A lot of tech pundits call the Apple Newton a flop. Even "The Simpsons" poked fun at this pen-enabled gadget's inaccurate Calligrapher handwriting recognition. But this 0.9-lb. personal digital assistant paved the way for PDAs like the Palm Pilot. The original $700 Apple MessagePad 100 featured a 20-MHz ARM 610 RISC processor, 40 MB of ROM and a 336 x 240-pixel pressure-sensitive display for use with the included stylus. Bundled apps included Notes, Names, Dates, as well as a calculator and currency converter.
By 1998, the Newton simply didn't have enough legs to stay competitive in the market, but the effort wasn't for naught. The company that created the OS for the original iPod was founded by two ex-Apple Newton developers.