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Newton II - Does The Rumor Have Legs This Time?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the inewton-maybe dept.

Portables (Apple) 242

Ian Lamont writes "Mike Elgan at ComputerWorld has an interesting analysis of the small computing market, and predicts that the market is primed to take off. He admits that small computers have been tried before and failed ('Every single UMPC device that has been shipped or announced suffers from lousy usability, high prices, poor performance, ill-conceived user interfaces, or any combination of the above') but he points to several recent products — and a rumor — that he says changes the playing field and paves the way for the first-ever successful small computer, from Apple. The products are the iPhone and the iPod touch. The rumor: Apple Insider has sources who claim that Apple is actually working on a 'modern day Newton' to be released in the first half of 2008. The device will supposedly have a version of Mac OS X Leopard and a touch interface, according to Apple Insider. A lot of people just aren't buying it. They point to the fact that the first Newton eventually flopped. A few note that similar Newton II rumors have been trotted out in years past, as well as a high-profile hoax. Nothing ever came of them." Would you buy if the Newton came back?

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It better fix the Beat up Martin = eat up martha.. (5, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787245)

It better fix the Beat up Martin = eat up Martha handwriting recognition bug.

Re:It better fix the Beat up Martin = eat up marth (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787287)

that bug was fixed in the last two versions of the newton. But by then it was too late. Since then the Newton's technology sows up in hidden places through out OS X. Inkwell is that very tech, And it works just fine.

Re:It better fix the Beat up Martin = eat up marth (3, Interesting)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787647)

Exactly; Newton didn't "eventually flop". From what I've read, it flopped on Day 1, but then became useable and a decent product. However, the Newton was never able to overcome the baggage of all that initial bad press. Building a good product isn't enough, you've also got to market it right.

Re:It better fix the Beat up Martin = eat up marth (3, Interesting)

Lepton68 (116619) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788075)

I worked on some of the first third party software, released on Newton's day one. It was a very, very good and solid product to use and develop for. By the last model, there was only one thing still wrong with it as a device - the form factor. It was a bit too big and heavy for a pocket. But that would have been very quickly addressed. Politics alone killed the Newton. Now, I look forward to a true successor, the tablet TouchMac. It WILL happen.

Re:It better fix the Beat up Martin = eat up marth (2, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788311)

Not just bad press, bad user experiences.

In my opinion, the Newton deserved to die. At one point my family had one and it was the clunkiest most anemic device we'd ever used.

A year later my father got a Palm Professional - It kicked the Newton's ass handily, and was a fraction of the price of the model of Newton we had (I forget which one.)

As to Newton II - As I see it, iPhone = Newton II.

Soe Win's Newton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20788739)

You think that's bad? Check out my shopping list!
Full Bodied Reisling


Would I? Well, it depends... (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787247)

Would you buy if the Newton came back?

It depends on how Apple begins to treat the iPhone hacks going around. If they stop the cat and mouse game to please the AT&T gods with disabling and "bricking" the altered iPhones, then maybe I would consider it. Hell, I was considering an iPhone until this whole bricking deal came to be.

I'm sorry but Steve Jobs wouldn't be where he was today if it weren't for a rabid fan base and he's quickly killing off the fan base by linking up with the douchebags of the world [] and killing off those that love Apple's devices the most -- true fans.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (3, Insightful)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787273)

So your post boils down to a 'No'?

I agree that the bricking of iPhones was a piss poor move. Though I suppose if they did release a Newton II that it would likely do everything that people wanted to hack their iPhones to do but lack the cell phone capability.

After all the technology for a Newton II and iPhone are not that unrelated.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (2, Insightful)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787357)

Why do people think Apple has a choice in the matter? Apple most likely has a contractual obligation to ATT requiring due diligence in the case that someone finds a workaround to their exclusive contract.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (-1, Flamebait)

idontgno (624372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787717)

How 'bout this? They coulda picked a less asshat wireless vendor.

What is it with the fanbois? In the immortal words, "Think Different".

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (0, Troll)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787749)

I don't have a single apple product and could sh*t less. Thinking different means not relying on mental crutches, like accusing someone of being a 'fanboi' when they have anything slightly positive to say about a corporation.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787783)

First- they chose to get into that contract. So yes, they DID have a choice in the matter. In addition, breaking the contract is always a choice.

Secondly- stopping a workaround is not the same as purposefully destroying hardware that someone else has bought and paid for. If an individual did that instead of a company, they'd be arrested for destruction of private property.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (2, Insightful)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787921)

It's bluster so ATT doesn't take them to court. Do you think Apple cares if DRM was broken in Itunes? The only reason it was there was to appease the record companies.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (0)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787487)

Then question is WHY would I buy it? Hell, I still have a mobile phone from 2002 and I won't change it. I don't have an ipod and don't want one. I don't even THINK about buying an iPhoney. I really don't need those things, so why would I need a newton? Because Appl has designed it?

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (2, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787505)

Then question is WHY would I buy it? Hell, I still have a mobile phone from 2002 and I won't change it. I don't have an ipod and don't want one. I don't even THINK about buying an iPhoney. I really don't need those things, so why would I need a newton? Because Apple has designed it?

Because I use a modern mobile device and do a lot of mo-photoblogging and enjoy having access to the web/AIM wherever I am. I don't care what YOU need, it's what I want.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20787863)

welcome on earth there is 6billion of us around. Time to look out of your head.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787649)

I think this position misses the premise (which I happen not to believe).

The only reason the iPhone and iPod touch aren't the next generation Newton is that they aren't sold, supported, or configured as platforms for running third party software. If a "Next Generation Newton" was locked down, it wouldn't be a "Newton", it would be an iPod.

