Newton as the ‘next big thing,’ and why it failed.

How does the Newton MessagePad stack up against former Apple CEO John Sculley’s original Knowledge Navigator idea?

I’ve been doing some thinking, but in the meantime, check out this thorough post by Daniel over at Roughly Drafted on how the Newton came to be, how it failed to fully realize Sculley’s vision, and how Apple may, indeed, come up with the next big platform that could set all our devices free.

“The original intent of the Newton project was not to design a PDA, but to deliver a new tablet-based computer that would leap over the existing Mac user interface,” he says.

Everyone says how the Newton was a great idea, maybe ahead of its time, not really marketable, too darned big, and so on. It seems to me the Newton, along with the iPhone, iPod, and software like iChat, the idea behind an all-encompassing device that does everything from schedule meetings to video conference has already come to pass. The MessagePad may have just been the first match to light the fuse.

Says Daniel:

The Newton actually suffered from a number of fatal flaws; some of its issues relate to Apple’s new platform, which promises to solve many of the same issues that Newton was intended to cover. The main problem with the Newton was in its hardware execution: turning the concepts behind it into a product that could sell.

There have been shorter posts on why the Newton failed here before, but this in-depth article goes about and beyond any explanation I’ve ever read.

No comments.

  1. The Newton may have “failed” commercially – but… what a cool device. I’ve just bought a MessagePad 2100 on eBay. I can’t wait for my “match” to arrive.

  2. Lucky! I’ll get a 2100 one of these days. For now, my 110 gets me by. Enjoy the MessagePad!

  3. Oh yeah baby – I intend to. :-)

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