Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Second Post-Apple Newton Life?

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the newton-beyond-thunderdome dept.

Handhelds 168

An anonymous reader with a lot of time on his hands writes "As seen on Slashdot b e f o r e, the Newton refuses to die. Since Apple discontinued it, it got ATA, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zeroconf and even a NES emulator. Now, several Mac news sites r e p o r t, Newton users founded an association with John Sculley, who pushed the Newton at Apple, as its honorary president. They're organizing a conference in Paris in September. How long until all these users switch to new hardware?"

cancel ×

168 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

fp? (0, Offtopic)

Neotrantor (597070) | about 10 years ago | (#9795680)

woot

Inertia (4, Funny)

john_smith_45678 (607592) | about 10 years ago | (#9795687)

Sounds like Newton has an inertia of its own!

"An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force."

Re:Inertia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795919)

HAHAHA! newton! HAHAHA inertia!!! HAHAHA oh yuo are so hilarious, my friend.

Begone SlashTrolls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795692)

BSD never dies!

Why should they switch to new hardware? (3, Insightful)

lxt (724570) | about 10 years ago | (#9795694)

The Newton does the same job of my Palm Tungsten - and even surpasses it (my Tungsten E doesn't yet have WiFi support, and I can pick up a second hand Newton for quite a bit cheaper). Clearly though, this is a niche market. My Newton is too large for me to use regularly, but it's a great curiosity.

I think of the Newton like the NES - the games on the NES were great, and are still very popular (take the recent GameBoy Advance NES special edition). The NES formed the basis of many great consoles to come. But even though the NES is still a great machine (like the Newton), I probably would prefer to play on a PlayStation. Although, the flaw in this (rather basdly though out) analogy between the Newton and the NES would be one of them sold extremely well...

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795749)

The whole and entire point of being a hobbyist/fanatic is not to switch to new hardware. Heck, I still take pictures with a Yashicamat and a Leica IIIc- none of this newfangled electricty here no siree.

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (3, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | about 10 years ago | (#9795757)

I would switch mine because the touch screen randomly drops out sometimes mid stroke.

Last I checked this was a bug without a fix.

Also it is frikken huge. Not so big as to be terrible to carry in a sack or briefecase or something, but too big to carry in a pocket.

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (3, Interesting)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9796091)

I would switch mine because the touch screen randomly drops out sometimes mid stroke.

Never heard of that. Sounds like a hardware problem. I once saw a Newt with the Squiggles, something that some Newts get as they age... But the touch screen problem you describe certainly isn't some bug endemic to the Newton. I'm sure it was annoying enough to warrant either buying another Newt or switching, tho.

Fit in my pocket. I'm not saying it wasn't big, but I'd slip it into my back pocket. No problem walking around, etc. It beat having to take a laptop around, that's fer darn sure.

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | about 10 years ago | (#9795760)

Your Newton can also function as a web server among many other things, but the important thing to remember about the Newton is that this was all possible over ten years ago when the Newton was introduced in 1993 making a return on investment for a Newton quite impressive.

This also brings up another issue......Since Apple has left the PDA market, how much innovation has occurred? Color screens perhaps, but what else?

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | about 10 years ago | (#9795936)

400 MHz cpu's
more portability
much longer battery life
wifi, bluetooth (built in)
ability to play hours of video/music
web browsing, etc....

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (4, Insightful)

cioxx (456323) | about 10 years ago | (#9796000)

400 MHz cpu's
more portability
much longer battery life
wifi, bluetooth (built in)
ability to play hours of video/music
web browsing, etc....

This is natural progression, not innovation. I think you're confusing theese two things.

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (1)

crackshoe (751995) | about 10 years ago | (#9796016)

I don't consider those to be innovatoins. Continued improvements in miniaturization and reduced power consumption lead to most of those advances, and the web itself taking off the last. None, however, are particularly innovative - its whats happened across the entire industry.

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (5, Interesting)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9796057)

Yeah, you can get a faster CPU in something newer.

But battery life? Nope. Newton outlasts almost all PocketPCs and newer Palm OS models. Sure, a Palm III running on a couple AAs will still outlast a Newton MP2100, but the Newton will outlast my Clie NX70V or Dell Axim any day of the week.

More portable? That depends on what you mean. Yes, a PalmOne Tungsten E is smaller, but the Newton is more useful. The Newton replaced a laptop for me, which in the end gives you a lot more portability per unit volume than almost anything else.

Wifi and bluetooth- built-in. Well, I suppose you could always use the "built-in" argument. You can get wifi and BT cards for the Newton, though.

And you can play hours of music- though not video so much. I used to use a 2 GB PCMCIA hard drive- same kind as in the iPod- in my Newton with the ATA driver. Worked like a charm. Even synced with iTunes over ethernet. Unless you have a PCMCIA slot, using a PDA as an mp3 player kind of sucks. Unless you want to spend a month's pay on a couple GB CF or SD cards. My Jornada 720 had a PCMCIA slot too, but since I've used those, I've stopped using my PDA as an MP3 player. Too much hassle to put the two albums I can fit on it every morning, which translates into me not doing it. And having the same The Cure and Atmosphere albums on my PDA all the damn time got old.

Who watches videos on their PDA? I suppose, on my Clie NX70V- which has an MPEG4 decoder chip- I tried watching Kill Bill, conveniently downloaded in Clie-ready format. But it blew. Same with on my Sigmarion 3, which has a nicer 5" 800x480 screen. Still blew. Who wants to watch a movie on a tiny screen? Hell, I don't bother watching movies on my iBook screen, let alone a wee PDA screen. Maybe if you were some crazy teevee addict, maybe then it'd be worth it.

Web browsing? I'd been browsing the web on my Newton via ethernet, and then wifi, before it occured to anyone to give a Palm III a big add-on modem cradle to fetch email.

Innovations, not evolutions (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 10 years ago | (#9796289)

I don't think any of those are innovations either - the Newton already supported networking before, which browsing/wifi are just extensions of.

It did as others noted have a fairly ong battery life, and has a decent CPU that's more powerful than some Palm models today.

I think the original poster s correct, there has been little evolution on the PDA space so far. About the closest I can think of is the expanding screen on the Tungsten T, or the combination cell-phone and PDA of the Treo (though even that I hate to call invation, as it does not take a visionary to stick a cell phone and PDA together).

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (5, Interesting)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9795786)

Another place the NES breaks down is that the NES is ancient, technology wise. The Newton isn't, at least not compared to most of today's PDAs. The Newton has a 162 MHz StrongARM, still quite capable compared to a lot of the Palm OS units and even quite a few of the PocketPC models. You can upgrade that to 220 MHz if you're that kind of person. And as you and the poster mentioned, new hardwares being supported all the time. Yes, the NES has some great games, but the Newton is more than a curiosity with a couple decent apps, at least for the people that use them.

