Ex-Apple CEO Sculley: 'Newton Was Probably 15 Years Too Early'

So what goes through the mind of the former Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) CEO who championed the Newton handheld as he navigates the smartphone-and-tablet-dense CES 2012? The role the failed device played in making it all happen, by providing a reason to create a low-powered microprocessor, John Sculley told the BBC.

“Arm not only was the key technology behind the Newton, but it eventually became the key technology behind every mobile device in the world today including the iPhone and the iPad,” he said.

Sculley, at the show as an investor, talked with the BBC about the Newton, Steve Jobs and more. Some excerpts:

Newton was probably 15 years too early. I’m not a technologist. I didn’t have the experience to make that judgment but we were I think right on many of the concepts. The product clearly failed in terms of taking on such an ambitious goal. I think in hindsight there is a lot of good legacy there with the Newton. Even if the product itself never survived the technology did.

I think that Apple has revolutionised every other consumer industry, why not television? … The irony is that as the pictures get better and the choice of content gets broader, that the complexity of the experience of using the television gets more and more complicated. So it seems exactly the sort of problem that if anyone is going to change the experience of what the first principles are, it is going to be Apple.

The myth that I fired Steve wasn’t true and the myth that I destroyed Apple, that wasn’t true either. A lot of things happened after I left before Steve came back.