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Portables (Apple) Businesses Handhelds Operating Systems Software Apple Hardware

The Newton O.S. Creeps Toward New Hardware 278

Posted by timothy
from the hypothetically dept.
GraWil writes "As previously reported, the Apple Newton refuses to die! The Worldwide Newton Conference 2004 has wrapped up (photos) and, thanks to Paul Guyot, there is real hope for an emulator. His talk, titled 'Newton never dies, It only gets new hardware,' describes and shows the Einstein Emulator, that will eventually allow the Newton OS to be built and run on top of Unix. Will your next Linux PDA boot Newton OS next year?"
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The Newton O.S. Creeps Toward New Hardware

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  • My question is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thegoogler (792786) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:31PM (#10435349)
    How much processing power does this need, i have an old palm IIIc and i like the newton OS... would that run it?(it WILL run some flavor of linux/unix IIRC)
    • Re:My question is... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Megane (129182) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:57PM (#10435542) Homepage
      I wouldn't try running it on an old Palm.

      The Newton used a 16-25 MHz or so ARM, and even then it lagged quite a bit. The final models (before Steve killed it) had 166 MHz or so CPUs. The Palm has a 16 MHz 68000, so there's no chance there. On the other hand, modern PDAs (PocketPC, Palm ARM, Zaurus) use 200+ MHz ARM CPUs, so they ought to run the Newton OS in an emulator environment with no trouble at all. The important part is the total lack of need for CPU emulation.

  • by Shaman (1148) <shaman@@@kos...net> on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:32PM (#10435360) Homepage
    I'm holding out for a version of NewtonOS that runs under version 3.0 of AmigaOS running under emulation on my Atari ST.
    • by Simonetta (207550)
      I'm holding out for a version of NewtonOS that runs under version 3.0 of AmigaOS running under emulation on my Atari ST.

      I'm still waiting for my Timex-Sinclair 1000 emulator that runs on my Commodore 64.

      There's so much that I've been planning to do and I'm been waiting for such a long time.

      However, if you have Atari ST programs that you want to run on the Windows PC, the STeem emulator works quite well. There were a lot of MIDI synthesizer programs published only for the Atari ST. For exampl

    • I'm holding out for a version of NewtonOS that runs under version 3.0 of AmigaOS running under emulation on my Atari ST.

      Not geeky enough. You should be running an Atari ST emulator on a hacked Xbox running Linux.

  • Still viable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TimmyDee (713324) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:34PM (#10435371) Homepage Journal
    In spite of its detractors, the Newton continues to be a viable handheld platform (shortcomings of the hardware notwithstanding). As a current Newton user, I'm excited for a new lease on life. The genius of the Newton is the OS -- the HWR, the Assistant, and the soup method of data storage. Newton apps "see" each other's data and don't have to run any sort of conversion to use it as their own. You own the data, not the app. Plus, writing "10:00 meeting with lab group 10/14" in the Assistant and getting the proper entry in your calendar just rocks!
    • Re:Still viable (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bastian (66383) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:00PM (#10436475)
      I gotta say, I've been wanting a feature like that on PalmOS since the day I got my first Visor.

      Add in the ability to link different pieces of data (so if I have an appointment with somebody I can tap that person's name to bring up their contact info, and also include a link to a checklist of stuff I need to get done for that meeting, for example), and my Palm handheld might livie up to its name as a personal digital assistant rather than being a glorified address book and e-book reader.
    • Re:Still viable (Score:3, Interesting)

      I used to love the Newton because it was basically a monochrome no-frills laptop. The darn thing was self contained. With a keyboard I could type notes. With the sketch pad I could doodle. Sure, the sync options were primative, but you didn't NEED to sync a Newton.

