In his final column for The Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg has given us a gem. The man has reviewed a lot of personal tech products in his 22 years at the paper, so what better way to go out than to list the top 12 “most influential” ones? Mossberg gives the top spot to Apple’s Newton MessagePad, from way back in 1993 [See update below]:
This hand-held computer from Apple was a failure, even a joke, mainly because the company promised it could flawlessly recognize handwriting. It didn’t. But it had one feature that foreshadowed some of today’s most cutting-edge technology: An early form of artificial intelligence. You could scrawl ‘lunch with Linda Jones on Thursday’ and it would create a calendar entry for the right time with the right person.
Other products making Mossberg’s list include the iPod, Windows 95 (yes, seriously!), Google search and Twitter.
Below is Mossberg’s final sign off, which is — of course — all class.
As I sign off from this column, I want to thank The Wall Street Journal for giving me the freedom to write these reviews all these years. And I especially owe great thanks to the readers who have followed my work. I am not retiring — I will still be doing reviews on a new online site. And the Journal will continue to offer tech reviews, penned by talented successors, which will continue to guide readers as consumer technology evolves.
Update (5:11 pm):
As a reader astutely pointed out, we misread Mossberg’s piece. The list is in chronological order, not “most influential to least influential.”