The whole thing boils down to money. Apple tried selling PDAs, and they didn't make a ton of money. By making the iPhone not a PDA, they not only get a nice chunk of rental revenue from AT&T, they avoid playing a game that they tried before and lost.

However, timing is important in business. Companies are getting out of the PDA business, which means it is time for a contrarian business to consider getting in. The big question with Apple is, what are they going to do to get people to buy more of their stuff? After a few more generations of iPhone and iPod, it's bound to become a harder sell. So a lateral move into a different product category is plausible, although it isn't inevitable they'll go back into the PDA business.

Maybe something that look a lot like the PDA business though. If I was smart enough to know what that might be, I'd be rich.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (3, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788149)

I think this Newton rumour is more likely because Apple is being aggressive at keeping third party apps off the iPhone and particularly the iPod Touch. Wouldn't want those two interfering with the launch of a real PDA, would we?

Jobs is famous for not allowing a product to see the light of day until it meets his standards. PDAs with styluses really do suck, but everybody seems to love the idea of a multitouch PDA.

I don't think it's going to be the equivalent of a tablet PC though. No keyboard is a big drawback there. In the future, when multitouch matures a bit, maybe Apple will consider a tablet with an onscreen keyboard though.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (3, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788749)

IMO, the Newton was killed just when the market and technology was ready for it. The Palm Pilot just hit the market and was taking off. Now, we have Apple with the iPhone they need to restrict to make telco's happy but they also have this really nicely patented and usable UI and packaging... They could rip out the telco chips, throw in a video driver chip and make an 3rd party open device for the Nokia N770/N800 space. With VOIP and wireless, email, PIM, and a VGA connector for presentations it would make a splash at any office meeting.

Sounds cool to me but I would rather see a Linux implementation if they could get all the nice gesture stuff working smoothly as Apple does. It is marketing which killed of the PDA market more than the phone market. I don't see even halt the number of smartphone users around as I used to see using PDA's(Palm, Handspring, Sony, and even iPaqs). When the marketing stopped and it didn't seem cool anymore, people slowly left the devices in the desk and doing that for just one month can kill the battery for good. Non replaceable batteries also fixed the life expectancy and probably lead to many EOL scenarios.

Ive me a fully open iPhonePDA and a keychain telco wireless phone module with Bluetooth support and it'll be cool once again to have a PDA. IMO.


Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788755)

Apple may intend to make a PDA-type device, but I very much doubt they intend to get into the PDA business. Consumers don't want PDAs and Apple is a consumer company. Consumers want "web tablets" or whatever. We'll probably call them iTablets (or whatever Apple call theirs), in much the same way "iPod" has become a generic term for a digital music player. I want a web tablet thingy. I don't want a PDA, but I do want a web browser on a slim A5-ish touch screen.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (3, Interesting)

jdray (645332) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788003)

I almost bought an iPod Touch. I didn't care if it played music or not; that's sort of an "icing on the cake" thing. The movie thing is nice, too, but not huge. But it looked to be a UMPC that I could like. That was until the calendar disabling. Then you couldn't use it as a disk. Oh, and the screen is really too small. I've said (here and several other places) many times before that what I want is something the size of a Steno pad (in all three dimensions) that has a minimum of buttons and no hardware keyboard. Yeah, I want a "PADD" from Star Trek: TNG. I think most business people would use one for their primary computer, leaving their "desktop" machine to gather dust.

Re:Would I? Well, it depends... (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788807)

I'm with you. Give us an awesome UI device and let it connect to everything else if needed. It's the darn Telco's who are forcing the platform/hardware layout the way they want it so they can lock in users to their service.

Give us a PADD and let us worry about the UI and applications and let the Telco's worry about making the network reliable. The iPhone hardware would make a great v1 PADD with wider models later on.


They have to be douche bags first.. (1)

itomato (91092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788335)

Since the Mac began, Apple have taken the approach that if they provide a very tightly controlled 'string' for users to begin to pull and massage, they will wind up with a robust, tested feature they can then buy/squelch and implement for themselves.

The hot feature of today started out as the 'bricking' of yesterday.
Themes in OSX? Impossible - then... Not so much.
Third party apps on iPhone? Impossible - then... Not so much.
Non-Apple Widgets on an Apple device? Impossible - until the rabid fan base who is not deterred by the firehose in the face treatment get busy and produce extremely clever hacks.

Mac OS X on Non-Apple Hardware? Impossible - until the rabid fan base dissected their OS to the point where they found the hooks.

In all these cases, the 'key' was the bare paperclip Apple left behind for the purpose.

Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone (5, Insightful)

pebs (654334) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787251)

The Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone

Re:Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone (3, Informative)

feranick (858651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787377)

In the Newton you could actually add apps, or even simply edit documents. Amazingly, you could do "cut and paste".

All things (and many others) you cannot do with the iPhone. I fail to see how the iPhone can be the new Newton.

Re:Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20787397)

You could write apps for the Newton.

No, javascript doesn't count.

Re:Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787511)

The most useful thing about the Newton for me was sketching quick ideas. The "handwriting" recognition could turn crude hand-drawn boxes into straight-sided rectangles, connecting lines really connecting them, and jotted notes into text. It was the ultimate Visio-type communication device. It's also something that can't really be done right without a stylus, and Apple's iPhone marketing seems to indicate Apple thought a stylus was a mistake, so I don't hold great hope for the iPhone turning into a Newton.