      By contrast my shiny Sony Clie for all it's power is more or less a photo album for digital stills I keep on my memory card. While it will read PDFs and Office docs, it's slow and awkward to get to fit on the screen. I can only really sync it to

  • Damn. (Score:4, Funny)

    by mrchaotica (681592) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:34PM (#10435375)
    For a second I thought they meant a new Newton from Apple : (
  • GNUton Etc. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Feneric (765069) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:36PM (#10435384) Homepage

    It's good to hear about the Einstein Emulator. I wonder what happened to the GNUton project [sourceforge.net]; it seemed to be working in the same direction and as far as I know actually got a bootable system running through the magic of Python. Granted, there's been no status update since 2000, but I've certainly seen free software projects go dormant longer.

    Recently Newton's Library [newtonslibrary.org] has gone live again; I'm one of the volunteer librarians. If anyone is interested in helping out, let me know. The Newton MessagePad is a great device for reading e-books, and the potential of new hardware certainly can't hurt.

  • by curtlewis (662976) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:36PM (#10435390)
    The Newton got a bad rep in it's early days due to being released too soon. The handwriting recognition just didn't work well enough.

    Unfortunately, people never gave it a second chance. The 2000 and 2100, the final models of the Newton had excellent handwriting recognition and a faster processor that was pretty darned fast for the applications the Newton ran.

    I'm glad to see holdouts trying to keep the heart beating. With the technology available today, a screamingly fast Newton could be housed in something no larger than your typical Palm. And that mid-90s software is BETTER than today's PalmOS.

    Oh, and Graffiti SUCKS!

    • Really? I found Graffiti to be so intuitive and efficient that I actually installed it on my eMate.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:46PM (#10435467)
      I dissagree.... in '94/'95 I took ALL my univeristy CS notes on my Newton. While everone else was luggin around either texbooks or the odd Notebook computer. I had my trusty Newton. Saved as handwriting in class...coverted to text in the evenings... gave me extra incentive to re-read all my notes that day in the evening.

      worked like a charm!
      • While everone else was luggin around either texbooks or the odd Notebook computer. I had my trusty Newton.

        Uhm. Assuming you mean "textbooks", rather than "copies of Donald Knuth's manual for TeX"... how did your Newton replace textbooks? Did you transcribe whole books onto your Newton for easy reference?

        I'd've thought that the old-tech equivalent of a Newton is a pen and a slim folder of writing paper, which probably weighs about as much as a Newton, *and* doesn't run out of battery power, *and* lets you
      • I did the same with my PalmOS handheld for classes that didn't require complicated diagrams or mathematical notation.

        Graffiti was up to the task, but I wouldn't dream of trying it in Graffiti 2. Little things like having to pause for a full second before putting a space after a word ending in L have destroyed my ability to jot notes without thinking about it.
  • NewtonOS Clone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:37PM (#10435391)
    considering how "ancient" (in computer/pda terms) the Apple Newton PDAs were, why don't people try to essentially rewrite a clone of it. i understand the usefulness of an emulator, but an OS clone would be much more convenient. you can get the features, look, and feel of the Newton OS while also having the luxury of adding upgrades when the needs arise. Also, it could be ported to newer hardware (instead of the legacy/aging Newton one.)


    i, not being a programmer myself, cannot fathom the complexity of writing such an OS, perhaps. but it makes more sense, to me atleast, to take what everyone seems to love about the old software and move on to a new one.

    anyone care to explain how hard it would to write an entire new OS for a PDA (similar to that of Newton's) ?
    • i wouldn't go as far as creating a whole new OS, maybe a new shell to run on something like the zaurus, but not a full blown OS doesn't make much sense to me when we already have a fully functional, 100% customizable OS like Linux.
    • by David Rolfe (38) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:46PM (#10436404) Homepage Journal
      The Message Pad 2100 (baring it's size) is really the epitome of the PDA. In that ... it's actually able to 'assist' in what you typically use a pda for. Voice recording, calendaring, little black-booking, emailing.

      I have a 2100 and also was an early adopter of the Palm series (had an original palm pro, a palm three, then got a visor deluxe, then a clié -- depsite the clié's higher resolution and jog wheel, I gave it up and went back to the visor). I haven't bothered to move on to the Zire line because... although graffiti is usable, it just sucks compared to the -- let me stress this again -- awesome recognition of the Newton MP. I know there are some folks out there working on embedded GTK interfaces, can any of you let me know where HWR is at on the embedded Linux scene?