I stopped using my Newton a year ago. It's a shame. I had some good reasons, but what it came down to is that it didn't support one app that I can run on PocketPC or Linux PDAs- Squeak Smalltalk. If it wasn't for that, I'd still be using the Newton right now. Heck, when I got a Linux Zaurus C760 I still used the Newton for "PDA" stuff, especially taking notes, something the Newton still beats Palm OS and Linux by far. PocketPC- with the built-in notes app- gets pretty close, but a tiny 320x240 screen doesn't cut it for me. Linux PDAs have the saddest excuses for notetaking software ever, which had me taking both the Newton and the Zaurus with me for the day.

The Newton 2100, being released in 1997, still does a lot. Before I jumped ship, it was my main computer at home- I IRC'd, email'd, telnet/ssh'd, VNC'd, browsed the web, programmed (in NewtonScript and LittleLisp)- all wirelessly using a standard Orinoco WaveLAN 802.11b card. Worked like a dream. If only we could get an updated Newton... *sigh*

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (3, Insightful)

MisterLawyer (770687) | about 10 years ago | (#9795823)

"Although, the flaw in this (rather basdly though out) analogy between the Newton and the NES would be one of them sold extremely well..."

Your comparison of the Newton to the Nintendo Entertainment System is insightful, but the greater flaw in your analogy is that Nintendo released later generations of the NES, i.e. the Super Nintendo, N64, and GameCube. You can play the GameCube instead of the Sony Playstation, but you can't use an iNewton2 instead of a Sony Clie.

Nintendo took the market share it had established with the original NES, and then channeled it into the Super Nintendo, another successful console. Even now, almost two decades since I first player Super Mario Brothers, I can play Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube.

Apple, on the other hand, has apparently squandered the lead it had with handhelds. Apple had (and amazingly, still has) an ardent user base for the Newton. Steve must realize this. Therefore, although Apple has a lot on its plate right now, I would not be surprised to see a resurrection of the Newton ("iNewton", "iPalm", etc), or for the iPod to evolve into a machine with handheld-like functionality.

Re:Why should they switch to new hardware? (2, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9796382)

I must say, your analysis of the Newton-as-NES analogy was superb. However, the greatest flaw in this analogy is not the lack of later generations. What is it, say you? The color, of course. The Newton is a very dark green and the NES is grey.

Ok, that was a joke.

But there was a progression of models with the Newton- from the OMP (original message pad) to the MP 2100, with the different form factor of the eMate tossed in there. The difference between NewtonOS 1.x and 2.x was greater than NES and SNES.

But I could sure go for a 2004 Apple iNewt 3100. *sigh*

I want an eMate II (3, Interesting)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 10 years ago | (#9796104)

The eMate is the coolest thing. Ever. But what's wrong with it is that the processor is too slow. And while it's true that there are projects making the newton OS work with wifi, bluetooth, etc., in practice, I can do very little with this stuff. I bought a wifi card that is supposed to be compatible but found out it doesn't work with 802.11b. I'm not sure what it works with, but it's useless to me since my network, like most people's, is 802.11. I got an ethernet card that is supposed to work. There are drivers. But the catch is the ethernet card is only good to use for AppleTalk, and I can't see the device under OS X. I got a Keyspan USB adapter to install programs and it works for five minutes then the computer (not the newton) crashes. This happens whether I use Escale, NewTen, or NewtSync. All of these may be problems stemming from my own impatience; I haven't spent more than a few sleepless nights trying to get this stuff to work. But in answer to your question about why new hardware, two reasons: 1 - faster processing. It would be so great to have this emate run as fast as a new palm. 2 - you don't need to give up your job and family and friends to spend time getting things to connect to modern systems that it really isn't intended to connect to. It's great for hackers but not for the rest of us. Finally, I want to add why I do want a new newton -- the OS is great, but what I really love is the form factor of the emate. The newton handhelds are cool too but as the parent points out, too large. But for someone like me who needs to write a lot and who likes a good keyboard, the eMate is the godfather of portables. It's light. It's plastic, and it takes a beating. Its keyboard has great response but is almost totally silent so you can sit in a lecture room and type notes without bugging your neighbors. It has a handle. Handles rule. Apple should put handles on everything. It has instant on -- no waiting for the damn thing to boot. And it's a chick magnet! Oh please Apple, or anyone, figure out how to put a modern processor in a case like this. I don't even need a color screen (prefer battery life!) or tons of disk space or mp3 player or camera or any of that stuff -- just give me portability, battery life, basic text editor applications, some internet stuff - web browser, minimalistic email program, and a telnet/ssh terminal program.

Re:I want an eMate II (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9796308)

I concur, but thought i would suggest the Dana...
http://www.alphasmart.com/products/dana_o verview.h tml

not as pretty, not as portable (doesn't fold), not that modern... oh never mind...
how about a treo 600, or even a treo 90? maybe a v100...
who am I kidding... Steve! Where's OUR PDA?! Hell, I don't even need a full keyboard... this would do just fine...
http://www.frogpad.com/
whether built in like an emate or maybe with bluetooth.
In response to the ones who want wireless built in... Not such a great idea... I'd much prefer being able to remove a card as the standards get ironed out.

Re:I want an eMate II (2, Informative)

silentbozo (542534) | about 10 years ago | (#9796697)

Big problem with the Dana (I have one) is that the default package doesn't include a screen cover or a case - those come extra, and you'll WANT a case to keep the dust out. However, on the plus side, the keyboard is good, the screen is very legible (think 1st generation b&w screens, like the Pilot 5000), it has TWO SD slots, USB ports (limited use though), IR, and the newest models have built-in wifi.

Oh, and for something that looks like a variant of 1996 technology, be prepared to pay upwards of $300 for one. There's no included backup application (like my Clie has), meaning you have to manually copy files to your memory cards, or get a 3rd party backup application (HotSyncing requires a computer, a problem when you're on the road...) Makes a dandy word processor though (the included word processing program is quite decent), I only have to plug it into the charger once every couple of days, even when using it for hours. And it is tough - reminds me of the eMate, only smaller and thinner...

Re:I want an eMate II (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 10 years ago | (#9796796)

Thanks for the link - that Dana looks pretty cool. Close to what I'd like, but not quite. The website says it's easy to carry under your arm. That's what a handle should be for! And of course anything with a keyboard should fold or otherwise protect the keyboard from the other crap bouncing around in my backpack. And the screen should be bigger -- 3 or 4 lines of text is not enough to see. If it was $100 I would get one anyway, but at $400 you can get a new palm with color screen, camera, etc.... Not that I want those things, but the point of excluding them is to keep the price low.

An Intervention? (3, Funny)

fidget42 (538823) | about 10 years ago | (#9795699)

I liked the article [crazyapplerumors.com] that Crazy Apple Rumors had on it.