Re:Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone (0)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787743)

Keep in mind they might have been marketing a stylus as a bad idea simply because they were selling a product that didn't have one. If they actually released a new Newton, I would imagine it would have a stylus.

It's like before the Intel switch, they were all about how clock speed wasn't that important then after the switch its 'ZOMG 40% faster!'

Larger Form Factor would *ROCK* ! (4, Interesting)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787565)

If they took the technology in the iPhone and put it into a form factor that was more like a Day Planner than a Phone, then you would have a Truly Awesome companion device. Make it cover most of the functions of the iPhone, except for the phone part, and have it sync with the phone over Bluetooth. Give it WiFi and the ability to use a stylus -- but only in a pinch for lots of data entry or sketching. You'd want to build on the multi-touch goodness. Heck, with multi-touch my iPhone is already a better eBook for PDFs than my Sony Reader, and it's not even hacked! (I just put them on my personal website and view them in Safari. I put them in their own tab, and they stay there for a couple of hours without my having to download them again. Multi-touch rocks for reading stuff.)

There are situations where you wouldn't want your phone *and* a planner, but there are plenty of situations at work where you would find both very useful, but it would be cumbersome to drag a full-blown laptop along. In a larger form factor, the apps already on the iPhone would really rock. The iPhone would still be vital because of its form factor. You could still enter contact data and look at your agenda in a pinch. But for heavy-duty work, the additional screen real estate would be a big win.

Re:Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20787699)

The iPhone is the device that could have been. Phone Camera PDA Media Player. Unfortunately Apple decided to cripple it in the PDA department and the phone department. An unlocked phone with 3G and a light OS that people could develop apps for would have really revolutionized the market. A 2.5G phone thats locked to one provider and has no development community? Not quite the same impact. Sure its a nice device but its infuriating because you can just see the potential there is Apple had not gone to bed with the phone companies.

iPhone - phone = Touch, iPhone + PDA = Newton (2, Insightful)

ssummer (533461) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787747)

A PDA derivative of the iPhone could essentially be the "Newton II". Here is why:

1. The hardware, OS, and interface are pretty mature (most current PDAs are lacking in one of those dept's)
2. It would explain why Apple is not allowing 3rd party apps for the iPhone (it would be a "Newton II" exclusive) and why they have painstakingly removed most PDA "features" from the Touch.
3. Being based on OS X, it would be trivial developing new applications for the "Newton II".

Re:Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone (1)

Darren Hiebert (626456) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787781)

The fact that Apple is so insistent upon not allowing third-party apps on the iPhone is evidence that they do not expect the iPhone to fill the role of a PDA. I have been wondering if the reason Apple is so insistent upon keeping third-party apps off the iPhone is because of the enormous security risk this poses [] .

A rootkit takes on a whole new meaning when the attacker has access to the camera, microphone, contact list, and phone hardware. Couple this with "always-on" internet access over EDGE and you have a perfect spying device.

If this conclusion is valid, then I expect Apple plans to fill that void with a separate device, as the demand is almost certainly there, given the very active interest in third-party apps for the iPhone.

Re:Newton is already back, it's called the iPhone (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788201)

Now with extra lock-in.

No thanks, I'll pass.

The 'hoax' iWalk looks like an early iPhone (1)

Peter Bonte (919202) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788771)

The 'hoax' iWalk looks like an early iPhone, its been in development for over 3 years and this could well be a prototype. Will there be a new Newton, yes but we don't know when. i'm buying for sure

the great return? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20787255)

I wouldn't just buy it, I'd buy 2 so I could jack off all over the other one.

The Newton flopped because... (5, Insightful)

kabdib (81955) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787261)

1) It was released too early (needed another 3-4 months shaking out before hitting the shelves).

2) Synchronizing data was a painful process involving lots of cable manipulation, app-launching, etc. (the Palm had a dock: very easy)

3) Too expensive (by about $500)

4) Too large (Palm got it right)

5) NewtonScript was nice, but too weird. A C++ dev kit would have helped a lot (but was politically impractical in the Newton group)

6) Apple management wanted royalties on applications (which was just absolute bugf*ck insanity)

[Yeah, I worked on it.]

Re:The Newton flopped because... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787845)

You forgot 1b) It was released too early (needed another 1-2 years for consumer acceptance to catch up).

The Newton was just starting to become a decent device when it was Steved.

Re:The Newton flopped because... (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788423)

Also: Apple completely alienated and discouraged developers. If Apple's "developer evangelism" guru Guy Kawasaki was around for it he would have rolled over in his grave (provided he was of course, dead).

The Newton SDK was $800.00! So maybe if your developing in a corporate/commercial sense, the $800 entry fee isn't too much - but this completely killed any "grassroots" development community initiative. Without that - there's no software out there for it - except for a very limited number of commercial (i.e. expensive) Apps due to the fact that it's only professional for-profit developers who are (spending money to) develop those apps...etc..etc..etc..


Don't make the same [sort of] mistake with the iPhone!

Re:The Newton flopped because... (1)

vought (160908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788721)

2) Synchronizing data was a painful process involving lots of cable manipulation, app-launching, etc. (the Palm had a dock: very easy)

Partially because the hardware and system software divisions at Apple too busy getting PowerPC of the ground to make sure IR was built into every Macintosh at the time.

Newton had IR; the Mac didn't. Enter a plethora of cables.

newton (0)

daeley (126313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787267)

Would you buy if the Newton came back?

May the force be with me.

Re:newton (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787445)

I think a mass of slashdot readers want to accellerate your way out the window for that.