      So, the reason no one is 're-writing' a clone OS of the Newton is the unfeasibility of creating, from a hobbyist public domain vector a platform as perfectly suited to the PDA as the Newton OS. I am enamoured with tablet computing... I even have one of the first IBM Thinkpads (Type 2524, all screen, no keyboard). Which you could say is loosely a sibling of the same era. It uses Windows 95 with the 'Pen Computing' crap (since the Pen Windows or whatever was killed). The recognition is horrible. And that's with a 486DX, which should arguably have more horsepower than the ARM the Newton's had.

      Anyway, I know this post goes no where in specific but here's the main thrust: I have used basically every pen based system that has been commercially available. The Newton MP 2100 was the most elegant and useful of any of these. If Newton had survived Jobs re-emergence, or had been spun off, we would all have 3"x5"x.5", color, 180dpi, nearly edge to edge screen, pressure sensitive, useful, intelligent PDAs with HWR as good, or better, than the MP's for probably a lower price point than the original MP's. I'm thinking like $350. I would die for that.

      Oh, and let me say too... That ThinkPad is cool, I still sketch on it in Photoshop 3.5 with it, but the HWR is horrible. Damn you Microsoft. I just don't see why the whole industry just freaked out and let HWR wallow for so long. Even Ink in OS X isn't as good as the Newton HWR.

      Let the rebuttals fly!
  • by toxickiwi (799307) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:51PM (#10435495)
    What do they mean? 'Newton never dies, It only gets new hardware,' mine always died after about an hour of use then I had to change batteries The only new hardware they could add is a solar panel..
    • Re:let id die... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xofer D (29055)
      You must have had some kind of strange battery fault. My Newton runs for 24 hours continuously with the backlight on. That's what makes it my favourite book reader - I can read all night without waking up my girlfriend, because the backlight means I don't need a light to read. The LCD screen is very stable and doesn't make my eyes hurt, either.
  • I am looking for something that has about the power of a PDA, but is larger... like 5-6" screen type deal. I thought the Newton was a bigger piece of hardware than it actually is (people certainly complain about how big it is enough), so I was looking at it.

    What I want is something that has some decent screen real estate so I can use it for document review (both text and - maybe - images), do basic internet stuff, like limited webbrowsing email and chat, and also some basic PDA type stuff like note taking/c

    • I was in the same boat as you about this time last year and I ended up settling with a smaller screen and went with the HP iPaq 5555. Good PDA, but the screen is a bit on the small side.

      You might want to check out the old Fujitsu Stylistic [ebay.com] line of tablet PCs. I've heard good things about them from some of the people I work with. A fully loaded used one can be had for under $350 (450MHz range).
      • Thanks for the suggestion, this looks alot like what I am in the market for... I had a Dell Axim up 'till earlier this year, so I know all about the PPCs, the screen is just to small for me to do what I want with it... both in size and resolution. Plus, I HATE the wince/pocketpc OS. blech!

        I spose a P3 450 is quite a bit faster than a G3 400-500, plus its got a touch screen...

    • Keyboard and pointing device? You're looking at a Toshiba Libretto - VERY small, and the power of a Pentium laptop. There are very old tablet PCs that run 95 with Pen Extensions 2.0, and can actually run XP Tablet (someone hacked one into it).

      Unfortunately, they're very rare, as one of the bigger retailers appears to have gone out.
    • by afidel (530433) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:03PM (#10435948)
      Well if you dropped the budget requirement you would seem to be a perfect candidate for an OQO [oqo.com] ultra compact PC. It's 4.9*3.4 inches, has a 800*480 display, has a full keyboard, thumb mouse, pen input, scroll wheel, etc. It has Firewire, Bluetooth, 802.11b, and USB built in. It lasts aprox 3 hours on battery. It has a 20GB HDD for storage. The biggest problem for you would be the price, I believe the first generation are around $1800.
    • I hate replying to my own post, but I have been looking around a bit more and I came across the Jornada 680/e and the 7xx (looks the same, seems to be more powerful, and more expensive)... anyways, the form factor is right, but I am not a huge fan of WinCE... So questions are: Anyone use these? what did you think? Are they upgradable (in terms of OS... to at least PocketPC2k or even, dare I dream, Linux)?
    • I am looking for something that has about the power of a PDA, but is larger... like 5-6" screen type deal.

