Speculate on Why Such a Great Machine is No More
Whatever happened to the Newton?
The question has stimulated a lot of interest
in the newton community ever since the Newton was canned - there are no definitive
summary, with more
- Apple had the most advanced OS, was well established
in the handheld market, had the best people, the most experience, an established
innovative and productive third party developer base, and the best OS if
- They were many years ahead of anyone else, and had
some interesting products in the market (MP2x00s, emate).
- The Newton MP2x00s had just about got it right, and
had shown the potential of handhelds.
- PDAs were taking off, but at the time Apple did
not have the money to take full advantage (e.g. pocket sized hardware for
the OS) due to wider financial difficulties (in part due to the purchase
of Next Computer), market/media perceptions about Apple, and the far more
critical need of developing OS X quickly and transitioning their user base
successfully. They were in a vulnerable position.
- It was in Microsoft's interests to have Newton out
of the space for their fledgling , very immature, and unfortunately named
Wince product that was a late, failing, entrant into the market (released
in the fall of 1996).
Whatever the reasons Apple killed the Newton,
surely it would have been remiss not to have included its newton plans as a
bargaining chip in some way as part of the broader Apple - Microsoft business
deal (August 1997) - even if they had independently/secretly decided to end
the project anyway. Interestingly, after the MS-Apple deal and after about six
months of rumours Apple killed the Newton (February 1998), leaving that
OS market for Microsoft and relative new-comer Palm to fight it out. These days
PocketPC is probably the most Newton-like of PDAs, although Microsoft has also
stayed away from supporting pocketPC in the Apple (macintosh) market...
1996 - WinCE released, does poorly
1996 - Apple buys Steve Job's Next inc to use as the future mac OS X
1997 - Newton MP2000 Models released - impressing everyone (specifications
1997 - Emate announced to drive Apple's education market (specifications
22, 1997 - An independent Newton subsidiary announced to take advantage
of the burgeoning PDA market
1997 - Steve Jobs returns & takes over
1997 - Apple - Microsoft deal revealed "fixing" the market and
media perceptions about Apple's future.
1997 - Newton reabsorbed
1998 - Newton terminated
1999 - Apple offers to buy 3Com (Palm) - fails but obtains licence to
produce PalmOS PDAs.
2002 - Apple adds Newton's handwriting recognition technology to mac OS
will let us know the real reason(s) on day. If just to set the record straight
given the important role Newtons have played in the development of handheld
In the meantime, it seems that the Newton just