The Newton May Give Apple The Last Laugh

Your article covering Apple's Newton ("'My norse 15 critics,'" Top of the News, Sept. 27) strikes me as well-balanced, but I'd like to add a point that's easy to miss when looking at such new technology: A tool itself is neither praiseworthy nor laughable without first considering its specific purpose.

Should we have a laugh at those trying to use the Newton for jotting notes in the field? It looks a bit silly for now. If a tool simply doesn't work as intended, the fun-poking is deserved--and then some. But the laughter may not last.

Could a construction inspector use a Newton-presented inspection checklist to automatically generate a report and set of recommendations? Could police use it to write, print, and transmit tickets? Ouch! The laughter will start to fade if practical applications pay off, and the cost benefits are demonstrated.

Paul Selden

Dearborn, Mich.

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