While at the South Florida Technology Alliance recently, former Apple CEO John Scully – who famously had Steve Jobs booted from Apple – explained how the Newton MessagePad and the ARM Processor came to be. Recall that the Newton MessagePad back in the day sported the first series of ARM 610 RISC processors. Also fun factoid, the processor was developed jointly between Apple, Acorn Computers and VLSI.
“No microprocessor existed that would allow you to do graphics-based software,” says Sculley, talking about the origins of the ARM project. Larry Tessler was the one who came up with the plan for Apple to design its own microprocessor, something that it is still doing today with the iPhone 5′s custom-designed A6 processor with manually laid out cores.
The Newton, beloved by many, was also the source of some laughs at Apple’s expense when it first came out due to its less than stellar handwrigint recognition. To that end, Sculley explained that the device was never developed with the intention of having handwriting recognition being a huge feature.
“Handwriting was never intended to be a very important aspect of it,” explained. “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.”