Sculley: Newton Laid the Groundwork for Today's Mobile Industry

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC, former Apple CEO John Sculley was asked about Jobs killing off the Newton, and what he thought of the product in retrospect. Sculley admitted that the Newton was "clearly too ambitious" but nailed "many of the concepts."

    Perhaps most importantly, Sculley points out that Apple had to develop a new type of microprocessor to power the Newton, co-founding a company called ARM Holdings. Processors based on those developed for the Newton now power most of the smartphones and tablets in the world.


    Sculley is clearly proud of the fact that even though the Newton failed, the technology behind it succeeded.

    In the interview, Sculley also discusses Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, which he says he hasn't read; his and Jobs' relationship; what he's up to these days, including a large investment in social health company Audax Health; and what he thinks of a possible Apple television.

    (Image courtesy Flickr/Ivan Bandura)

    Article Link: Sculley: Newton Laid the Groundwork for Today's Mobile Industry
  2. macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2006
    Had Sculley let Jobs push Apple towards a mainstream consumer market, instead of the business crowd he favored, only god knows what world we would be living in right now.

    Newton was great for its time (it even managed to read my horrible scribbles) but the state of the company was so dire that Apple had to renounce the project and worst still sell its huge shares of ARM. (imagine if Apple still possessed 47% of ARM for the iPod revolution and the subsequent iPhone one!)
  3. macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006

    I'm not sure how much of the Newton and its business plan was taken by Jobs, but the Newton was clearly a very advanced device. It just never had a chance because of the tech at the time. Similar to the Mac: it was an idea a decade or more before its time.

    Jobs' and Sculley's eras at Apple were both fantastic, but they lacked a more sensational approach to froth a consumer base the way Jobs did after he returned. Newton would have succeeded if it was as touted as the iPod was in 2001/2.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2007
    Sculley was a horrible choice by Steve and it nearly killed Apple but in the end it taught Apple and Steve an invaluable lesson. As for whatever Sculley has to say today, /yawn. He should've stuck with selling sugar water.
  5. macrumors 68030


    Dec 14, 2009
    I was confused after the first 12 words of what you said, then I got to the "but" and was relieved. And that's the whole point. A lot of what Steve did was terrible. He was riddled with fault and poor choices, but it's one of those patterns that wound up ending on a positive.

    Perfectly imperfect.
  6. macrumors regular


    Sep 6, 2011
    APPS give value

    If the Newton had apps like iPhone/iPad/iPod has apps it would have had a chance to survive. Any tech is too quickly seen as junk if nothing new is available to update it.
  7. macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Certainly: there are many stepping stones on the road to iOS (and other companies’ answers to iOS) and the Newton was a big one! It wasn’t the first tablet computer, but I believe it wad the first mainstream one, and certainly the first “good one.” Ahead of its time, and too much money for me, but it was neat.
  8. macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2011
    Scottsdale, AZ
    The Newton may very well have been ahead of its time and may be the forbear of iPhone and iPad but this is just a cheap ploy by Sculley to make himself look like not so big of a jerk. He is responsible for transforming Apple into an expensive toy company and nearly sinking it and I really don't want to hear anything he has to say.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2005
    Newton did have apps like the iPhone/iPad/iPod! Granted, the whole end-to-end ecosystem wasn't there, or the ease of getting everything from an App Store, but there was a burgeoning developer community that supported Newton as well as the other PDAs of the 90s. (I fondly remember the many long hours I spent struggling with NewtonScript at the time :D)

    In fact some of those Newton devs have grown-up into iOS devs...

  10. macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2011
    Android would be dead.
  11. macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    I think it would be no were close to where it is today. Part of the reason ARM is so great is the fact that everyone can use it. Remember Apple does not have share very well with others and would not of let ARM get out in the open for others to improve on it.
    In many ways Sculley saved Apple from Steve Jobs. If it was not for Sculley Apple would of died a long time again. Remember even Steve Jobs said if he was not fired from Apple he (Steve Jobs) would of caused it to go under. It forced Jobs to grow up and become better.