Re:An Intervention? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795836)

Hey I know this is off topic..

http://www.arbr11.dsl.pipex.com/ [pipex.com]

But hey, stop this arsehole from making any money.. make him PAY like the rest of us (or atleast buy some beer)

NOBODY.... (1)

zogger (617870) | about 10 years ago | (#9795700)

... can complain about lack 0 links on this article!

Ya, I don't get it either, like why don't apple release the iNewton2 or something....

If I ever run across one in a junk shop I'm gonna get one,I'm sitting on a stack of new newton ram and some modems I got for free once. But no newton....

Re:NOBODY.... (1)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9795797)

ebay.

I've seen MP 2000s and 2100s for as little as 40-50...

Re:NOBODY.... (1)

zogger (617870) | about 10 years ago | (#9796074)

I know they are on ebay, that's why I said junk shop, as in see it, walk away with it for two dollars or something. I get a lot of my electronic doo dads that way, like my sony watchman TV, 7$ IIRC.

Not Invented Here Syndrome (1)

wantedman (577548) | about 10 years ago | (#9795849)

Ya, I don't get it either, like why don't apple release the iNewton2 or something....

Not Invented Here syndrome. The Newton was a part of the old Apple.

Re:Not Invented Here Syndrome (1)

zogger (617870) | about 10 years ago | (#9796093)

Old Apple and New Apple aren't the same traded corporation?

Anyway, I sort of get it now with what Slack3r78 mentioned about Jobs not wanting to compete in the cellphone/PDA market right now, as it shakes out. If they do most likely you would think they would just expand the functions of the iPod anyway.

Re:NOBODY.... (2, Informative)

Slack3r78 (596506) | about 10 years ago | (#9795965)

Because Apple believes that the PDA and cell phone markets will likely converge in the near future, and aren't really interested in competing in the cell phone market right now. Steve Jobs has said as much in numerous interviews.

Re:NOBODY.... (1)

zogger (617870) | about 10 years ago | (#9796053)

Ahhh! I agree then, have stated such before on slashdot, but I didn't know that was Job's reasoning. Smart guy. The cellphone guys will eventually overtake the PDAs out there, just economy of scale and loot involved, and the aggregation of apps is becoming apparent.

Jobs (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 10 years ago | (#9796145)

Jobs has a point, except: 1 - this was supposed to happen years ago; it still hasn't really happened yet, and 2 - can you think of a PDA/cell phone combo that wouldn't get its ass KICKED by just about anything Apple puts out, even on a bad day? PDA/cell phones are here, but barely; the best ones are over $600 and are mostly clunky solutions that try to do everything. The Treo is the coolest one I've seen, but I'd rather have one with fewer features and better interface. The little sidekick thing is a good idea in theory but in the real world it's lame. Personally I would love an emate with a headset connection. A cell phone doesn't have to be something you can hold up to your ear by stretching your neck and fucking up your spine. If anyone can see that, it's Steve Jobs. But, alas, he doesn't, or at least he hasn't yet....

Re:NOBODY.... (1)

joeykiller (119489) | about 10 years ago | (#9796173)

I believe Apple is right in that. The cell phone and the PDA market will converge. WIth the Microsoft Smartphones and phones like the Nokia 6600 one might argue that the two markets have converged already.

But I think Apple should add another belief to their list of worries: When will the cell phone market will overtake the MP3 player market?

In addition to getting PDA capabilities, cell phones have gotten digital photo abilities -- in short time it will be the most used platform for taking digital photos. Many cell phones now also comes with MP3 playback ability, although limited memory limits the fun a little bit right now.

But it's improving month by month. The cell phone seems to be a very adaptive unit; it adds non-telephony techology wells, and customers doesn't mind it doing so.

Apple wants to move forward (2, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | about 10 years ago | (#9796385)

They won't make a new Newton for the same reason why they won't make a new Apple // computer, they want to move on to other things.

They most likely think that the iPod has more priority than making a Newton, so R&D goes towards improving the iPod and not the Newton.

Besides the iPod can easily be turned into a PDA with the right software. Just no handwriting recognition like the Newton has.

What Apple should do is sell the Newton technology or license it to a third party interested in making Newtons. Then sit back and collect the royalties or whatever.

At one time Apple almost considered using a PalmOS device. Remember that is what the Newton would be competing against.

Re:Apple wants to move forward (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 10 years ago | (#9796959)

They won't make a new Newton for the same reason why they won't make a new Apple // computer, they want to move on to other things.

True, but not quite, IMHO. As far as I can tell Apple will only make something if it has a reasonable chance that it will trump the competition. Its just a waste of money doing something that only has a reasonable chance in hell of working. Outside of the current hardcore gang I wonder how many people would feel its hip enough to buy - nerdish unfortunately only sells to us on /. ;)

The iPod is about offering a tool that does its primary job very and everything is are perks that are nice to have but really aren't factors that sell the device. The GameBoy, a Nintendo product, takes the same approach, but for games. What is the primary job of a PDA, and how well do current solutions do the job?

This is off topic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795702)

So am going to post it anonymously. But there is this site that offers to give you a free iPod if you complete one off and sign up 5 other people who also complete an offer. www.freeipods.com [freeipods.com] . Is this a legitamite site or a blatant pyramid scheme? Not that while I did put my referer ID in the link and I'm not trying to trick anyone here, I honestly am curious.

Re:This is off topic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795832)

obvious pyramid scheme. If any thing requires you to pull other people in in order to get something, it is a pyramid scheme. You may not lose anything but it appears to me that this one's main function is to build an email list for spamming or other purposes.

The newton is still great (5, Interesting)

djhankb (254226) | about 10 years ago | (#9795706)

I have a 2000, and i personally love it's form factor, it has a nice large screen. I use it for about everything you would normally use a PDA for.. Calendaring, contacts, etc etc.
I also use it for things such as doing Serial consoles on headless linux servers. The large screen makes the serial term a bit easier to use.

Who needs a color screen anyway, when you have a nice big green one =P not to mention the twin 5v PCMCIA slots for uber-expandability.

Also a good portion of the newton software makers, have long since been giving away their former products, so the software is free as well.

Long Live the Newton!

-Henry

Something to consider? (5, Interesting)

RegalBegal (742288) | about 10 years ago | (#9795710)

Apple using their iPod popularity to move excitement to a handheld marketed to a younger generation.

I know it sounds confounded but think. They are blowing away the rest of the mp3 player competitors due to their marketing.

Now, I don't think Jobs would even consider something like that, actually he's laugh me out of whatever room I'm in if I mentioned it.

But if they can create such a buzz with the iPod couldn't they ride the buzz with a hip pocket organizer or even a program that syncs with the iPod combining all the third party news grab and weather grab apps into something that the iPod user could use to sync with other information.

