Former Apple CEO describes how the Newton launched the mobile CPU industry

Former Apple CEO describes how the Newton launched the mobile CPU industry
John Sculley, one time CEO of Apple Computers and the man who ousted Steve Jobs from the company he started, recently participated in an interesting discussion on the Newton, and the role that the largely panned device played in jump-starting the hardware behind today’s mobile technology. For those of you too young to remember, the Apple Newton was a PDA platform that was created in the late 1980s and early 1990s that was supposed to reinvent computing and make it mobile. It was infamous well known for its hand-writing recognition software, which became notorious for being, shall we say…less than fully reliable?

In the video, Sculley claims that hand writing recognition was never intended to be the main feature of the Newton, and points out that it made at least one important long-term contribution our present mobile devices – the processor. During its development of the Newton, Apple’s engineers ran into a serious problem - there were no low-power chips that could be run off of a reasonable-sized battery that could do floating-point operations well enough to support the graphics they envisioned.

To remedy this Apple partnered with Acorn Computers and VLSI Technology to create Advanced RISC Machines, or ARM. Of course it would take many more years before ARM processors allowed the sophisticated touch computing devices we take for granted today, but of all the ways that Apple has helped to shape the modern mobile computing ecosystem, this may be the most important. ARM Holdings continued to develop their low-power CPUs long after the Newton was dumped, and by the time a reinvigorated Apple was gearing up to make the first iPhone ARM-based processors had reached the point where they could deliver the sort of real-time feedback and graphics processing necessary to pull it off.

The rest is history (and there is much still to be written in the annals of mobile computing), but with Android, WP8, and now even Windows RT running on ARM processors it’s clear that the chip that was originally launched by the Newton is taking over the world of personal computing. If you want to hear Sculley's views yourself they are worth a listen. We've embedded the video at the appropriate start time, and the discussion carries on for about 15 minutes:

source: TheNextWeb via 9to5Mac



1. Pings

Posts: 304; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

They were not the 1st to do this...

2. Droiddoes unregistered

When has apple ever been the first to do anything? Christ, they even stole the idea of abusing the patent system from Edison.

10. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

the line says WORKED WITH they NEVER CREATED SUCH A THING by them selves

12. Droiddoes unregistered

They never do, they just copy, patent, and sue. F*cking pathetic.

3. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

and it still does not make me feel good about apple. not because i love google/android but because of the things apple has been doing. they are in the tech business only for money not for the love of tech. only guy i like at apple is Woz. i really hate this company.

5. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Companies are not persons. And all of them are doing it for the money. It's just that someone who is loser in the game always seems to be "not interested for the money, just for the love of tech and users". Time to wake up, guys.

7. Pings

Posts: 304; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

"Companies are not persons" I though they are now. Aren't they, don't they have rights now too?

8. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Capitalism is a system that supports companies and other infrastructural institutions that play the role of a machine, and therefore a human person is not relevant, only a system resource just like trees and oil. However it's still fact that companies are not persons, so we cannot treat them as "evil" or "good". Their choice of politics is not choice of one person nor it is reducable to sum of all persons involved, although media and mass perception always tend to project human behaviour to something non-human. For instance, Samsung is a mega-corporation that is run by greedy rich family deeply structured as mafia, however this is not how Samsung is presented. Rather we think that Samsung is a good guy that develops technology for us so we can have ever more pleasant lives. On the other side, Apple is a greedy monster that only want to punish others. This antropomorphization process we must abandon in our minds, and realize it's all about the Machine.

15. Jonathan41

Posts: 532; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Corporations have a lobbied there way to have the same rights of people. That's fine understand that companies do things for money but, there should be standards. I believe that Apple crosses those standards therefore, I dislike them. Misleading and taking advantage of people and the system for your own gain is always wrong no matter what but, it also happens to be a great way to make money. By nature Corporations may make unethical decisions to make money but, that does not mean that I have like them and think "Oh, it's fine because, they're just doing it for the money". I'm awake, are you?

4. Aeires unregistered

Could have been a huge device, but not priced at $1000 each (at that time even).

6. ilia1986 unregistered

We should be thankful Apple didn't patent the processor back then..

9. thelegend6657 unregistered

Stephen Elop will be the next this guy .Failure

11. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

No no no no..... According to Apple, iPhone, iPad fanboys...if it doesnt count or didnt matter. The Newton was a flop. I never really hear this come up in debates...and I'm surprised it doesnt. It would strengthen their arguments about Apple being the first at things. it was mentioned....Apple wasnt the first to do this. And after Palm jumped in the ring....the PDA market took off. I will give Apple credit for doing the Newton tho.

13. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

it might be a great device..

14. CheerfulCharlie

Posts: 13; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

I fully agree that it was the beginning of the Apple legacy. The iPhone 5 is Just As Good, in Every Way.

16. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I dont see the usual suspects in this type of article....probably because the only thing they know about Apple is the iPhone, iPad and iPod. Whats funny is certain folks like to talk about how popular and how many ppl bought/buys iDevices and how we need to thank Apple for smartphones today. The Newton was a huuuuuuge flop. Palm came along and did what Apple couldnt. So who do we really give credit to? IMO if the Newton was done before anything from Palm, I say lets give Apple credit , even tho it was a huuuuge flop. Sometimes, it doesnt have to sell well, or be popular to have an impact, get credit. I say this for the folks that try to downplay, dismiss the LG Prada.

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