Re:newton (1)

Miltazar (1100457) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787679)

My first thought at the news subject was, "Sir Isaac Newton had a son?"

iPhone? (3, Interesting)

natpoor (142801) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787283)

Isn't the iPhone a Newton, essentially? And I know a lot of Slashdotters are going to say "no you idiot it's a phone and doesn't have handwriting recognition and X and Y and Z!" but come on people that's not what I mean. The iPhone is a little, handheld computer, yes? It also has voice-communication built in, which we call a phone. So it doesn't have handwriting recognition. That might actually be a good thing! Actually maybe it is a lot harder to make apps for the iPhone? (I don't know.)

Re:iPhone? (4, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787485)

No third-party installable apps, so no, it's not a Newton. However, it could be converted into a Newton with a slightly more ambitious operating system update.

Control Hardware+Software = User Experience! (3, Insightful)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787833)

What's hard to do is to control the whole user experience to the level Apple and Steve Jobs wants to. I think this is why the iPhone didn't support 3rd party apps at first. It's one thing if one of your programs fails on your laptop/desktop. It's another when your're walking around and your phone breaks. With something like a data tablet, there would be more leeway.

I've owned multiple Palm devices, and I now own the iPhone. Palms were nice for keeping info, but ultimately not worth the trouble of lugging and extra device around. If some sort of Apple data tablet succeeds, then it will have to have functions not covered by the iPhone. You will be able to do the iPhone functions with more screen real estate and comfort, but there will be additional functions.

Something that acted like a 21st century Newton and also acted as a graphics tablet would rock. Such a device would also be a kick-ass eBook reader. Doctors would love the thing. (My ex, when she was in med school, had a Sony made PalmOS device pretty much to just to carry around pharmacological reference material. Practically everyone in med school had a PDA for that purpose.)

The tech in the iPhone has a lot of potential if you put it in something the size of a day planner.

Re:iPhone? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788037)

Well I feel like it's stupid to be speculating about a "new Newton". Is it going to look like the old models? Is it going to work like the old Newton? Will it have handwriting recognition? Will it be called the Newton?

Yes, I think the iPhone is Apple's new PDA, and Newton is Apple's old PDA. I bet Apple is working on some new laptop models that are thinner and lighter. Perhaps, in addition to that, there will be a very small tablet-style Mac with a touch screen. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple wanted to bring some iPhone-like features to a more fully-functional computer in a bigger (yet still tablet-style) form.

But why would Apple offer the iPhone, iPod touch, and another "Newton" PDA? That wouldn't make sense to me. A full tablet PC that's two or three times as large as an iPhone but running a normal version of OSX seems more likely to me.

Newton II Purchase? (2, Interesting)

CommandoCody (1154955) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787309)

I would indeed buy it. I still use a MessagePad 2100 that's far more reliable and longer-lived that the iPaq I purchased to replace it - even if, yes, the iPaq had more capabilities.

I'd love to have the best of both worlds - reliability, great handwriting recognitiion (yes the last Newtons had that), with a color screen, WiFi, and hackability.

I don't believe the rumors, though.

tag: rumorsrumorsrumors (3, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787333)

If Windows thrives on "Developers Developers Developers" then Apple needs "Rumors Rumors Rumors".

Uhh, isn't that an iPhone? (0, Redundant)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787335)

Isn't the iPhone basically what the Newton was supposed to be, but with a soft-keyboard rather than text recognition (which could be added to 2.0 easily enough)?

Re:Uhh, isn't that an iPhone? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787925)

No :)

The iPhone has the potential to be the next Newton, but Apple has locked it down so that it is a content-feeding device, not a content-creating device. It also doesn't support third party apps and requires a cellphone subscription.

That being said, the final (working) version of Newton text recognition was bundled into OS X, which is what the iPhone runs on. So it wouldn't be too difficult to add it back in and use it (just use a stylus instead of a finger).

Re:Uhh, isn't that an iPhone? (1)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788111)

No, the newton was a mobile computer with a gesture-driven interface designed for a stylus, built on the concept of documents. The iPhone is a voice communications device that plays music. I believe Newton ][ could benefit greatly from the gestures (pinching to zoom, etc.) present in the iPhone but the two products have different fundamental purposes.

Having said that, I REALLY want a new Newton. The MessagePad 2100 was a brilliant computer, IMO as important and groundbreaking as the Apple Lisa. But, like Lisa, it was too soon -- the market was not ready. Hopefully, like the Lisa with it's little brother Macintosh, v2 will come to the rescue?

Perhaps this explains the lack of an SDK... (5, Interesting)

Yold (473518) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787355)

for the iPhone. Perhaps they're holding off for a iNewton? I'd friggin buy an OS X PDA in a second, just for safari, and the flexibility of a UNIX subsystem would just be extra goodies.

Re:Perhaps this explains the lack of an SDK... (3, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787499)

Yes, but the problem is with PDAs are that they aren't stand-alone computers. I would rather have a hackable N800 then a PDA that can access, word, excel and a strange web browser that can't render hardly anything. Thats what PDAs have turned into, something that can access a watered down word processor, spreadsheet and internet. Now if Apple can let us 1. Let Us Access the terminal for us Linux/UNIX geeks 2. Put a decent web browser with Flash or Gnash(A free flash plugin) 3. Let us download binaries and run it, I don't want to have to sync it all the time with my Linux PC to just download a binary to execute. 4. Let us put OUR programs into it rather then waiting for some company to make you pay $20 for a watered down version of a PC application If Apple can let us do those 4 things, I would buy it in a heartbeat, otherwise, I'd just buy a N800.

Re:Perhaps this explains the lack of an SDK... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787961)

Sounds like my Palm TX (although the flash player isn't integrated and only runs Flash 5 and earlier).