Could they translate this underground buzz into something big? I think so.

iPods already have PDA-like functionality (2, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 10 years ago | (#9795945)

But if they can create such a buzz with the iPod couldn't they ride the buzz with a hip pocket organizer or even a program that syncs with the iPod combining all the third party news grab and weather grab apps into something that the iPod user could use to sync with other information.

iSync already synchronizes contacts and appointments to an iPod. Further, you can put text files into a root-level folder on the iPod called "Notes", and they appear under Extras->Notes(you can put notes on the root level menu if you want).

I believe there's also some sort of way to do rich-text documents, and rudimentary databases, but I'm not sure.

I do the text file bit all the time for driving directions- the only irritation is that the iPod jumps back to the whatever's-playing screen rather quickly. In fact, with the text-clipping functionality in OS X, I just drag the selected text to the iPod icon, it spring-boards open, then drop it on Notes. Done!

Re:iPods already have PDA-like functionality (1, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9796105)

Yeah, except for that little bummer about not being able to enter new text onto the iPod. Kind of limits its usefulness as a "PDA."

The "rudimentary database" support you speak of is having text files that a meaty hu-man organizes.

Re:iPods already have PDA-like functionality (3, Insightful)

zimba-tm (598761) | about 10 years ago | (#9796273)

What makes iPod famous, is also it's simplicity. So that's not really a good idea to add functionnalities :)

How Long? (3, Insightful)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | about 10 years ago | (#9795712)

Considering there are still people running Apple ][+ hardware (not just emulators), I don't think the Newton will die anytime soon.
  • High quality, over-designed hardware
  • A unique user experience
  • New third party development

Re:How Long? (3, Interesting)

Kevin Burtch (13372) | about 10 years ago | (#9796232)


At least with the Apple ][ line, Apple eventually released DOS 3.3 and ProDOS for free.

It'd be really nice if they ever released (and open-sourced) the Newton OS... you'd think with brass like Scully behind 'em, they'd be able to get this done. It has no value to Apple any more, so why not?

The only reason I can imagine for them hanging onto the OS is if they plan to release a new version of it (and the hardware), and I can't imagine them doing that after this amount of time out of the market.

Maybe Scully will talk Apple into allowing an offshoot company to produce a new one and see how it sells... should sell much better than before, considering how much of a "movement" is behind then with the iPods already... they've figured out the marketing hooks to use, so why not?

Anyone who's interested in this idea should send either Scully himself, or this new association recommending such. With enough "grassroots" effort, they might be convinced to go with it!

Re:How Long? (4, Interesting)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9796428)

Except, the Newton OS seems to have *some* value to Apple. There is InkWell in OS X, which is Newton handwriting recognition.

People have tried to convince Apple to open source the Newton OS. Apple has claimed that it cannot- be it for copyright/patent, value or personal reasons. Everyone knows Jobs hated the Newton. Some people seem to think he's set a no OSing of NOS policy because of this, though that sounds like a helluva grudge.

You can already get the NewtonOS, at least in the binary sense that you can ProDOS. There are utilities for doing a ROM dump. Feel free to reverse engineer it.

Upgrade to what? (3, Insightful)

onegoodpenguin (764612) | about 10 years ago | (#9795715)

Which new hardware, exactly, will they switch to? A close co-worker of mine refuses to lay his Newton to rest, asserting that there are no modern products that compare. This is a subjective opinion of his, of course, but it establishes the sentiments that the users of this ancient PDA seem to share.

Re:Upgrade to what? (2, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | about 10 years ago | (#9795777)

I'd be interested to see a hardcore Newton fan actually make a list of what it would take to get him to switch to something new.

Suppose the Oqo [oqo.com] ever emerges from vapor as something you could actually buy. Then put a Linux 2.6 kernel on it, and your choice of desktop (KDE or GNOME). In some ways this would be better than a Newton (faster processor, color screen). How would a Newton user like this? What essential Newton features are missing?

I understand that the Newton used a "data soup" more than explicit files. Is GNOME Storage [gnome.org] anything like this?

steveha

Re:Upgrade to what? (1)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9796131)

Storage is kind of like the Newton OODB, but Storage uses SQL, no? The Newton data store was an object database. I use something similar (an OODBMS called Magma) in Dynapad, my Newton replacement.

In addition, there is the Sony Vaio U series. See Dynamism [dynamism.com] , they import em. The OQO has been one helluva disapointment. If I get the job I'm waiting on, I may buy one of these Sony U-series to finally replace my Newton. I've had a lot of things I've tried to replace it with, but nothing has done an adequate job.

My list (4, Interesting)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 10 years ago | (#9796223)

I'd be interested to see a hardcore Newton fan actually make a list of what it would take to get him to switch to something new.

I will. I'm an emate fan as I noted in an earlier post. Here's what I want:

  • Form factor of the original. It's different for the handheld newtons but for the emate this means a usable keyboard that makes very little noise and a handle (and preferably indestructible green plastic around everything).
  • An option to get a greyscale screen. Color will be cool but I prefer battery life and it would be great if there was a much cheaper greyscale option.
  • A reasonably fast processor -- no need for 300+MHz they're putting in Axims and stuff, just something as fast as what's in last year's Palms.
  • Easy internet with wifi, as well as easy sync of key documents. My biggest complaint about my emate is I can't figure out how to turn the stuff I type into documents on my computer that I can edit easily. Or put textfiles from my computer onto my emate. I can do this with any new pda (I can even do it with my ipod).
  • Text editor. Something simple like the notepad included is fine, though preferably something with more modern capabilities. A NewtonOS equivalent of BBEdit would ROCK. (Yeah yeah so would emacs, I suppose).
  • A terminal emulater that at least does ssh connections.
  • A simple web browser.
  • An email program.
That's about it. I don't want a camera, mp3 player, or phone, but any of those things could be included as options. You don't need to design something I can hold with my neck -- just stick a headset jack on the machine. Personally I want it to look like the emate. That oqo is pretty cool looking but I bet the keypad is a bitch to type on. If you're just talking about handhelds, I'd ditch the keypad, or maybe just leave a number pad for dialing (assuming it's a cellphone) on one side of it, but otherwise just go for something like the Clie T55 form factor. Keep it simple. There's no need for a keypad nobody will use. If you want a usable keyboard, make a bigger device. Those are just my thoughts, I'm sure others will disagree....

Re:Upgrade to what? (1)

bwy (726112) | about 10 years ago | (#9795889)

Which new hardware, exactly, will they switch to?

Well, you could present the question this way: assume the Newton was re-introduced and now the Newton 2000 lines the shelves beside the latest and greatest Palm and Pocket PC devices. Assuming a similar price point, how many Newtons would sell? If the Palm and Pocket PC devices outsell the Newtons, why? Which item ends up being a viable alternative to the other?