      Eh, still sounds a bit cramped to me...

      Back when Go PenPoint was getting a lot of press, I thought it looked fairly cool, but I just couldn't get excited about pen-based computing on such a tiny surface. I was a draftsman many years ago, and the smallest surface I'd want to use would be a standard "D" sheet: 17"x22".

      Forget notebook computers, I want a portfolio!

      -jcr
    • You know, I want almost the same thing as you. What I want is identical to a PDA except that it would be the same size as a DVD case and have a higher resolution (at least 640x480) screen. Since it wouldn't have to have any more circuitry than a normal PDA, it should have plenty of extra space for PCMCIA, CF, and SD slots, as well as a larger (or 2nd) battery) or even perhaps a 1.8" or 2.5" hard drive. I don't want a Tablet PC -- they're all too heavy to hold in one hand. However, a version of a Sharp A
      • Well, I have been searching and reading since I posted my original message, and so far the Jornada 720 seems to be the ideal solution, and may be just what you are looking for...

        It's smaller than a DVD case (7.3"x3.7"x1.3"), is a clamshell type design with a 75% normal size keyboard on the bottom half and a 640x240 res 6.5" 16bit color screen on the upper half. The screen is touch sensitive, and the unit runs WinCE 3.0 (which to my suprise looks alot more like Win95 than PocketPC). Runs on a 206mhz StrongAR

  • by tangent3 (449222) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:57PM (#10435544)
    ...and in a few years the Einstein Emulator (also known as Einstein Emulator Special Version) will become obselete with bugs and head towards death only to be replaced by the Einstein Emulator General Version which solves most of the bugs. Some bugs remain, however, which were only resolved after the Quantum Plugin was released.
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Monday October 04, 2004 @07:57PM (#10435545) Homepage Journal
    This is out of hand. Newton is 10 year old hardware that has an adamant user base that consistantly reaches over backwards to keep alive. Yet this hardware device is one that Jobs is staunchly against and has consistantly given the middle finger to.

    What gives?
    The only other person besides Jobs who so fearlessly tells a fan base to go collectively screw themselves is Lucas. Being a very technical user who has 2 mac laptops, a G5 desktop and an iPod, I could definitely put a Newton device to good use.

    I can only hope that Apple current dealings with Motorola's cellular device division is working on an intigrated OS X compatable PDA for the iPhone to allow users to bluetooth and/or websynch (.mac account?) data from iTunes, Mail.app, Calandar and AddressBook.
    • by MouseR (3264) on Monday October 04, 2004 @08:16PM (#10435655) Homepage
      You have to catch up on your Apple folklore.

      The reason, wich is widely regarded as truth, that Jobs killed the newton is pure retaliation against Scully.

      John Scully invented the concept and drove the outcome as the Newton shortly after he had fired Jobs in their power feud of mid 80s. Scully had killed the Lisa and Jobs took over the Mac not to be empty-handed. When Jobs was back at the helm of Apple, he was just pleased at destroying the Newton rather than building on it. To this day, Jobs keep dismissing PDAs altogether while telling everyone that phones will inherit the futur. What does he do next? A frickin' music player.

      Jobs has done a lot of good stuff for Apple since his come-back. But the Newton murder wasn't one of them. Marry Newton OS and the iPod and then you start having something interesting. But ego makes this product impossible. Or highly improbable.
      • Thank you for the reply.

