[NTLK] FW: NewtonTalk Digest, Vol 34, Issue 7

Ken Rosen kenrosen at gmail.com
Mon Oct 17 13:58:04 EDT 2016

After spending quite a few years at Apple and NeXT, I don't share your
disgust. But I was at no longer at either when Steve was on a stage at an
event - possibly a developer event. His preso was live broadcast on the web
as I recall. He never mentioned Newton, but took questions and someone asked
about Newton. He said something like, "I don't understand why anyone would
want a sort of scribble pad." After many years using Newton as my daily
everything, including note-taking at every meeting, I will always remember
that as the moment I faced the fact that Newton was dead. 

Mike, you're right. By the end, recognition was fantastic. How sad that it
never really recovered in the public's eye from the early (well-deserved)
Doonesbury parodies. 

One last personal memory that remains raw to this day: I spent a day with
the Newton team before the original MessagePad shipped. I could touch it,
but it was all hush-hush, so my testing was limited. Toward the end of the
day, I asked my main contact, "Of the things you want people to do -
calendar, notes, etc.  - what are the compromises? That is, is the
MessagePad in every way better than the existing manual approaches?" He
said, "Yes, for all the main ways people will use it, the Newton is better.
No compromises." Obviously, this was profoundly untrue. I've often wondered
if the team was more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, could they
have been more successful? Could communication, customer targeting,
positioning, etc. have inoculated people against the weaknesses until they
had time to ship the robust 2100. It's a classic startup challenge. It just
happened inside a larger co.

I still own almost every model. And it was easily 10+ years before anything
else (PocketPC? Early iPhone?) could do more than the 2100.


Ken Rosen
Performance Works Consulting
krosen at perworks.com
Tw: @ken_rosen


Wow! That's the best, most profound, thorough explanation what happened I've
ever seen.

Thanks mucho!

Great to know my disgust with Jobs was/is well justified.


Mike <mdsf001 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you for the link to the survey.
> Here's some of what I had to say in my responses.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ------ Firstly, several of the features have found themselves into the 
> iPad not just iPod.
> I still own (and occasionally operate) several Newton MessagePads. I 
> found
the device to be far ahead of its time and went on to become an Apple
Solution Professional (that was a external consultant program Apple had set
up) as a Newton consultant and in order to evangelize about the Newton.
> At the time, Apple was in a very difficult financial situation and 
> when
Steve Jobs returned to the company he had to make several difficult
decisions (some based on sound business reasons and some based on personal
reasons). The reason to cancel the Newton was one based on the latter. He
never liked the Newton (it being a pet project of John Sculley, who ousted
Jobs several years earlier).
> There was no good reason to cancel the Newton since Gil Amelio, 
> Apple's
CEO before the returning Steve Jobs, had already started the process to spin
off the Newton in to a separate, independent company. Starting capital had
been lined up and a team was being put in place. It looked like a 'fait
accompli'. Then Jobs stopped everything, reversed what had been done and
cancelled the Newton.
> It was expensive but the things it was able to do still aren't done by 
> my
latest iPad (for example speaking alarms where my Newton not only alerted me
with a sound that I had a meeting but it spoke the details of the reminder
(name, date, time, place, etc...).
> Also, the handwriting recognition of the last model of the MessagePad 
> was
practically flawless (98% recognition rate).
> Unfortunately, the Newton was the right device at the wrong time in
Apple's history.
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Spinning or not, I have to set the record straight for our beloved Newt.
> Mike
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> http://newtontalk.net/
> http://twitter.com/newtontalk

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