Re:Upgrade to what? (1)

Sleet01 (122510) | about 10 years ago | (#9796661)

They should use what they are already developing on to make the iPod: PXA2XX-series X-Scale boards!

With support for PCMCIA, CF, and MMC/SD built in, plus AC'97, serial, and LCD controllers on_CHIP_, it's a no-brainer. Plus, the X-Scale is already used in several high-quality PDAs, including a Linux-based series (the Sharp Zaurii).

One quick way to test the idea would be to recompile XDarwin for the Zaurus SL-6000 [bargainpda.com] . Why?
1) Put a Mac-like OS on a PDA and you're halfway there.
2) Zaurus sports the largest array of expansion types (CF, SD/MMC, _and_ USB Host!), clearly a worthy successor to the Newton's dual PCMCIA slots.
3) With the only full-VGA Sharp LG Silicon screen available in the U.S., a large pop-out thumb-board, and a 1500mAh battery, the Zaurus is a beautiful monster, overpowered and meaty... like a hand-held Mac IIfx [apple-history.com] !
4) It's ridiculously expensive... and, c'mon, isn't that a prerequisite of Macintosh *anything*?

If you're too impatient to wait for Apple to bring the iNewton to market, and too broke to afford a Zaurus, you can probably hack together your own version using a Gumstix board [gumstix.com] . I figure this homebrew Newton could probably use the Linux 2.6 kernel, XDarwin, and a spare portable DVD screen, and go by the name of iOfNewt :)

Funny how... (5, Insightful)

moehoward (668736) | about 10 years ago | (#9795723)


Funny how the lousy 1 character links (Thanks Michael!!! not) are just 2 stories above a story about lousy UI design. Go figure.

What ever happened to letting us know where the links to go? For some reason, I have a feeling that single character links are not what Tim Berners-Lee had in mind for this thing.

Re:Funny how... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795940)

adding a lot of links is commonly used trick to get your story submission accepted. This one just pushes it to the extreme. Kinda typical that micheal fell for it, tho

Re:Funny how... (1)

rhyno46 (654622) | about 10 years ago | (#9796463)

What ever happened to letting us know where the links to go?

Most modern browsers (IE, Mozilla, and Firefox [ok, redundant])show the target in the status bar when you hover the mouse over a link.

Re:Funny how... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9796540)

You're absolutely right, I hate those story submissions with over 15 links in 4 lines or so. People really need to clearly indicate which link is the main one and which are nonsense.

Why do People Continue to Use the Newton? (3, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 10 years ago | (#9795724)

The Newton Community is a very interesting case of users continuing to support a product which for all intents and purposes should have died years ago. Is there a good reason, other than 'I hate everything that Microsoft does no matter what and nobody will ever change my mind', why these users would not be satisified with a shinny new TabletPC or Pocket PC? On the other hand why does Apple continue to shun these users when there is clearly a market for an new Apple handheld computing device? Strange that Apple would not wish to compete with Microsoft by offering their own version of the TabletPC. Perhaps some Newton users could comment on these issues.

Re:Why do People Continue to Use the Newton? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795773)

...continuing to support ... Is there a good reason, other than 'I hate everything that Microsoft does no matter what and nobody will ever change my mind

Um...Palm?

why does Apple continue to shun these users when there is clearly a market for an new Apple handheld computing device?

Economics

Re:Why do People Continue to Use the Newton? (5, Interesting)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9795884)

I recently switched from a Newton. The reason was important to me, but for most PDA users it wouldn't be.

But, why not switch to a PocketPC or TabletPC? My answers:

Every PocketPC out there now is too small. A crappy 320x240 screen. There is one model with a VGA screen (Toshiba e805), but the screen is physically still quite small. Crappy for taking notes.

Why not a tabletPC? TabletPCs are expensive as hell, but more importantly HUGE. People talk about the Newton being big- I can't imagine putting what is basically a smaller laptop into my pocket. Nothing with a 10"-14" screen will fit in my pocket or be worth toting around all the time.

The closest thing to replacing the Newton for me in what I did with the Newton is the Sigmarion III, which has a 5" 800x480 screen. It also has an attached keyboard, which is really great for somethings, but rules out using it as a tablet. Sure, it has a touch screen, but since it doesn't do the hide-the-keyboard convertible thing, it's always in the way. A pain. The Jornada 720 was similarily great- close, but no cigar.

We Newton users are used to having what we want. Not something that *almost* does what we need.

I still have not found *any* notetaking app that even touches the built-in Notes app in years of looking, for Palm OS, Linux or WinCE/PocketPC PDAs. Taking notes- recognized text mixed with sketches- was a dream on my Newton. On my Clie NX70V, Sigmarion 3 or Sharp Zaurus C760 it is a big hassle. Hell, on the Zaurus, taking my class notes is downright tourtous enough that I just went back to using my Newton for most things, with the one thing I couldn't do on my newton (Squeak Smalltalk) running on my Z.

A couple things that could replace the Newton for me:
The new, 5" 800x600 screen'd Sony Vaio, U series. Not technically a TabletPC, but close. No good notetaking app I've found yet for XP or Linux, but it'd be fun. But the Sony costs almost three times as much as the Newton 2100 did brand new, $2000. Yeah right. I'm not going to tote around a $2000 computer with me all the time. Not unless someone is willing to donate one to my worthy cause...

Similar to this would be the OQO, although vapor doesn't do me any good.

Or, the NEXiO S160. Has the same 800x480 screen as the Sigmarion 3, but with a slower 400 MHz PXA250 CPU. From what I've heard, people like it- but still, it costs $1300.

As far as form factor, the NEXiO is about the closest thing I've seen to a Newton 2100. But a lot of Newton users- many of which are Mac users- aren't going to jump to the NEXiO, a device with no Mac support. But then again, at least the NEXiO runs real WinCE.NET 4.1- not crappy ol' PocketPC. Like the Newton, a real WinCE device doesn't need to be sync'd or connect to a desktop machine to be useful or to install apps.

There's your answer- there are no good Newton replacements. The one that exists costs 4 times as much as a really good Newton setup does if purchased today- we're talking about the Newton 2100, with a keyboard, big memory card and wifi or ethernet.

Re:Why do People Continue to Use the Newton? (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 10 years ago | (#9796241)

I'm still trying to transition fully to my Fujitsu Stylistic (it has to replace my Newton MessagePad, and my NeXT Cube---it's a very serviceable replacement for my ThinkPad and Dock I).

The note-taking software is a deal-breaker (as is battery life---I've _got_ to track down an AC adapter for use in my car).

