Twenty years ago, I was deep in pursuit of my undergraduate degree, and as much as I loved technology, my budget for technology was $0, so I didn’t spend much time thinking about technology except for what I perceived to be of immediate use to me. I wasn’t a Mac user at that time, either, so I don’t recall having any awareness of the Newton at the time. (That doesn’t mean I wasn’t aware, but I certainly don’t recall any awareness.) This piece from Cult of Mac gives a nice snapshot of the Newton’s brief life and unceremonious demise.
Although the Newton spinoff company released one new product (late 1997’s Newton MessagePad 2100), this turned out to be the end of the line. With Steve Jobs back running Apple and Gil Amelio out the door, Jobs announced that work was being discontinued on the Newton in early 1998.
“This decision is consistent with our strategy to focus all our software development resources on extending the Macintosh operating system,” he said at the time. “To realize our ambitious plans we must focus all of our efforts in one direction.”
And the article makes the notable connection between the Newton and its eventual successor, the iPhone.