    Sculley in many ways saved Apple by firing Steve Jobs and forcing Jobs to grow up.
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Oct 31, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    I think Sculley is trying to take credit where credit isn't due.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Whatever helps you sleep at night, Sculley.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2007
    I viewed the Newton as too ahead for it's time. It was a proof of concept, though. That it could be done and could have the potential to work.
  15. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2010
    The Newton had a beautiful logo, I love it! The iPad doesn't have an emblem really; not that it needs one.

  16. macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    Think on this. Jobs wanted the Apple ][ line dead and immediately. He was fully prepared to kill it off and only wanted to focus on the Mac line. You know Jobs, out with the old and in with the new and damn the consequences.

    It was Sculley who paid attention to what was keeping Apple afloat (Apple ][ sales) and supprted that cash cow until it finally wasn't viable. By then, 5-6 years later the Mac line was finally bringing in the money. If Jobs would have stayed it's quite possible Apple would have died. Sculley kept things running quite well it was the other CEO's that nearly ruined them.

    I kow everyone wants to think Jobs was perfect but he failed at Apple, at NeXt, and at Pixar (selling hardware / software) - he got saved when their shorts and movies became huge hits. It wasnt until his return to Apple where he stuck lightning.

    Anyway Sculley get too much of a bad rap. He's not histories greatest monster.
  17. NutsNGum, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012

    macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2010
    re original article

    funny & interesting about fate

    steve "hired the wrong guy"

    he then reinvents himself at next

    then its the second coming of steve back ay aapl

    and now look at where aapl stands
  19. macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I loved my 2100, but it couldn't sync with anything reliably. Yes, I tried newtsync.
  20. macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011
    Cancelling Newton

    I sensed when Steve cancelled the Newton, or else it was expressed in circles, was that apple had a strategy, and it passed right through Newton.
    In essense, continuing with Newton would have made a shambles of their mobile computing strategy of getting 15 years ahead of the competition and making a mobile computing hardware strategy that no one could follow.
    They are at the cutting edge now, I think that with the patent lawsuit and what they have in the wings, the competition will always be behind the curve, and fall further and further back.
    If apple had tried to ride forward with the Newton, competition would have eaten their lunch every time.
    Instead apple has built a strategy and did not come out with it, which they would have had to if they had continued to innovate with the Newton.

    That's why they had to cut from the Newton. If they had Newtons law of what goes up has to come down would have been seen in spades.
    Now what apple puts up, keeps going up and up and up.
    That's what Steve wanted. For apple to never come out with something others will copy without having a strategy that puts them above whatever the competition does to copy them.
    I think we will all see this in spades more and more, with a family of devices and electronics interconnected in ways the competition cannot match, and always being way ahead of the competition as they innovate.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2010
    Newton was years ahead of it's time.

    I'll always treasure my Newton 2100.


    say what you like about Sculley, but he did lead Apple to spearhead the PDA/Tablet market.
  22. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Boy does this article take me back. I remember the Newton, it's now on my list of collectable Apple products to obtain. The ARM technology is the key here, but as posted above I suspect that had Apple been more organised, the Newton may well have continued and evolved.

    It's legacy is still here for us all to enjoy in other products.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011
    I think your right. It was a little like apples team on the macintosh before steve jobs discovered it.
    It showed that this was clearly the way apple should innovate and the quality of the newton was the 'apple way'.
    It was a bit of genius like the macintosh idea and team had and Steve knew it was the way to go.
    It only got cancelled because Apples strategy was to come out with things the competition could compete with in very short order and at a cheaper price, with quality close enough.
    The lack of that vision and foresight by Scully lead to products that were beginning to be inferior to the competition to meet them on price.
    Apple can't get by like that and Steve knew it.

    Feel good about that nothing the newton ever could have been will equal the pdas apple will produce now, thanks to waiting and setting it up right.
    Scully saw what the future was, but did not know how to successfully bring it about, Steve Jobs saw it to with Scullys input, but he knew how to pull it off.
    And apple will be forever and in spades.
    They will simply innovate, making the competition jealous and try to copy, and never let it out unless their is a strategy that makes the competition inferior regardless of what they try having several moves, to unlimited moves, of the chess board down
  24. macrumors 604

    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
  25. macrumors 68000


    Sep 13, 2011
    Newton was very interesting at the time, though it had significant challenges. I still have one, with every accessory made...

    Sculley was a cancer at Apple. He was a horrible CEO at that semiconductor company he ran as well...

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