- Aha! InkWriter was absorbed into MS (and won't run on anything but Windows 3.1 for Pen Computing)
- Lexicus Longhand and a bunch of other apps are vanished
- IBM InkManager is interesting, but clunky UI-wise and uses its own HWR system

I've mostly been using FutureWave SmartSketch, but it's awkward (no ink as such, though it does do nice vector graphics, to get text as text I have to insert a WordPad object or switch from MS Pen Services to CIC Handwriter (but that works for less than 10 min. at a time, then turns itself off ::grr:: really do need to look into getting PenOffice)

I'm rather hopeful for Digitalnote, a Java app:

http://www.cs.utep.edu/nigel/digitalnote/

which I just came across --- still need to d/l it and try it out though.

William

Re:Why do People Continue to Use the Newton? (4, Insightful)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | about 10 years ago | (#9796192)

The Newton Community is a very interesting case of users continuing to support a product which for all intents and purposes should have died years ago.

Why, exactly, should Newton "have died years ago"? You buy a product to satsify a need. If the product satisfies that need, and continues to do so, why stop using it?

Most of us have literally bought into the notion that only the latest, greatest version of a product can possibly meet our needs. Along with that comes the idea that only a product that's actively supported by its manufacturer is suitable for use. We're "consumers" because we buy a thing and use it until it's all used up -- we "consume" it -- and then we go buy another thing. This is great for an industry whose financial health is based on "upgrades." If we didn't all go buy new computers every few years, the computer industry would be in much worse shape than it is. But it's not necessarily in our own best interests.

Newton is a case where a product designed well and implemented well served its purpose well, and continues to do so. The manufacturer no longer supports it, but that doesn't really make a difference to those for whom Newton currently works.

If Nokia suddenly went out of business, would you instantly run out and buy a new phone? If Palm went belly-up, would you trash your Tungsten and buy something else? And if you would, why?

Newton? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795727)

About all the Newton was ever good for was changing TV channels on ceiling-hanging aiport monitors and fast-forwarding classroom VHS players. Beyond that the damn thing was heavy, delicate, poorly interfaced with the desktop and internet, and completely inept at uhderstanging mg hahdwriting. I don't understand the continued obsession. I guess I should RTFA and find out. Na...

This is one thing apple did right (2, Insightful)

koan (80826) | about 10 years ago | (#9795730)

Some people may know me as the anti apple advocate however after using a newton (5 years ago) I must admit I was impressed by its ability to recognize handwriting, battery life, forward thinking construction and the fact that it was so ahead of its time(and still is in some ways)

The Newton is special (5, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | about 10 years ago | (#9795735)

I started with a Newton. It was big and sort of clumsy physically, though. So, I went to a PalmOS device. It paled in functionality by comparison, though. So I went to a Windows CE-based device. It was slow and clumsy and just not as metaphorically intutive.

In the end, I ended up with a Newton 2000 again. With other PDAs, I eventually just stop using them. With the Newton 2000, even though I bitch about its size, I find myself using it all the time.

It recognizes my handwriting, as fast as I can write it, the way I write it (without needing a cursor to position the text, without needing to learn a special alphabet, without needing to write all letters over one another or write in a specific area of the screen). It has a unique chronological interface for categorizing and indexing (the index view vs. the content view, plus the "scrollable" nature of the content you create, rather than storing things in "files" or "documents").

Recently a friend gave me a Linux-based Zaurus PDA. It's a great little PDA and it's cool to start the Terminal and type linux commands on the slide-out keyboard.

But there's just nothing like the Newton; it's not a subtle difference at all... the Newton's entire user interface is a radical departure from anything else in computing, and until you've tried it for a week or two, you have no idea just how poorly designed current PDAs are, software-wise.

Re:The Newton is special (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#9795878)

"Recently a friend gave me a Linux-based Zaurus PDA. ..."
umm, if your not using that, can I have it? ;)

Re:The Newton is special (1)

daft_one (532587) | about 10 years ago | (#9795972)

Bah, forget that guy. I'll give ya $50 for it. (w00t! I love slashbay!)

One word. (3, Insightful)

slasher999 (513533) | about 10 years ago | (#9795737)

How long until all these users switch to new hardware?


Amiga.


Look at how long the Amiga fans have been holding onto that platform. If it wasn't for them, I would probably no longer remember what an Amiga even was. Same can be said for OS/2 - look at eComStation. Great products tend to outlast vendor interest.

Re:One word. (2, Interesting)

Xugumad (39311) | about 10 years ago | (#9795855)

Dang, was going to use that example myself. It's a good point though - I only started moving away from Amiga in 1998, when I needed to do stuff that wasn't worth the effort making my Amiga (upgraded with a PowerPC processor by this point). I would have bought one of the new AmigaOne systems, if I hadn't stumbled across OS X first.

People need to keep in mind, newer does not mean better, especially for certain uses. That P4 might be faster than my Amiga, but how's it's responsiveness while word processing, for example? That Palm might be smaller than a Newton, but if I carry a laptop bag anyway, how much differene does it make.

Diverging wildly from the point, I've always wanted to get a bigger mobile phone. Ideally something as big as they used to be when they first came out, but with modern features. I want to be able to make this phone part of my daily excerise :) I want to know no-one will steal it, because they can't run while carrying it! Don't suppose anyone knows of where I could get one, do they?

GAY BAREBACKING ALL NIGHT LONG (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795742)

esafjkljkl
hjktwjkh 4jk !!!

hoh

Re: GAY BAREBACKING ALL NIGHT LONG (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795924)

Try this one!

http://www.arbr11.dsl.pipex.com/ [pipex.com]

But hey, stop this arsehole from making any money.. make him PAY like the rest of us (or atleast buy some beer)

Never!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795762)

How long until all these users switch to new hardware?

Give me Newton or give me death! I will never succumb to the tyranny of Palm or Pocket PC!

Hrm (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795775)

All lingering sentimentality and nostalgia aside...the newton is o.k.

But to be honest, there are a grip of PDAs out there that I find much, much more effective, both as productivity tools and infotainment toys.

I just get the feeling this is another of those apple fanboy posts where everyone does a circle jerk and drools on each other...

Reminds me of the Apple slogan "Think Different."

Well, gee... If everyone thought "different" (meaning everyone bought Apple) then what would happen? EVERYONE WOULD BE THE SAME (with regards to computers etc)... Sickening. It's almost as bad as them using a Hollywood 'genius' as their spokeman.. Goldbloom is fine and all, but this is just going too far.

I don't know... (1, Funny)

bennomatic (691188) | about 10 years ago | (#9795782)

> Since Apple discontinued it, it got ATA, WiFi,
> BlueTooth, ZeroConf and even a NES emulator.

But is it possible yet to make a beowulf cluster of the darn things? Imagine!

yeah i hate karma too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795856)

12345

Re:I don't know... (2, Interesting)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9796148)

But is it possible yet to make a beowulf cluster of the darn things? Imagine!

Actually...

