The PC industry has a lot to thank Apple for



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What was the Apple Newton?

Developed by Apple, the Newton was one of the first personal digital assistants ever made. A handheld gadget capable of understanding handwriting, it was years ahead of its time when it appeared in 1993. But cost and limited functionality meant it was eventually canned when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the company and closed the loss-making Newton product division down in 1998 (as he struggled to rescue Apple from extinction). 

Part of the original Newton team, Albert Chu, spoke with me about the Newton in 2003. “Newton was good technology,” said the then-vice president of business development at Palm. “It had a lot of great features, but when we launched it, it was not launched as part of Apple.

“Yes, it was ahead of its time and was a great exploration, but it was just not ready for primetime: handwriting recognition did not work, for example.”



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