Re:Perhaps this explains the lack of an SDK... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787941)

If that's what you think, then you aren't paying attention. Jobs thinks that the functions of a PDA have been rolled into cell phones and PDAs have no future. Jobs also thinks that with a phone, if you don't have 3rd party installable apps, then you can control the end-user experience. It's one thing when your laptop or desktop breaks because some 3rd party app is misbehaving. It's another when it happens your phone.

Steve Jobs is right on both accounts. A phone with PDA functions + enhanced reliable == the future of ultra-mobile computing. People don't want two devices for what ultimately should be a complete homogenous communications device that handles voice, e-mail, Internet, and PIM stuff.

Oblig... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20787385)

Foux! There to eat lemons, axe gravy soup!

Newton Comeback? (1)

n2jux (676568) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787419)

I dont think so, it would compete with the Iphone. Now if they came back with the Ibook but just all beefed up for this century that would be cool.

Re:Newton Comeback? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20787543)

If they wouldn't release the Newton because it would compete with the iPhone, then why did they release the iTouch, which competes with both the iPhone and the iPod?

the Newton is like Elvis (0, Redundant)

mattkime (8466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787425)


A better change today than before (4, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787429)

I have wondered for a long time if the Newton would resurface. I don't think it was a bad product idea, I just think it arrived before its time. Today it might succeed for 2 reasons:

1) Much greater technology penetration of main stream markets. (Not just for nerds anymore. Or perhaps "its hip to be square.")

2) CPU speeds are fast enough today to allow for a more advanced GUI in a portable device.

Newton + Multi-Touch = WIN (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787873)

Something like a Newton, but with Multi-Touch would ROCK. You could just keep the stylus in the holster until you actually needed to draw something.

Re:A better change today than before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20788099)

I can certainly vouch for that. If there's one thing Apple is good at it's penetration. I'm still recovering from that $200 price cut.

I kid, I kid.

My guess is eMate V2.0 (1)

SengirV (203400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787443) []

I believe that there is more talk of a sub notebook than a newton.

But what they hay. Put out a story that references an updated Newton, and you are guaranteed to get lots of eyeballs - truth be damned.

No Need for one (1)

HexaByte (817350) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787459)

I personally don't need one. My Palm Pilot does the light work, the PC does the hard work, and the Nokia does the phone work.

I could pay the extra bucks for a Treo or iPhone to combine Palm functions w/ a phone, but I'm cheap.

For those who need it, i would be a good option. I actually liked a friends Newton many years ago, but again, never had need for one.

I still use my messagepad 2100. (5, Interesting)

Upaut (670171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787465)

Best handwriting recognition of any device still, hands down. Though right now its more of a franken-newton, being cobbled together of as many new parts as possible. The only original part is now the motherboard, which is from a newton I salvaged in a yardsale a long time ago. And if I could clone it, I would in a heartbeat.

Though I am tempted on trying to compile the Einstein emulator on my iPhone, and using one of the two styluses designed for the iPhone that are being produced. But its not just the fantastic handwriting recognition that brings me back to it every year; its the large screen. The Newton was never meant to be a PDA, as it was made before that term was even cobbled together. It was originally developed to try and supplant the current buisness laptop. Longer battery life, more portable, and you can write, fax, etc with it. If you realize this, and that it was not a device built for comically big pockets, then it hit the mark perfectly.

How can you tell it hit the mark? Alright, users of Palm 3's, rase your hand. (*glances around*)
Psion 7 out there? (*glances around, sees a couple hiding in the closet*).
It hit the mark because we still talk about it. We still crave for it to come back. It might of even been around today if the spin-off company making them was not bought back by Apple shortly before Jobs got back, which he axed with childlike glee becuase it did not fit into his picture of a "user experience" device.

Re: I still use my messagepad 2100. (1)

gidds (56397) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788101)

Psion 7 out there?

Nope, but... [fx: reaches into pocket] ...this 'ere 5mx is always with me, and gets used for, well, just about everything. (I've extolled its virtues enough times already, so I'll leave it at that for now.)

Re:I still use my messagepad 2100. (1)

texspeed (726961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788129)

I still have mine (I don't use it anymore - but I do think about it fondly from time to time). I have to echo the handwriting recognition comment. While not perfect, it worked very well - and I didn't have to learn a new set of arcane squiggles to use it like with a Palm. IIRC, Apple ported the handwriting recognition code to Mac OS X some time back. With the performance of the current crop of low power processors, I have to think that some of the things about the 2100 that were a little slow originally would be very responsive in a current implementation. Apple seems to have nailed quite a few other interface niceties with their touch solution. I would be pretty interested in a "new" Newton,

Re:I still use my messagepad 2100. (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788437)

The Newton's handwriting recognition was absolute shit, and the device was incredibly slow and anemic.

My father's first PDA was a Newton, it lasted a year before being supplanted by a Palm Professional. The Palm Pro blew the Newton away in terms of responsiveness, and Graffiti only took 30 minutes to learn and unlike Newton's handwriting recognition, actually WORKED.

Sadly, Palm got lazy and started coasting. After a progression of Palm Pro (hand-me-down when dad got a Palm III), Palm III (hand-me-down after dad got Palm V), Kyocera 6035 (first Palm I bought myself), Treo 600, and Treo 650, I've moved to the Dark Side and have a Windows Mobile-based HTC TyTn II on order. (I had an AT&T 8525 aka TyTn for 25 days but returned it when I learned of the TyTn II's release.)

