Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Aug 2013 17:55 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

In product lore, high profile gadgets that get killed are often more interesting than the ones that succeed. The Kin, the HP TouchPad, and the Edsel are all case studies in failure - albeit for different reasons. Yet in the history of those killings, nothing compared to the Apple Newton MessagePad. The Newton wasn't just killed, it was violently murdered, dragged into a closet by its hair and kicked to death in its youth by one of technology’s great men. And yet it was a remarkable device, one whose influence is still with us today. The Ur tablet. The first computer designed to free us utterly from the desktop.

'First' is debatable, but this was definitely an interesting product. It was far too complex though, and the simpler, more focussed Palm Pilot then showed the market how mobile computing ought to work - something Apple took to heart a decade later with the iPhone.

Permalink for comment 569014
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[5]: Comment by tupp
by tupp on Wed 7th Aug 2013 08:30 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by tupp"
Member since:

Thank you for your response.

Unfortunately, you didn't give a nice and orderly list of Apple inventions, but I have condensed your Apple invention points into a list below. Please correct any listings that are inaccurate.


1. Self-repairing windows;
2, Pull down menus;
3. Drag-and-drop file manipulation;
4. Drag-and-drop system extension and configuration;
5. Direct manipulation editing of document, disk, and application names (renaming files directly?);
6. Control panels;
7. Regions in your GUI (which is somehow related to self-repairing windows?)
8. Resources and dual-fork files for storing layout and international information apart from code;
9. Definition procedures;
10. Types and creators for files;
11. Redundant typed data for the clipboard;
12. Multiple views of the file system;
13. Desk accessories;
14. The imaging and windowing models based on QuickDraw and the clipboard.

I do not understand the inventions claimed in items #7 through #14. Honestly, those items sound obvious and/or inconsequential, but you will have to further explain those items (#7 through #14) if we are assess them. Please do so in an orderly and succinct manner.

Please also explain the qualifiers to drag-and-drop in items #3 and #4.

As soon as we are clear on what is claimed to be invented by Apple, then we can proceed.

But ultimately isn't the very premise that this discussion is based upon actually very puerile?

Perhaps the premise of this discussion seems puerile to one whose arguments don't stand up to such scrutiny.

It is best for all here and for future discussions to determine once and for all what Apple has actually contributed to the computer and electronics world.

In what other area of human technical and productive activity does such silly discourse take place? Looking at the evolution of car design and production, or metallurgy, it is taken as obvious that on the one hand all important steps forward in technology flow from and are based on what came before, and on the other hand that certain moments are critical in shaping the unfolding of technological and industrial development.

Sounds like a dismissive defense from someone whose belief system is close to being proven wrong.

Rather than using words like 'invention', a word that invites pedantry and the obsessive search for the proof or disproof of any claim of innovation, I think it is better to use metaphors drawn from the study of ecological systems, evolution and natural selection.

I disagree. Most of this stuff is essentially "cut and dry." There is tangible, non-Apple prior art for most of the things that fanboys believe Apple invented.

We are trying to determine what actually originated at Apple.

If one looks at say, the history of the PC and of it's GUI interface, then one can see several great mutational events, each of which connect to each other, the work of Douglas Engelbart, the work at Xerox on Smalltak, the work at Apple on the Lisa and the Macintosh, Microsoft's work on Windows 95, were all critical in creating the world of modern personal computing, each contributed significantly to shaping the modern personal, computer, each took from what came before, added to to it and was in turn the foundation upon which what came after was built.

I think that what we really need to do is to just cut the BS. In many cases, we can pinpoint "who invented what." Most Apple fanboys don't realize that almost all of the the GUI that we use today was already invented, developed and in customer's hands, before the Apple Lisa even appeared. Furthermore, significant GUI innovation prior to the Apple Lisa came from players other than Xerox.

A big problem with Apple fanboys relating to GUI history is that they never seem to remember these non-Xerox, pre-Lisa GUI players. In addition, fanboys ignore all of the GUI features included in the Xerox Star, which appeared one year before the Apple Lisa. Another thing about Apple fanboys is that they tend to take everything written in to be the gospel truth, even with all the contradictions, egos, and obvious lack of knowledege on the part of Apple employees regarding the internal development in the other GUI companies.

I know there are those who, for whatever reasons. love to argue that Apple invents nothing (that pernicious word again), that all Apple does is copy or adapt, etc, etc.

No doubt, the word "invent" is becoming more and more pernicious to Apple Fanboys, as the reality distortion field fades.

But it is quite clear that Apple has been associated with a number of mutational events in the history of personal computing technology: the work on the Mac which made coherent a modern GUI and got it into a system that individuals, rather than corporations, could aspire to own and operate

That's BS. The GUI computer was invented and usable by novices ten years before the first Apple GUI appeared.

the iPod and iTunes which completely changed the music industry

Again, BS. Apple did not originate any of those items. There were lots of MP3 players (including some with large HDs) prior to the Ipod. Furthermore, there was definitive prior art to the Ipod's enclosure design.

In regards to Itunes, there were already desktop MP3 players that could download music, and there were repositories for such players, such as Napster.

the iPhone which completely changed the smart phone market

Again, Apple didn't invent the touch phone and there is definitive prior art to the Iphone's enclosure design.

and the iPad which completely changed the tablet market and as a consequence is transforming the PC market.

Once more, Apple did not invent the finger touch tablet, and there is definitive prior art to the Ipad's enclosure design.

It is also clear that when Apple is functioning well and at it's best, which it didn't for quite long periods in it's history, Apple can be the source of significant mutational events. Maybe it will never do that again, but even so it's track record, by the standards of it's peers, is pretty good.

Apple is very good at selling products. Apple is not good at inventing nor actually originating.

Reply Parent Score: 3