Newton Revival?

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    ThinkSecret posts some brief notes on various topics.

    Of most interest is word of that one company is conducting a survey about Newton technology:

    The Apple Newton was first introduced in 1993 and essentially represented the first Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). The Newton went through various revisions over the years but was discontinued in 1998.

    Apple, however, retained the rights to all Newton related technology, and at least some has made it into Mac OS X (Inkwell).

    Related Videos (Quicktime):

    Say Hello to Newton
    Newton Intelligent Assistant
    Newton Trash
     
  2. donniedarko macrumors regular

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    #2
    Bring it...I am over Palm
     
  3. mproud macrumors regular

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    #3
    Ah the Newton.

    It still lives on today. It has a cult following.

    I would buy a new Newton if Apple developed one. I'd be willing to pay up to $300 for goodies like AirPort WiFi, Inkwell, and Bluetooth along with a huge storage device and decent battery life. It could be done.
     
  4. squatch macrumors member

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    Jan 26, 2003
    #4
    Newton developers still around?

    Even if Apple decided to come back out with a "Newton II", are most of the original Newton designers still at Apple? Or did they all migrate over to Palm and share with them all the great secrets? That is a big factor on whether the "Newton II" if reintroduced would be a success or not.
     
  5. Awimoway macrumors 65816

    Awimoway

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    #5
    We all know R&D has tons of goodies that will never see the light of day. So this doesn't necessarily mean anything. :eek:

    But one can't help but wonder if maybe Jobs is willing to rethink his position on the PDA--it may not be for him, but perhaps it would sell to a certain sector of the market in sufficient numbers. It's shocking, really. What's next? An Apple-branded multi-button mouse? Dubya taking an interest in renewable alternatives to fossil fuels?

    Are we prepared to live in a world where powerful men are capable of admitting that they might be wrong? :eek:
     
  6. Foocha macrumors 6502a

    Foocha

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    #6
    Who are these Stone Multimedia guys anyway, and why assume that they have either: a. any connection with Apple, or b. the ability to develop their own "Newton" type project.

    From their Web site they appear to design & produce CDROMs - they're not a research outfit, so it seems unlikely that they are asking this question at Apple's instigation.

    I too would love to get my hands on a new PDA from Apple - Palm OS is looking increasingly long in the tooth, and their recent announcement about ending support for Mac OS X is disappoint. I suspect that my next PDA will be from Sony Ericsson.
     
  7. elo macrumors regular

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    #7
    I think the big thing was that we didn't yet know why we needed it. The market for PDA's was so new that it was almost necessary to have a product fail, so that the next product didn't seem so revolutionary.

    Of course, things have changed again. PDA's were an important market, but we are now seeing a bit of gaget proliferation. Everyone has a cell phone and most people have an iPod. A PDA, then, is a third device that people must carry, and for most of us, it's too much. That's why phones with PDA functionality are starting to catch on, and I think that trend is only just beginning. Were Apple to reconsider the Newton, I would hope that it would be a phone with PDA functionality, possibly also including iPod functionality. Windows compatibility (in addition, of course to Mac compatibility) is essential.

    elo
     
  8. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

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    #8
    ???

    I thought Apple wouldn't try to re-enter the PDA market...

    Still, I hope they do. I would like a PDA which would work flawlessly with Mac OS X... (not that I own one now, but I heard of many people having touble syncing their PDAs with their Macs)
     
  9. gola macrumors member

    gola

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    #9
    Personally I don´t think the PDA idea has much of a future anymore. The extended mobile phone or extended ipod might still generate some interest.
     
  10. kiwi_the_iwik macrumors 65816

    kiwi_the_iwik

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    #10
    Maybe Steve Jobs is right - Apple will NEVER produce another PDA...

    ...Instead of calling it a PDA, it will be known under a DIFFERENT name - hence, "Think Different".

    i.e. - the Digital Hub Key (DHK)?

    Roughly the same size as the old Newton, it could have the added benefits of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and infra-red capability - all now industry standards. AND - perhaps FireWire and Quicktime - ideal for watching anamorphic video streams on its colour touch-sensitive screen. Hell - if THAT were the case, I'd use it as an off-air video monitor from my camera on shoots!