        However I never mentioned the Skully/Jobs adversity, though it did come to mind. However, being a high level contractor, I know how such petty drama takes life of it's own in a corporate atmosphere... lord knows, I've seen the demise of one director to be passed on to the next or on the extreme occassion I've gone from one CTO to the next. In all circumstances, most have tried to suplant the predecessors goals with their own (which can bring forth my contracts termination through n
      • This is pretty simplistic reasoning. Apple was losing a ton of money at the time and there was the real need to cut down on the speculative projects and concentrate on the "core markets" (if even just to make Wall Street happy). Apple also cut dozens of Macintosh models at the same time.

        Not to mention that the Newton brandname was pretty much dirt at that point. Even though the later models were nice, people though of the thing as a big joke. A Palm Pilot was the cool thing to have, not a Newton.

        Plus you
        • by the time Jobs killed Newton, almost all the engineers that knew anything about either the hardware OR software had ALREADY LEFT.
        • Oh, I can... but as I said to another poster, the tact Jobs has taken is harsh.

          And while I agree with all your point, and can even give small link to validate your comment [depaul.edu], would it be so hard for Apple to Open Source the entire Newton OS and not just the toolkit??? Or is that asking too much? Sounds like Jobs just hedging the bet at everyones expense.
        • Well, how does that explain not bringing the Newton back now that they're no longer on the brink of destruction?
        • Newton history (Score:3, Informative)

          by metamatic (202216)
          Before Jobs came back to Apple, Newton was spun off into its own company, Newton Inc. It wasn't losing Apple any money; it was going to stand or fall on its own merits, and was apparently making a small profit. So there was no financial need to first re-absorb the spin-off company and then kill it.

          If you look on eBay, you can find Newton-branded Newtons as well as pure Apple-branded ones.
      • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:55PM (#10436182) Journal
        The reason, wich is widely regarded as truth, that Jobs killed the newton is pure retaliation against Scully.

        Umm, Sculley also introduced color displays and expansion slots to the Macintosh line, and Apple didn't abandon those.

        Seriously though, this is a bit of a stretch. When Steve returned to Apple, the company was having a near-death experience, and anything that detracted from the core business (like the printers, or the newton, and an awful lot of the Macintosh models of the time) had to go.

        -jcr

    • by lesv (258710) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:18PM (#10436007) Homepage
      This is out of hand. Newton is 10 year old hardware that has an adamant user base that consistantly reaches over backwards to keep alive. Yet this hardware device is one that Jobs is staunchly against and has consistantly given the middle finger to.

      That is just untrue. Steve has said that he could have saved Newton, but that he didn't have the management talent to do it. I believe that was just part of the story. The Newton group was working on StrongArm based products before things were killed. The StrongArm was a part of DEC that was acquired by Intel (When they picked up the Alpha technology & Engineers), at that point in time, Intel wasn't really sure what they wanted to do with it. It would have been insane for Apple to spend time rebuilding a business when they didn't know if it's major supplier was going to keep manufacturing. I was the last person hired into the Newton team.
      • Moderators, please mod the parent post, "+5, Was Actually There".

        -jcr
      • So at this point is it "economically unfeasable" for Apple to Open Source the entire Newton OS and not just the toolkit???
        Or has Jobs just beenn hedging his bets?

        I do not disagree with his stance on cellphones, but rather -- the closed door attitude and let die attitude from a "open source" advocate.
        • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:41PM (#10436381) Journal
          So at this point is it "economically unfeasable" for Apple to Open Source the entire Newton OS and not just the toolkit???

          Well, let's suppose for a moment that you were an executive at Apple: how much budget would you allocate to 1) finding the code, 2) determining whether it embodies any patents that Apple licenses from other parties, 3) seeing if it builds, 4) documenting it?

          Apple doesn't use open source as a dumping ground. Darwin is live code. It's maintained, because Apple is using it today.

          The thing is, it's just not as simple to give code away as many people think it is. Certainly not for a large, publicly-traded corporation.

          -jcr

          • If it made my longterm customers happy, I'd look into it.

            As for your points, they are quite weak.

