Everybody loves Apple, right? Steve Jobs built Apple into one of the most innovative and recognizable brands on the planet. They are the reigning champions of product design and promotion. Everything they touch is gold, right? Well, not exactly…
In 1993, Apple debuted their personal digital assistant (PDA) and called it the “Apple Newton”. The Newton was ahead of its time, as former Apple CEO John Sculley actually had to coin the term “personal digital assistant”, and it never made the impact Apple had hoped for. The Newton faded away in 1998 (it lasted longer than last week’s entrant: Pepsi Blue) after mixed reviews.
Computerworld said that the Apple Newton may have suffered because of its high price point ($700). The device was bulky and found itself as a punch line for comedians, who believed the Newton’s handwriting recognition software was a joke. The Newton’s handwriting recognition also received ridicule in poplar comic strips Dilbert, Doonesbury, and on the TV show The Simpsons.
While the Newton didn’t make it past 1998, it can take some satisfaction in the fact that it opened the doors for the popular Palm Pilot of the 1990’s, Blackberry, and the modern-day iPhone.
So if the iPhone is so popular today, why didn’t Apple Newton find success? Was the market not ready for it? Was the device’s design and promotion lacking? Let us know in the comments below! (And tweet us at @FreakyFreshMktg!)