    I've still got my Apple Newton - and love it to bits. I bought it in San Francisco for around $600 in 1994 - and it STILL has features that leaves Palm devices in the cold. Now, 10 years later, I shudder to think what can be crammed into such a device.

    And as far as recommending purchasing a NEW variety of Newton if one was developed? You bet your ass I'd get one...

    :D
     
  11. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

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    #11
    The problem is, inkwell doesn't work that well on Mac OS X I don't think. If I had to rely on it I might go nuts.
     
  12. ipiloot macrumors member

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    Oct 22, 2001
    #12
    comp.sys.newton.misc

    Some years ago I was very active Newton user and also active in newsgroup. Possibly in year 2001 there was a discussion about the possibility to remake the Newton with new interface and all the cool technologies it had inside. From technical point of view, some consider NewtonOS to be the most modern OS ever developed. Incl. desktop OS-s. From technical point of view it far surpassed even OSX. I managed to teach Newton to understand Estonian. And it's handwriting reckognition far surpassed anything available from any other maker. I have heard that TabletPC nowadays offers at least as good hwr, but I haven't tested it. At least PocketPC-s HWR is not usable at all.

    It may be that someone just picked up the idea and wants to create "their own newton". I don't believe that Apple is somehow connected to that. PDA market is a falling-one and Apple doesn't enter falling markets. There's no point in creating a machine to satisfy some 200+ Newton fans left.

    There were many reason, why it failed.
    1. Technical - it went on market untested and unreliable and got it's "doomed" mark there
    2. Marketing - after the initial failure Apple didn't wat to spend money on selling Newton
    3. Device itself - while otherwise superior, it was far to clumsy for businessman to carry on
    4. Competition - Palm offered device that was "good enough": not as capable, but cheap and small
    5. Financial - the Newton drew money out of the company in millions

    And that's not all. It was a good idea in right time, but Sculley first overhyped it and then delivered lackluster product. Only with MP130 Newton started to resemble what it was meant to be from the start. And with MP200/2100 it started to be a real good product. But it was still too expensive and sold for less than it was to produce.
     
  13. ipiloot macrumors member

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    #13
    About the list that you provided - what's from there is missing from nowaday's PDa-s that you REALLY need.

    Only firewire and USB hubs are missing, but in case of those, driver issues arise. And today one can buy a USB hub for he's PDA, provided that the device has CF slot. firewire in PDA does not make much sense. Does it?
     
  14. kiwi_the_iwik macrumors 65816

    kiwi_the_iwik

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    #14
    Well, actually - it does. Especially now thanks to miniature high-volume hard drives such as those residing in the iPod. That's why Steve Jobs probably wants to break the mould regarding PDAs completely. Who needs a PDA when you can have a portable mass storage device that does ALL of the above - AND tons more?

    PDAs today have reached the maximum level of PDAdom. Time to move on to something more PRACTICAL for video/audio/word processing/spreadsheet/presentation work.

    Wouldn't it be grand for any executive to load in a PowerPoint presentation to their new DHK (sorry - I've seemed to adapt that name now...!), take it with them to the boardroom, and connect it directly to the video projector, hit "Play", and conduct their presentation with considerable ease?

    Or even someone who needs to precis a document on the road - say, a speechwriter - and then load it directly into the autocue at the other end?

    Or if on a plane - bored out of existence - wouldn't it be nice to watch one of your pre-loaded movies, or to carry a portable Bus-powered DVD drive with you for the long-hauls? The screen would be the PERFECT size...

    They could even incorporate a rough version of iMovie, iTunes or even GarageBand (for musicians on the fly). It'd be a lot smaller than a laptop, but convenient enough to take anywhere, and powerful enough to get you out of trouble. It'd be the ideal DJ accompaniment on gigs, or a sequencer for musos. Full plug-and-play capability.

    So - I reckon FireWire WOULD be an essential tool. After all - Apple DID co-develop it, and it WOULD be a waste not to include it. Fast data transfers, connectivity to other units and peripherals, and not a big space-taker (just look at the iPod - THAT'S got one...).

    End of story.

    ;)
     
  15. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #15
    Remember, the original Newton wasn't a PDA, it was a Communications Assistant.
     