Newton? (2, Interesting)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787475)

If they decide to enter the ultra-portable computer market ala OQO and others, it will not - ever - be called "Newton". No-way, nada, snowball in hell has a better chance.


Oh - I don't know - apart from the fact that that project was the darling of the very man WHO HELPED OUSTER JOBS IN 1985. But as we all know - Steve Jobs wouldn't dare knee-jerk product decision based on grudges or personal feelings. Naw. Never. Pay it no mind.

Newton's back - ayep...

Nah (1)

Black Art (3335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787547)

They will just brick it if I install anything "unauthorized" on it.

Next up: (4, Funny)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787553)

The Lisa II.

Wow, that guy couldn't be more out of touch (3, Insightful)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787573)

First off, he thinks the UMPC problem is basically interface.

It isn't. UMPCs suffer because they're way too much computer for a portable device, and cost way too much. Let's face it, most people don't need desktop power shrunk to a 7 inch screen; we could use it, but only if it didn't cost more. The problem is that UMPCs are cool, but they cost considerably more than the cheapest laptop.

He also mentions Nokia's upcoming tablet, then dismisses it out-of-hand by pointing to the company's dispersion. Hold on. That's about the only reason that doesn't make sense. This product will be Nokia's third generation entry into the field, after the n770 and the n800. You can argue that "Nokia hasn't gotten it right yet, and they're not this time"; you can claim that "They won't be able to get the retail channels for their 'non-cellphone cellophone'"; you can claim that they still haven't put a basic software suite together -- all those would be questionable, but valid responses. But "Nokia has too many pots in the fire?" Uh, they have _one_ pot in the fire, and it happens to use a lot of the same parts as their cellphone mobile devices (reducing their cost of entry into the market).

Finally, he says the "Newton II" will be a winner if it's under $1000. Dude, we're talking about mobile devices here. Gadget freaks, especially those who get their toys for free, love all the cool stuff that comes with the high price tag. What Apple and Nokia are showing is that you don't need a $1000 device to give fundamental internet access.

Do the math this way: take a $400 internet tablet, and a $600 desktop computer. What are the limitations going to be using these two on a daily basis vs. what a $1000 table can do? Now remember that most of your target market already has a computer, and one better than $600. The real killer in this field is going to be cheap and with a good interface, not $999 and the apple brand. That way lies the Newton I

Re:Wow, that guy couldn't be more out of touch (1)

JimFive (1064958) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787823)

I wish I had mod points but since I don't, I agree completely!

Would I want to want to buy one, probably. A tablet style PC in a 5x7 form factor would be fabulous. But I'm not going to spend more than a few hundred dollars on it.

It seems to me that all of the hardware makers have been going about it backwards, however. They are turning phones into computers. To me, a better product would be a computer that is able to be used as a phone. The difference is priority, I use the computer a lot more than I use the phone. I would accept a bit more cumbersome phone interface as long as the computer part was worthwhile, and I need to be able to use the computer while on the phone. Also, as most people seem to accept, the point of a tablet is note-taking, planner replacement, and portability. Those are the functions that are most important, followed by expandability/programmability. Give me those things and I'd spend a bit more.


Nokia 770 fanboi (1)

justfred (63412) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788059)

I have a 770, and it's great. The screen is beautiful, the OS is acceptable. It plays movies, mp3s, has a fine Linux terminal, tho you don't have to know it's running Linux if you don't want to. Bluetooth keyboard works fine (better with this than with the Palm I bought it for). Got it on Woot for $125. Used it for an art project for Burning Man. I'd have paid $500+ if it was exactly the same but ran embedded OSX instead.

Biggest problem: custom, expensive memory chips (MMC Mobile, which as far as I can tell are only used by Nokia, 2gb max, $50). It doesn't need a hard drive but if it's going to play music I need at least 8GB, movies as much as I can get. Could be a lot faster, too, but I would expect that to be fixed in later versions.

That said, I sincerely hope the rumors are true. I also had several of the Newtons, and loved them. Their biggest problem with the 2100 was connectivity - instead of the silly interconnect port, they could have given it a USB port, and made the sync software work properly. If they'd kept up development by now we'd have a fine color screen, many GB of memory, movies, mp3s, etc. My MacBook is great - but I can't be bothered to schlepp it back and forth to work with me (I keep an iBook G3 on my desk as an MP3 player). I do think that referring to it as "Newton II" is the surest way to kill the project completely - just hope Steve doesn't read that part of the Internet.

The one other feature I'd like added is what they were calling "Home on iPod" which apparently worked but was never released. When I dock my palmtop, I'd like it to act as my home folder, and store preferences and a few documents. Of course this argues that I'll need a bunch more memory.

(I tried to make a comment on his site but it appears to accept comments and discard them.)

Re:Nokia 770 fanboi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20788699)

I have a 770, and it's great.
For all its limitations, I just think it's cool that I can install dropbear or openSSH and then, from my desktop PC, log in to a server that is sitting in my pocket.

Would I? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20787581)

Would you buy if the Newton came back?
Only if didn't have wireless and had less space than a Nomad.

Re:Would I? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20787815)

That would be Lame. ;)

newton II (0, Redundant)

scolbert (1122737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787607)

newton II is already out on the market, its called the iPhone. That's what newton was supposed to be, remember the tag line, the personal communicator. newton's biggest problem was not hand writing recognition (which, yes, sucked and which apple's marketing spun out of control on) but rather size. everyone inside apple wanted it smaller, but the components of the day couldn't make that happen. now ask yourself, which added features did newton have that the iPhone doesn't? the iPhone is practically a superset of newton minus the developer story (meaning iPhone is presently a closed box). i suspect that apple's so-called-move (rumor) into the newton space is simply the next generation of iPhone.

