About “the Apple”-6. Newton, part 1: How it all began

John sculley came to Apple Computer in order to change the world. Had the impression that his idea was absolutely crazy and unreal. In full it still has not implemented it, but in light of the markedly accelerated the development of artificial intelligence systems and machine learning it does not look absolute fantastic. Although he claims that it wasn’t his idea… And not at all Intrusive.

Excellent in the jungle

In the words of Scully, he was not up ideas. Being by nature a student, once one of the epicenters of the unknown (being born in travail and pain of the personal computer industry), he diligently tried to understand where he brought a vicious curiosity and what to do with all this.

Asked questions surrounding. The head of the company usually meet. The answer is likely to discuss with friends and colleagues, blunt head, chuckling. In vain: it is better to ask a stupid question and experience five minutes of shame, than to remain in ignorance for life. It’s not my idea, where it came from in my head, I can’t remember, but I like it too much not to paste it into the text.

Once upon a time (1984 or 1985) he was invited to talk by Alan Kay, which soon became, in fact, mentor “the young head of the company”. Perhaps, Alan thought it my duty to help people trapped in such a difficult situation.

Alan is one of the key developers of the language and programming environment LOGO, author and one of the main developers of the Smalltalk language, the Creator of biological metaphors (he has a degree in molecular biology) object-oriented programming, the most used in our days, and many, many more.

Alan Kay reveals the essence of phenomena in the examples are built using the words and then draw pictures of imaginary devices and studied their behavior and reaction dynamics. I was not able to attend those interviews, but 15 years ago, I wrote about Alan Kay and Xerox PARC a series of articles and have learned a lot about his methods.

Most likely, one of the imaginary devices were that many then called an obsession of John sculley and later evolved into the Newton MessagePad. In any case, this version only.

At about this time, in 1984, Psion Plc Psion Organiser was released, the direct ancestor Psion Organiser II (1986), a device which was subsequently recognized as the world’s first PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).

Knowledge Navigator

In 1986, easing the suffering of the Mac devices of the pioneers with the release of the Macintosh Plus, Scully ordered a professional Studio (very expensive) two video with professional actors where the main role played an imaginary device Knowledge Navigator.

In one of the clips a handsome Professor preparing for a lecture. He does it on something resembling a very large iPad (size A4) only incredibly intelligent, even by today’s standards.

The lecture is the text. Professor typing without any keyboard. Writes it as a piece of paper.

Smart great iPad wise and almost instantly responds to the meaning of the input text. Adds illustrations (from a network or from my own memory), builds schema and model. Self. Professor intervenes sometimes, something corrects, but most often there is a complete understanding.

The question that the exact answer I have, but is an educated guess: how it introduced the text of the lecture Professor? With your finger or stylus? Most likely, the latter, in the mid-eighties, I think, among the good-looking professors was not customary to write with your finger on the glass.

In another video, Knowledge Navigator, the customer and the architect discuss in real-time. Immediately make changes and immediately on all sides looking at them, moving around the interior and around the exterior. And like Navigator immediately recalculates the design and alerts you if a change is unacceptable. House source of danger!

By the way, in addition to an MBA, Scully diploma of architect.

This was the first step to bringing the idea to life. And then he paused. The event began without him.


So, Scully was kind of suffering from “obsession”, but… didn’t do anything. He led the company, delving even in the little things, solving problems – that took almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and he turned out very well. To suffer he had no time. Perhaps he did not embrace that concept as something serious.

All happened by itself.

Back in 1984, when Hewlett Packard released the HP Portable, one of the first laptops in the world, jobs lured to Apple one of the key developers of this project, Steve Sakoman, who headed the project “Apple” laptop, about which virtually nothing is known. Almost certainly it was something insanely great, but soon after jobs resigned, and the project was closed.

Sakoman considered the keyboard a barrier in communication between man and computer. Ideal, in his opinion, would be the handwriting. He had thought out the idea of the handheld computer, getting rid of the keyboard and many other “flaws” then computers. He’s already found an investor and going finished the assigned tasks, to start a new adventure.

But fate intervened: Salman invited Gassho to lead the new company. He agreed, but then changed his mind and went to Scully about everything that has told. Here de we have such a talented guy who wants to leave the company and develop a computer that fit in the palm. What if…

And asked permission to organize this project in the Apple.

Scully allowed. Sent to the development team of “computer in your hand” Steve Cepsa, one of the developers of the Macintosh, allocated to the new unit was empty at the time the building on Budd Street, the same one where you’ve created your Mac.

The project called Newton. The first (and boring, in my opinion), the Apple logo, that Apple Computer Company was used in 1976, depicts three characters: Apple, Apple and the Newton. Apple already in the case, Apple (apple tree) – a bit wordy, but old Isaac… a High level of decision-making!

By the way, Steve Sakoman was not a programmer, and the complexity of implementing the most important features of your project outside of an Apple (I mean the recognition of handwritten texts), he just had no idea. I think he was lucky to lead a similar project at Apple.

To be continued

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