A long time ago, I wrote a little distributed object API for the Newton. Although, calling it an "API" is a bit grandiose. But I used it for some simple distributed processing, at that time running some simple genetic algorithms.

So yeah, you can make a Beowulf cluster of Newtons.

Multiple links (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795857)

All right, I know this is off-topic, but it's been bugging me for some time now, and the curious method the poster used to cram in multiple links without disrupting the flow of his writing reminded me of it: where are the hyperlinks that point to multiple pages? It's obviously possible to simulate the effect somewhat by creating a placeholder html page with the links in question, then making a single link that points to that page, but that's far too clunky and involves too much overhead. So why is there no support for, and seemingly no movement towards, hyperlinks that point to multiple pages?

Mike

Re:Multiple links (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795917)

You want off-topic? Try this.. I know this is off topic..

http://www.arbr11.dsl.pipex.com/ [pipex.com]

But hey, stop this arsehole from making any money.. make him PAY like the rest of us (or atleast buy some beer)

Re:Multiple links (1)

ehack (115197) | about 10 years ago | (#9796829)

Interesting. A typical case for something like this would of course be the result of a search.

The most intersting things on slashdot are the offtopic comments

Switch to new hardware! Bah! (2, Insightful)

cluge (114877) | about 10 years ago | (#9795861)

How long until all these users switch to new hardware?"

Considering the number of Amiga fan sites, and people that still use Amigas - not any time soon.

cluge
AnygryPeopleRule

Newton Emulator? (2, Interesting)

Megane (129182) | about 10 years ago | (#9795866)

Since modern PDAs run the same CPU as the Newton, why hasn't someone tried to write a Newton emulator for PocketPC, Zaurus, etc.? That would be the best of both worlds: Newton OS on a faster ARM CPU.

Emulator? (0)

DivideByZero (80449) | about 10 years ago | (#9796018)

I guess I'd like to see Jobs get the proverbial stick out of his ass, sell the Newton source code (to Compaq?), and let it get ported to exsisting iPaq hardware. As the post points out, the hardware hasen't gotten any better spec wise - It's just gotten a hell of a lot smaller.

I'd love to see the Newton OS running on hardware that didn't require a special body harness to carry around.

Re:Newton Emulator? (3, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | about 10 years ago | (#9796154)

oh, the joys of google!

someone tried [sourceforge.net] to write such an emulator. gave up, though. He wasn't writing a virtualization layer, like I think you're proposing though, rather a complete emulator.

Scully -- what a joke! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9795896)

Scully pushed the Newton, all right -- I remember the chaos when we were told Scully was going to showcase Newton in a keynote talk (don't remember the event -- a broadcaster's thing?). That was only about six months too early as far as product schedules went, but Scully had already made up what little mind he had.

Scully president of a Newton association is like making a fox president of the henhouse.

Everyone should experience a Newton... (2, Insightful)

pedantic bore (740196) | about 10 years ago | (#9795913)

... or an emate (remember them? They were a kind of Newton with a keyboard in a notebook format for the education market).

Most computer users have gotten very used to the windows/mac/gnome/kde/cde/etc way of doing things. Sure, they all look different, but I'll bet you can figure out the basics and successfully get general user-level stuff after a little aclimitization. It's all the same ideas in different skins.

The Newton interface is different. Whether you love it or hate it, it's still interesting to see that there are other ways of doing things.

Still using a 2000 here... (3, Interesting)

nonmaskable (452595) | about 10 years ago | (#9795923)

My company bought me a first generation Newton when they came out and sent me to developer school for them - I prototyped a neat real estate app for them.

Anyway, it (and the MP2000 I use today) are still great PDAs - does everything I need it to do with a lot of thoughtfulness in terms of UI design. Best of all, in the 10 years I have had it, I have never once lost a single piece of data on the system - never restored a backup either!

It was also a blast to write code for.

Why not produce NEW hardware (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#9795981)

Now that the PDA market is in full swing, apple could get back into it and make some money.

They created the market, if they only had the patience to stick it out :(

You really cant replace a Newt with the dismal offerings of today. It was designed from the ground up as a handheld device, what we have today uses desktop OS's grafted onto a palm sized device...

Re:Why not produce NEW hardware (2, Interesting)

lidocaineus (661282) | about 10 years ago | (#9796337)

While I appreciated the old newtons, the parent is blatantly wrong; Palm, Inc, in 1992, established some serious guidelines regarding what a PDA should and should not be, noting that it is definitely not a desktop replacement. This was formalized in 1996 with the Zen of Palm document. It was very much designed to be a handheld device; in fact, the Palm was a direct response to many of the newton complaints, ie size, input issues, and battery life.

These days, on the Palm platform, it's a little more tricky. As memory and processor speeds increase, feature creep has entered, and so have the sometimes blind movement towards replicating various desktop activites on the PDA, with varying results. However, that does not negate the fact that many of the very good applications still hold the ideals of a PDA for a PDA's sake to heart.

Palm (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#9796624)

I also had an early palm, ( mainly due to the form factor, 'on the road' the palm was easier to carry ) and thought the interface was clunky and a general pain in the butt. ( and no, im not basing that on the 'power' of the day, i realize speeds have increased radically over the years )

Nothing can come close to matching the useablity of the Newton's UI...

Its a real shame it went away.

The Netwon's OS... (3, Interesting)

Balthisar (649688) | about 10 years ago | (#9796096)

...is what made it a great thing. Okay, that statement's completely obvious, so why did I mention it?

I bought my Newton 2100 just after they were discontinued. I loved it, but couldn't use it at work (factory at the time). My Palm V, and later two Sony Clie's (the second of which I still have and use) just fit in my pocket and did everything I needed them to do. Where they quite as elegant? No friggin way, but they fit into my pocket.

Now were the Newton's OS to be put into a "modern" form factor, I think I'd be sold again. Just thinking about is makes me kind of miss it (although I guess I could say the same for my C=128).

On the other hand, I'm kind of now in the ballpark of believers that the PDA-only market is not going to recover. It's going to be PDA/mobile phone combinations. The current line of such combo's is ugly (hey, I'm a geek but don't have to look like a nerd). My T616 is a good step, but it's missing about everything else that's not built-in to a Palm or Netwon.

No Palms! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9796099)

Why does this article have a picture of a Palm beside it? I'm deeply offended.

Semi-spiritual sibling? (2, Interesting)

TellarHK (159748) | about 10 years ago | (#9796144)

Last week I picked up a Tapwave Zodiac as a new PDA after having lusted after -some- form of small, useful PDA for years. I have a Newton 2100, but it's simply too large for my usual uses, and I never picked up the memory cards and wifi card to really make it useful around the house. Someday I still intend to do this, however. But what struck me as soon as I got the Zodiac home is how much the basic form factor of it resembled that of the almost ten-year-old Newton design. Two expansion slots at the top, large (comparatively) screen, flipcover for the LCD, and an emphasis on being able to be used in landscape mode.