- sammy iPhone [] ; Touch; 1st gen shuffle

Yeah, nothing ever came out of it (2, Insightful)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787661)

Just like the iPhone, until Steve unwrapped it one day.

Newtsicle II (0, Redundant)

Chooch Bunsen (1163749) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787673)

Only if it comes pre-bricked and they instantly drop $200 off the price two days after.

iPhone is cool but no Newton (1)

Evil Burrito (1163757) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787741)

Well YES I would buy one.... we have been waiting for 9 years for a new Newton. Remember the faithful holding their Newtons up high every time Steve Jobs took the stage? The Newton was way ahead of it's time and while it was no where as portable as the Palm you could actually use it as a notepad at work. I tried the Palm and about every other PDA that came out after Steve axed the Newton and they simply did not measure up. I guess it all depends on what you are using the device for. Bring it on Steven.... you've got my money!

In a heartbeat! (2, Interesting)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787759)

I can very close to buying a Touch but it is still crippled. No BT, no calendar edit, no mic, etc.

Here is what I want:

No bigger than the iPhone
SD Slot
32GB Flash
8 Hr Battery

I hope so, but... (4, Informative)

astrashe (7452) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787821)

I just bought an iPod touch. And it's pretty much the greatest gadget I've ever owned. I love it.

I think a lot of what makes it great, though, is that the interface for Safari is heavily tweaked for web surfing. It's really easy to pan and scan around, and you can pinch and expand to zoom in and out. One of the most useful features is the ability to tap on a section of a web page and have it adjust the zoom intelligently to frame the text or photo you're dealing with. And then there's that turning the device on its side and having the screen roll with you thing.

The result of all of this is that you can surf really well on a very small device. I wouldn't have thought a full browser could be so usable on such a small device, but they did it, and it's great.

The other apps, though, aren't nearly as usable. The music player has cover flow, which is really quick and useful -- I didn't think it would be before I bought the touch, but it is. It's not that they're bad. It's just that all of that insanely great UI stuff is tweaked specifically for web browsing. The stuff that it does is aimed at that problem, and a lot of times the features aren't even implemented in other apps.

The point is that what they've done is different from making a new kind of widget set for portable devices. On a normal desktop system, and on a normal PDA, you have a widget set that lets apps run in GUIs and behave in standard ways. This has very specific gui tweaks for a key app, safari.

I think the philosophical change of the touch (and the iPhone, obviously) is that the designers seem to be working from the premise that usable UI on such a small device is challenging enough that you have to tweak things very specifically for the app of the moment, and not just use something more general like MFC.

So Safari is tweaked out brilliantly, and it's flat out amazing. The music player is ok, it's certainly functional, but it's not so amazing. It's not "I can't believe how cool this is" great.

I kind of wish I had my old iPod video interface back, honestly. Or I wish I could zoom in and out, to change the size of the type on my podcasts, because sometimes long titles are hard to read.

So the question is, how are you going to make a really great PDA? Do you have to have genius UI designers working on every app? I mean, how are you going to do IM on these things? How do you get around that "entering text sucks" barrier? And there's going to be some usability problem like that popping up over and over again in app after app.

(I think this is part of why they want to keep these things locked down -- I believe that Jobs really hates the idea of people running ugly unusable apps on his devices.)

I mean, they could make a PDA, and they could use the tech they already have, and it would probably be just another PDA with a standard general interface, and an insanely great web browser. And that would be cool. But I think they're more ambitious than that.

Speculation... (0, Flamebait)

Jorgandar (450573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787829)

I love speculation. Lets all try! Go ahead, make claims or deny them! Post fake pictures of it on every forum you find! As with all apple products, random, fruitless speculation is easy and fun!

Here's my go:
Since apple has denied it, that's how we know they're lying! Someone who works for someone who knows someone's sister who works at apple said that it will be a holographic display, which will project a 3D interface! LIsten n00bs! It will be slightly larger than an iPhone, but still small enough to be pocket sized. That means it will fit in ur pocket! I hear it will be called the iHolo and will sell for around $900. It will come in black, pink, and bullshit brown. I 3 apple!!!111

Easy question (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787861)

Yes! sad to see Palm died recently, really like it as well.

PDAs are *still* stupid (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#20787915)

Here's why:

1. The screen, by definition, isn't big enough.
2. Handwriting recognition sucks.
3. Speech recognition sucks.

2 and 3 are the big problems, because if you have 100% accurate speech OR handwriting recognition, you can get away with a smaller screen, since you don't need to see a lot of menus and such if your can simply "talk" to your computer.

Sadly, we're still pretty far away from truly universal speech/handwriting recognition. Which means that if you really want a portable computer, you pretty much need a notebook so you can have a large screen and a full-size keyboard. The PDA market is more-or-less dead these days because almost everyone that bought a PDA eventually realized this.

Re:PDAs are *still* stupid (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788287)

That depends on what you mean by a PDA.

Yeah, the usual Palm device tries to be too many of the wrong things. A device like an iPhone with a decent sized screen, good web browser, wifi and good SDK would be perfect. NO handwriting recognition, but a touch screen keyboard for entering quick stuff like chat messages, fast e-mail replies and calendar entries.

Ebook reader, web page viewer, RSS reader, calendar, document viewer, music player... perfect.

You're right - the problem with PDAs is no keyboard. Which means a PDA has no business trying to do anything that requires a full size keyboard.

Re:PDAs are *still* stupid (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788575)

No, the PDA market is basically dead because everyone wanted convergence with their phones.

