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iPad: The Retro Version

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The blogosphere is abuzz with opinions on Apple’s new iPad. Opinions vary from devotion bordering on boy-band frenzy to the blind contempt usually reserved in geek culture for Joel Schumacher films and the idea that Greedo shot first. I’ll spare you my lengthy opinion. Suffice it to say, I love mine and I think the device is the next step in how we interact with media and communication with each other.

The initial ad for the iPad was another in a long line of hip Apple spots. If early numbers are to be believed, the iPad is a sales success and Apple is once again way ahead of the curve. But what people forget is how far ahead of the curve they really were on this. Like 18 years ahead.

I give you… The Newton, the world’s first PDA (a term coined by Apple CEO John Scully at CES in 1992.) And unlike the Apple projects of the last 10-15 years, the Newton was, by most measures, a miserable failure. Intended originally as a stand-alone computer, it eventually became a peripheral device that just couldn’t find an audience. Not that they didn’t try. Newton was originally marketed with a  series of 3 spots explaining “Who?” “What?” and “Where?” Newton was. While they don’t really measure up to the famous 1984 ad, they have a certain early 90’s nostalgic charm that makes me long for my college days.

Er, I mean, my grade school days.

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