Aside from a few design flaws the Zodiac has in regards to the stylus location and a flipcover, it feels like a Newton in many respects - other than the OS. PalmOS really feels quite weak compared to what the NewtonOS can do, and I really wish that Palm had learned more from what Apple managed to do so many years ago. Screens now are creeping up on the level of pixel density really required for some good UI design, but the operating systems just aren't keeping up. Now, it's also a shame it's taking Palm six versions to get to multitasking.

I still use mine and here's why... (5, Interesting)

stecker (263711) | about 10 years ago | (#9796249)

I've been a technology guy at two companies that, at least for a time, were very serious about building software for PDAs and other handheld devices. These days, all of the momentum has shifted to writing applications for phones.

That said, I've had occasion to use at length every single Palm (including the newest Treos and Clies), Pocket PC, MagicCap device, etc.

To this day, I keep a Newton MP2100 charged and ready to go behind my desk. Why? Meetings. The Newton's larger form factor makes it ideal for taking notes in meetings. Laptops are too distracting and unnatural, and anything with a smaller screen is too awkward. Further, the Newt's handwriting recognition makes note taking a natural task. Try graffiti for a lengthy set of detailed meeting notes, and you'll see what I mean.

It helps that the user community has kept up with change. I use NewtSync to sync the notes I take on my Newton back to OS X. It also nicely copies my calendar, contacts, and to-do lists to my Newton.

I must admit that I've ben eying an OQO, but with each passing day, its fixed specs are starting to seem less and less impressive, and I don't think I could see myself typing away at one during a meeting.

No NEWton anytime soon (1)

Queer Boy (451309) | about 10 years ago | (#9796252)

Steve Jobs recently stated that to get into the PDA area anymore would mean to get into the cell phone area, which he stated he doesn't think Apple would be good at doing.

I think if Apple didn't make the hardware and just licensed the Newton OS they would do very well. Historically Apple has never made any money off of software, so this probably won't happen.

Something to think about... (4, Interesting)

TrojanHorse (701608) | about 10 years ago | (#9796267)

Think about this... the original OS for the iPod was based on work from a company called Pixo, which was founded by...wait for it... a bunch of former Newton Group members. The extensability is there. All that is lacking is the support of the man who single-handedly quashed the spinoff of the Newton Group (nee Newton, Inc.) and told everyone to pack their desks. IIRC, the quarter in which the Newton was killed, there were only two profitable divisions within Apple, and NSG was one of them.

No room in the market anymore. (2, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | about 10 years ago | (#9796319)

Palm is probably going to win this market and another incompatible me-too product isn't going to be successful. Moreover the basic Palm technology is a 70 dollar Zire and all the other models are just bigger better Zires with a few extra features. Newton would have to compete on all those product axes simultaneously which of course is silly.

Re:No room in the market anymore. (1)

gknac (799381) | about 10 years ago | (#9796851)

my T3 isnt really a bigger better zire with "a few extra features" its compleatly different and runs a different OS version on a different hardware platform.

How much would it cost? (2)

MacFury (659201) | about 10 years ago | (#9796374)

The Newton 2100 was an awesome device when it was introduced. It still blows every other PDA away. If a color screen and USB connection were to replace it's grayscale and serial port...how much would it cost?

I've been wondering that ever since I purchased my $300 palm Zire 71. The GUI is terrible compared to the Newton. I makes me sad.

So, just how much would it cost to build the old newton at todays prices for screens, batteries, the strongARM CPU, etc. Could it compete with the PalmOS and PocketPC's on price point?

Re:How much would it cost? (1)

hpavc (129350) | about 10 years ago | (#9796665)

Porting newton to a modern processor, adding ram, adding modern IO (wifi/usb) and giving it some serious battery life would be a dream. I am not sure about color screen personally. If it impacts the battery run time i am against it.

Sadly the PDA market is sketchy right now, the speak about 'convergence' with cellphones is liekly true. Apple cannot make a PDA only device.

Damn, I just sold mine! (1)

duncanbojangles (787775) | about 10 years ago | (#9796452)

I must admit, the Newton was an amzing machine. Not just for its age, but generally amazing compared to what is currently available. The designers really knew what people needed out of PDA and built the software around those needs. All of the software in the Newton works with one another, where you can have your appointments linked to a date in your calendar, have an alarm trigger a response from another program, etc. Apple didn't try to make the Apple OS smaller, they just made a new OS. Sadly, everything I touch I feel I should put Linux on so I sold mine. Oh, well, Fujitsu Stylistic for me! P.S. Apple would make a fortune, or some really nice friends by releasing their handwriting recognition code. It is by far the best I've ever used.

My wish list updated (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 10 years ago | (#9796528)

Take: 1 Newton 2100 for handwriting 1 IPOD for Music and Storage 1 Zaurus SL-C860 for display, keyboard, Linux (Or FreeBsd/OsX) add Ethernet, Bluetooth, and 802.11g Full day battery(8 hrs) battery life with replacable, standard AA NiMH batteries Support and a vendor supported dev. community Stir Vigoriously, pour into a sub $600 package Sell hundreds of thousands of units!!!

still OK (1)

pbjones (315127) | about 10 years ago | (#9796594)

The 2000 and 2001 are still hard to beat on features, writting stuff for Newton was pretty good too.

Cost/Duration Relationship (3, Informative)

NewtonEatPalm! (515878) | about 10 years ago | (#9796606)

I've always been a multi-platform user, and have always been able to properly deride and/or appreciate the various advantages and disadvantages each platform brings to the table.

As most will agree, Apple hardware in particular has historically been introduced at higher retail price points. However, I've always been struck by the value inherent to Apple hardware as compared to other platforms. I usually build a new Windows based PC for gaming and administrative tasks every 2 years or so, costing anywhere from $700 - $1000 (I don't use pirated software. I use only name brand components), usually relegating said Windows box to serving using Linux or other serving tasks.

My Newtons, while initially pricey, still play a vital role in my day-to-day business operations today, years later. (to this day, I still get many queries by curious onlookers wondering if this was a new piece of Apple hardware, and where they can get one...) In addition, I still use my first generation G4 Macs for content creation, video editing, and with some peripherals, DVD authoring. I paid upwards of $2,500 for the Macs in 1999, but they continue to serve me today, and I foresee utilizing them for at least another 2 years. This brings the cost of ownership down to Windows box levels, for what I feel are more elegantly designed, integrated machines.

Much can be said about Apples choices in pricing and "chic" design, but I've always found the "now" factor and expense of Apple harware to bear out quite well in the long run. The Newton brought to the handheld market not only forward thinking innovation, but, I think, renewable sustainability.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>