Friday, September 15, 2006

Newton's WHAT recognition?

Businessweek has a nice slideshow discussing the design work of Apple's Jonathan Ives. Click ahead to the third page to see this:
Apple Newton MessagePad 110, 1994

The Newton software became known for being far ahead of its time - and for disastrously mediocre voice-recognition software. But Ive won big points for the hardware design - and with his colleagues for his work ethic and refusal to compromise. He spent weeks in Taiwan with manufacturers and labored endlessly to match the hardware capabilities to the underlying software. As he was trying to master the 3D CAD tool used to create the blueprint, "he didn't sleep for like two weeks," recalls a colleague. "He had just insane attention to detail."

That's nice, but...wait a minute...voice recognition? You're slamming the Newton for mediocre voice recognition?

1994 didn't seem quite so long ago until I read that.

Me, I worked on a team that did handwriting recognition.

And BTW, that's not a 110. That picture shows an original MessagePad, later renamed the MessagePad 100. (the 110 was longer to accommodate a bigger battery area. It had a screen-protecting cover and used a telescoping metal stylus rather than the cheesy flat plastic one.)


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