Former Apple CEO John Sculley recently attended a South Florida Technology Alliance event to discuss Apple and the genesis of tablet computing, specifically: the Newton MessagePad and ARM Processor.
The MessagePad is the first series of ARM 610 RISC processor-based mobile devices developed by Apple for the Newton OS platform in 1993. Since then, it has become the dominant platform for mobile computing.
“Handwriting was never intended to be a very important aspect of it. [...] It was really much more about the fact that you could hold this thing in your hand and it would do a lot of the graphics that you would see on the Macintosh,” explained Sculley at SFTA.
The tablet-like digital assistant spurred a flurry of models with various ARM processor. The series is generally remembered as a market flop now, of course, but Apple’s ARM initiative essentially paved the way for greatness. As The Next Web first noted, the iPhone today uses a by-product of the Newton MessagePad’s specifically designed ARM core.
“No microprocessor existed that would allow you to do mobile graphics-based software,” Sculley revealed, while discussing the birth of ARM.