About “the Apple”-6. Newton, part 3: Russian track and internal threat

Newton was saved by a miracle. Handwriting recognition, which did not work in any way, despite all the efforts of the best programmers of the team, put the existence of the project in question. And then there was almost a story of espionage… It is so incredible that I believed her. Then there was another miracle…

Paragraph. Russian trace

In 1989, one of the Vice presidents of Apple, al Eisenstat, was in Moscow on business for the company. Late one night at his door nervously and knocked on the not-so-good English asked to open quickly, before anyone noticed.

Al opened the door, and a youngish man handed him the package with the CD he asked me to convey to the developers.

Without introducing themselves, the mysterious guest disappeared.

Al had brought a CD in Cupertino and gave it to Gassho. The drive was amazingly accurate and high-quality algorithms to recognize handwritten texts. Nor anthrax, nor any nerve of toxic substances in the package was not.

So Apple met with Stepan Pachikov, talented programmer, and later founded the company “Paragraph”. He now lives in the United States, as far as I know.

Even “very good” algorithm for handwriting recognition in the Newton was the first imperfect, and his mistakes, which entered the annals of world humor, undermined the reputation of the platform. In NewtonOS 2 recognition worked almost perfectly, but it was too late. Opinion is formed.

Internal threat

In the late 80s, worked almost without fail methods of Jean Louis Gasse has ceased to operate. The essence of the method is simple: Apple sold their products about 30% more expensive than I could afford, with the money paid for the development of fantastic miracles. In the industry there are new players, young company, vigorously otvoevyvaya a place under the sun – Dell, Compaq, Gateway and others.

Jean Louis Gasse left Apple and founded Be Inc. A in Be he took Steve Sakoman. Team Newton lost its leader and support at the top of the company, and the results of three years of development seemed, at first glance, disappointingly: several working models of the device (life-size), examples of working code, including a completely unique and exciting, NewtonScript, Dylan…

That is, from the point of view of the average Manager, nothing. Dust. Newton was doomed.

And within the Advanced Technology Group, in the birthplace of Jean Louis originated a similar project, PocketCrystal, which has developed energetically and purposefully. The project was supervised by Marc Porat, there were stars of the first magnitude of the first developers of the Mac, Andy Hertzfeld and bill Atkinson.

The project combines two “subproject”: hajvery (PocketCrystal) and software (Paradigm), but the detail, not to introduce managers to a screeching halt, decided to omit.

Bill Atkinson, without a drop of exaggeration, can be called sverhtverdoy: Apple bill came in 1978, becoming the thirty-something employee of the company. What he designed and implemented QuickDraw, the graphics library to the Mac. And yet – HyperCard, MacPaint and much more.

John Scully asked Larry Teszler to figure out if there’s anything in the work of the Newton project, which would be useful in PocketCrystal. Larry Tesler, like Alan Kay, too, wore the official title of Apple’s Mate and was also originally from Xerox PARC.

The doomed team was preparing for a desperate last fight for a place under the sun. It seemed to them that they have a chance.

Steve Sakoman left developed a HyperCard simulation of NewtonOS, the current layout. The simulation brought to the highest possible Shine. Newton Intelligence, the utility that recognizes the intent and mood of the user, added in the simulation in “live view” through a code resource of type XFCN (something like plugin).

Mike TCHAO made up a marketing plan for the withdrawal of Newton on the market.

  • D-day: Newton Senior (ex Figaro), the size of a sheet of A4 paper, price $ 5,000;
  • D-day + 1 year: two models Newton Middle, the size is 15 by 23 cm, price $ 2000;
  • D-day + 2 or 3 years: Newton Junior size 11 by 18 inches, price $ 500, which was supposed to “break” the prepared senior colleagues market.

In 2009, TCHAO returned to Apple, creating a powerful wave of rumors about the imminent resurrection of the project company Newton. In our days one of the leaders of the group iPad.

Visit Larry Teszler began with “Well, what you have, show”, pronounced tone without a drop of warmth and interest. Soon he turned into the kid who was presented with a birthday iPhone or iPad: imitation NewtonOS was great. It was not the way the real Newton MP, the texts entered from the keyboard…

To say that Larry Tesler was amazed is to say nothing. He canceled and rescheduled for other days all the meetings and things, planned them for the rest of the day. He left Newton in the late evening. Can you imagine, as was his report, Scully, after which everything dramatically changed.

Scully fell in love (this quote, from an eyewitness of the events) in Newton and vowed to bring it to its logical end. To pocket the crystal (PocketCrystal) he lost interest, and soon the project was closed. Marc Porat, bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld left Apple Computer and founded a company General Magic, which lasted 12 years, from 1990 to 2002. According to Forbes, General Magic is the greatest dead company “in the dustbin of history”.

To be continued

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