            -- 1) finding the code,

            "uhhh yeah, it might on some CD in a box, in a dwarer in the basdement of one of our campus facilities" is not an answer you'd ever get from a software centric corporation EVER.
            It might take them an hour or two to dig it up at most. But don't fool yourself into thinking they buried away anything that contains ant form of intellectual property.

            2) determining whether it embodies any pate
            • It might take them an hour or two to dig it up at most.

              Yeah, right. You haven't worked in the software development organization of a Fortune 500 company, have you?

              2) determining whether it embodies any patents that Apple licenses from other parties

              -- Patent licenses should be well documented by any intellegent corporation,


              There's knowing what licenses you have, and then there's knowing what code uses them. These are not the same thing, not by a long shot. Making sure that the newton code was scru
    • Newton is 10 year old hardware that has an adamant user base that ... barely reaches into triple digits.

      It's great that people love their newtons, but the economics just aren't there to revive it.

      -jcr
    • by King_TJ (85913)
      In all honesty, I can see Jobs' point about PDAs. I've owned at least 4 of them over the years, and kept trying to really like them.... but in the end, each of them became little more than expensive toys. When the Palm first came out, people raved about how it was going to change the face of computing, and speculated that practically everyone would carry one around.

      Well, that certainly didn't happen. Heck, the entire time I owned a Palm device, I think I only had one opportunity to "beam" someone's con
  • A much better link (Score:5, Informative)

    by jbellis (142590) <jonathan@COMMAca ... .com minus punct> on Monday October 04, 2004 @08:00PM (#10435562) Homepage
    http://wwnc.newtontalk.net/program/paulguyot/slide s-paulguyot.pdf

    Turns out to be quite the interesting talk.

    more from the conference:

    http://wwnc.newtontalk.net/program/
  • by Kenja (541830) on Monday October 04, 2004 @08:07PM (#10435592)
    I smell NERDS! [tow.com]

    Good to hear the Newton isn't dead yet, I still have my 130 and 110s, sold my 2100 a while back however (the things where selling used for as much as a notebook PC, I just couldn't resist).

  • Does it run the New AmigaOS?
  • by pete_yandell (211045) on Monday October 04, 2004 @08:28PM (#10435743) Homepage
    Putting my nerd hat on, the really cool thing about developing for the Newton was the programming language that it used, called (unimaginatively) NewtonScript. Don't let the "Script" fool you...it was a serious language: bytecode interpreted, garbage collected, fast, compact. Pretty impressive for something running on a handheld back in the early 90s! I spent a while tinkering around with writing a NewtonScript emulator, and the internals of the language were beautifully designed. (I still struggle with Java today because it just feels so incredibly clunky in comparison.)

    One thing which would make emulating a Newton difficult is the memory management. It used an incredibly fine-grained MMU. I can't remember the page size, but basically it did mark-compact garbage collection, and did the compact bit by just shuffling page mappings in the MMU! Very neat, but difficult to fake efficiently on other hardware.
    • by xtermin8 (719661)
      I've heard rumor that NewtonScript was a dialect of Scheme- just how lispish is it?
      • by The Ego (244645)
        The "dialect of Scheme" was not NewtonScript but the _intended_ language for the Newton, Dylan [gwydiondylan.org]. The project did not deliver quickly enough, and NewtonScript replaced it.

        NewtonScript is based on templates rather than the traditional class-based object protocol derived from Simula (the one model many C++/Java/C# programmers associate with "object orientation").

        Practicing those alternative language make you feel very restricted when you come back to more mainstream languages. I really encourage you to l
        • NewtonScript is based on templates

          *cringe*

          Please, call them prototypes, not templates. The word "template" has acquired a horrible amount of C++ baggage.

          -jcr
      • by Anonymous Coward
        NewtonScript has a Pascalish interface, an unusual Prototype-style OOP model, first-class functions, closures, and Lisp-like s ymbols.

        In NewtonScript, objects are dictionaries which hash arbitrary things, each keyed by a Lisp-like symbol. The symbols are the slot names in the object. Functions stored in the objects, when called as methods on the object, automatically have access to a variable called this which refers to the object itself, and their scope automatically includes the object. A particular sy
  • Data soup (Score:3, Interesting)

    by steveha (103154) on Monday October 04, 2004 @08:48PM (#10435858) Homepage
    I'm wondering whether the "Data Soup" concept will be adopted by any major free, open source software (FOSS) system.