PDAs live on in smartphones and PDAphones. All of the previous PDA operating systems that are still alive (PalmOS, Windows CE/Mobile) are now in convergence devices. (Previously known as smartphones, but Microsoft has bastardized that term to mean crippled devices without a touchscreen.) Non-phone Palm and Windows Mobile devices still do exist, but they have insignificant market share compared to their integrated phone/PDA brethren.

1) Most people are happy with the 2.8" screen of devices such as the AT&T 8525. If you want larger, you have other options such as the HTC Advantage X7501
2) That was worked around ages ago with QWERTY keyboards, and modern PDAs have "slider" keyboards that are reasonably large.
3) True, but not needed for a PDA to be good. In fact, I believe that significant work was not put into speech recognition for PDAs because in 90% of the situations you use a PDA, you don't want to be making noise. In the 10% you do (using it as a phone), one common to "speech recognition sucks" is that voice dialing works quite well.

If Apple were to release a non-phone PDA, it would flop.

If Apple were to release a business-oriented (iPhones are explicitly banned for storage of any business-related information at my company because they have insufficient data protection.) iPhone that was more open, it would do quite well, although in my opinion to succeed in the business market (where Crackberry is still a major player, and if anything is dominant, Crackberries are the only mobile devices approved for access to corporate email at my company) the device would need a hardware keyboard of some sort. Perhaps a somewhat thicker iPhone with a main touch interface and a slider keyboard.

Will I buy it... HELL YEAH! (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788073)

I wanted a Newton when they originally shipped. I definately want one now! The issues the Newton have has been overcome in the general market thanks to the advancement of technology. If this comes out, I will retire my Palm V finally, providing it is as well built as the original Newtons.

It won't be called "Newton II"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20788089)

It'll be an ipod touch, with a bigger screen, basically. And if they have a display that can be read outdoors, it'll sell like hotcakes.

Mr Jobs: Please make a decent ebook-reader... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20788203)

...only you can do it, man!

Of course it will never work (1)

baggins2001 (697667) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788361)

If nobody writes games for it, what's the point?

Too soon to tell if it is worth buying (1)

IronChef (164482) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788495)

Since I HAVE to have a cell phone, my next PDA must include it. I don't want to carry 2 devices anymore. I don't want to converge my toaster and my car stereo, but I do want to converge the 2 things I take everywhere: phone & PDA*.

If Apple's PDA is also a phone, and if it is an open platform, AND if its capabilities are on par with what I can already get from the Windows Mobile world--640x480 screen, bluetooth, wifi, crapload** of software--then maybe I will buy in to it.

* I would have converged already, but I can't find a gadget that basically combines my Dell x50v PDA with a phone. Overseas, sure, such gadgets are all over. But I am not buying something with no local warranty support, like an unlocked HTC. Every PDA I have ever had has needed warranty service at some point so I really want a domestic support network.

Maybe the gadget of my desires is out there now. I only look every 6 months or so.

** Yes, it's a softload of crapware, but there are enough good apps to keep me on the platform for now. Jebus & Cthulhu, please, let Apple release a PDA worth having. The iPhone ain't it.

Not sure I'd buy a Newton, but ... (1)

SRMoore (87075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788521)

I'm not sure I want to try buying yet another PDA type device. I have my Treo and it works for that.

So I'd probably not buy a new Newton. I'll tell you what I would buy, and I think apple is the company to produce it right.
An Apple Tablet. Not something small but something with like a 12" screen, or maybe something more like a sheet of paper sized thing.
A slate, not a convertible. I want something with a high res screen, designed more for artists than business. (Although a OneNote like application would be nice too)
If it had multi-touch on the screen that would be nice, but really all I want is a decent pen. (preferably a wacom)

I don't know if they are going to make such a thing, but it is the thing that I would like. I keep looking at TabletPCs, and refuse to spend the money on one because I know they could be so much better.
Ah well I can dream.

A hesitant "yes" (1)

broohaha (5295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788545)

I had the MessagePad 2100. I thought it was superb and beat the pants off the Palm. Even though I worked for the company that at one time ownned it (U.S. Robotics), I didn't believe my co-workers' raves.

But one thing this new hardware would need that the old one didn't have is to have much better syncing.

Might or might not buy. (1)

Shag (3737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788605)

Depends on whether it met my needs as well as or better than my current setup.

I'd like something smaller, lighter and preferably tougher than my black MacBook. But I need to be able to type (fast), get photos onto it from my DSLR, and burn stuff to DVDs. That might be a lot to ask of a "newton ii"

i hope so (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20788679)

it will give fagdotters the chance to be even more hypocritical in their praises for both hardware and software lock in.

newton joke (2, Funny)

aquabat (724032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20788787)

Ah, the Apple Newton - ahead of it's time in the field of handwriting recognition. Reminds me of a good joke:

Q: How many Newtons does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Foux! There to eat lemons, axe gravy soup.

Don't forget the eMate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20788795) []

The Newton was a very nice piece of work. Physically it was a little clunky due to it's size but it had a nice size screen, pcmcia card support, and support for an external modem. You can see why it was a little too big. But it had a nice OS, nice programming language, nice user-interface, lots of networking options, and the handwriting recognition was fast and good. Don't forget, Grafitti was also an option.

I remember running a Gopher client on it over a modem.

Also, people sometimes forget about the eMate (a newton and an ultra-compact rolled into one). The eMate was a great idea.

I'd totally buy a Newton II if Apple made it. Of the 6 PDAs I've had (I still use a Tungsten C) the Newton was my favorite.

But I can also see them coming back with an iMate
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