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Apple released the Apple Newton MessagePad 2100 on November 7, 1997 and discontinued it about 4 months later upon Steve Jobs return to the helm. It had 8MB of RAM, a grayscale display, and could be used with a stylus. The Newton MessagePad was one of the first series of handheld systems, or PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) to attempt to recognize natural handwriting and use a basic form of artificial intelligence to ‘tie’ relevant information together. The only problem that Apple had was––people weren’t into them. Here’s what former Apple CEO John Sculley had to say about it:

Newton was probably 15 years too early. I’m not a technologist. I didn’t have the experience to make that judgment but we were I think right on many of the concepts. The product clearly failed in terms of taking on such an ambitious goal. I think in hindsight there is a lot of good legacy there with the Newton. Even if the product itself never survived the technology did.

Based on the success of the iPad, which came out in January 2010 and has sold millions world-wide, it looks like he might have been right.

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(Information courtesy EveryMac.com)