  16. arn macrumors god

    arn

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    #16
    er... I'm pretty sure the original Newton was a PDA. Scully coined the term with respect to the original newton.

    arn
     
  17. arn macrumors god

    arn

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    #17
    here's a reference:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_digital_assistant

     
  18. kiwi_the_iwik macrumors 65816

    kiwi_the_iwik

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    #18
    Yeah - but it was the first of its kind - and was lumbered into the same category of the Palm Pilots, and the Sharp and Psion Organisers.

    However, for its time, it was revolutionary - other PDAs had not even HALF the features of the Newton. Its connectivity, handwriting recognition and storage abilities were second-to-none. It's little wonder that Apple are extremely cautious when it's mentioned they may re-enter the arena. Their product has to be unparalleled - which is no mean feat, considering the competition. But their handwriting capability is still ahead of the game, and that could be the key - so, along with the current storage size and connectivity options, any new device would be an eye-opener.

    As for driver issues, I don't think that FireWire drivers are a problem - after all, they are CERTAINLY NOT an issue with an iPod, so why on EARTH would they be an issue with a DHK?
     
  19. AndrewMT macrumors regular

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    NOVA, or Northern Virginia to the lay person.
    #19
    I agree with you 100%. I would also like to state that if Apple were to release a PDA/Phone, it would need >1GB storage and a keyboard. It's pretty lame "surfing" the internet and chatting with friends on a PDA/Phone without a keyboard.
     
  20. arn macrumors god

    arn

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    #20
    Palm Pilots came after the Newton.

    arn
     
  21. AndrewMT macrumors regular

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    NOVA, or Northern Virginia to the lay person.
    #21
    I'm afraid a sub-notebook could achieve many of these tasks with greater ease. I think the most important functions that should be added to the PDA are voice communication, internet, instant messaging, music storage/playback (hard drive required), and games.
     
  22. kiwi_the_iwik macrumors 65816

    kiwi_the_iwik

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    #22
    Yeah - I know. But the TERM PDA didn't really arrive until the Palm devices, by which time the Newton had then been inducted into that category by default.
     
  23. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

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    #23
    Personally, I don't think Apple is planning to resurrect the Newton, but if they did the Firewire would be essential. Most of the functionality you mention though exceeds what FireWire can do though... and there's no way the iLife apps would run on something with less power than a laptop.

    If FireWire did anything it would be there to support "home on your iPod". Keep your home directory and settings on the device and have your life on any machine you plug into.

    Plugging in could automatically "fast user switch" to the home directory on the device.

    Between dockings the PDA capability would let you run iCal, Mail, TextEdit and interact with basic file types. Your files would sync because, well, they're in your hand.

    I agree with the calls to keep iPod functionality and maybe add GSM and a bluetooth headset to cut down the stormtrooper belt phenomena...

    Nice to think about, but I still think Apple's been bitten once and is sure to be twice shy...
     
  24. kiwi_the_iwik macrumors 65816

    kiwi_the_iwik

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    #24
    Don't you think it SHOULD come down to convenience?

    i.e.:

    TWO hands - and a lap, of course - for a laptop (or SUB-laptop),
    ONE hand for a DHK, the other for a stylus.

    Also - it would be CONSIDERABLY cheaper, AND more portable, than its laptop counterpart. Dare I say it - there's a time when laptops are just too darn bulky. Let's bridge the gap. The PDA market is successful, because the devices are easier to manage than the laptop. It's just unfortunate that the size really isn't practical enough for many purposes, and the processors just can't handle big events.

    With the introduction of something that covers the "Middle Ground", you'll find that the market will be there. It could even become the next generation of iPods, complete with Video as well as Audio.

    Oh, well - you can always dream, can't you?!?



    :)
     
  25. hvfsl macrumors 68000

    hvfsl

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    #25
    If Apple does do a new Newton, I think it should have the following specs:

    About the size of an iPaq
    4GB Hard Disk (same as iPod Mini)
    Colour screen with resolution of 640x480
    Special version of Mac OS X for PDAs
    400Mhz ARM or IBM G3 if they can get the power down enough.
    ATI IMAGEON™ 2300 graphics (3D graphics card)

    Optional Wifi/Bluetooth of course
     

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