Thirty years ago, on May 29, 1992, Apple announced its most groundbreaking and revolutionary product yet, the Newton MessagePad. It was released to great fanfare a year later, but as a product, it could only be described as a flop. Widely mocked in popular culture at the time, the Newton became a poster child for expensive but useless high-tech gadgets. Even though the device improved dramatically over time, it failed to gain market share, and it was discontinued in 1997. Yet while the Newton was a failure, it galvanized Apple engineers to create something better—and in some ways led to the creation of the iPad and the iPhone.
I have one of the earlier Newtons and it really isn’t a very good product, even in context. It tried to do a lot of groundbreaking things, but it suffered from feature creep and the hardware just not being ready. I’ve read later, more powerful Newton devices are a lot more pleasant to use, so I might snap one up.