 22 19:59:23 2009

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