Almost two decades after Apple shuttered its Newton MessagePad platform, a new video compares the device’s handwriting recognition to today’s touchscreen-based typing on the iPhone.
The fact that you had to plug your Newton into your Mac to manually transfer information makes it seem incredibly outdated. But the handwriting recognition, which was way ahead of its time in 1993, still impresses in terms of speed, as shown in the video below
The Newton was launched under Apple CEO John Sculley and dropped when Steve Jobs made his return to the company. Apple abandoned the Newton’s handwriting recognition and returned to more conventional typing methods for the iPhone.
In the YouTube video, Apple’s smartphone comes out only slightly ahead of the Newton in speed of transcription, but the iPhone user is sticking with the regular iOS keyboard rather than faster third-party options like Swype or Fleksy.
Still, it’s always fun to reminisce about old Apple technologies, and in particular to see how they stack up against the devices we use on a daily basis in 2014. It’s pretty neat to see an early stab at the kind of technology that would eventually lead to the iPhone 6.
(For anyone wanting to hunt down one of these devices on eBay, this is the Newton MessagePad 2000.)