    The Newton, the Canon Cat, the shareware word processor Yeah Write, all had some kind of system where the user didn't need to worry about files. (I don't really know enough about the Newton data soup to comment on how similar or dissimilar these all were to it.)

    The only project along these lines that I know of is Gnome Storage [gnome.org].

    steveha
    • Re:Data soup (Score:4, Informative)

      by Graymalkin (13732) * on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:02PM (#10435945)
      Soups are just relational databases. Their relational aspect is what made them so useful on the Newton. If you stored an entry in your contacts it wouldn't end up steveha.vcf or something of that sort, instead the data would be added atomically to the Names soup. Later when you go to send an e-mail or fax to the contact (yourself for the sake of explanation) you would simply pick the steveha entry in your names to send it to and all of the appropriate information would be filled in because it would all be related in the database to the steveha entry. A note you wrote would be associated with its creation date and if you decided to file it in a group letting you not worry where it was and what it was called.

      This system is incredibly powerful because all sorts of data ends up linked to other sorts of data. It is possible to find all of the e-mails that have been sent to you by a particular person or a bit of text stored in a note you got passed by someone. The Newton through its soups had content searches far before things like Sherlock or Spotlight.
  • by adolfojp (730818) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:07PM (#10435966)
    Apple should join the PDA market. If they stick to their current trends, their PDA would be super stylish, super user friendly, and compatible with iCal and such. Mac fans would buy them just because... Many others would buy them because of the statement (if not perhaps fashion statement) they would make. Call it a iNewton with old Newton emulation and you would get many loyal Newton advocates to buy them also.


    Cheers,

    Adolfo
    • by jcr (53032)
      Apple should join the PDA market.

      Been there, done that. The question is: is the PDA market a place where a company like Apple can produce a device so compelling that people flock to it like they did to the iPod?

      Personally, I doubt it. Palm's already got a pretty good product, and from where I sit, the margins on PDAs really aren't able to support the kind of R&D expense that Apple would have to take on to be able to significantly exceed what's already out there.

      -jcr
      • The margins are certainly good enough. Look at some of the PocketPC PDA's out there, they cost $800. And that new zaurus is like $700 something.

        Give me a sweet clamshell pda with bluetooth and GSM/GPRS, and I'll gladly fork over the money for it. Make it possible to insert 2 SIM cards so it's two lines, and I'll fork over even more. Companies don't want to pay for personal calls, so most people end up with two phones. This would alleviate that problem, and be a great selling point just by itself.

        I ju
        • $1000? If it makes my life easier by allowing me to organize myself more effectively, communicate more effectively, and lets me carry less crap around with me, it's worth it.

          Ok, well, that's one sale. If you can point to 20,000 more people who are willing to spring for a grand for a phone/PDA device, you might have a business case.

          People will ditch their blackberries for it and expense them to their companies.

          And how many units is that? A million units? Half a million? Fifty thousand? They're
    • The PDA market has been variously stagnant or in decline for the last couple of years. New customers are more interested in having a smartphone instead. Not a very promising market to be in, let alone try to enter against established competition.
    • The PDA craze came and went. With the tight competition came lower prices. The profit margins on them now are not large enough to interest Apple.
  • by Bodhammer (559311) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:35PM (#10436106)
    Take: 1 Newton 2100 for handwriting

    CompactFlash for Music and Storage (microdrive)

    1 Zaurus SL-C860 for touchscree display, keyboard, Linux (Or FreeBsd/OsX)

    add Ethernet, Bluetooth, and 802.11b/g

    Full day battery(8 hrs) battery life with user 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!!!

  • by LS (57954) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:54PM (#10436177) Homepage
    I'm not big on toilet humor, but while flipping through the Newton Conference photos, I'm just wondering who farted... [tow.com]

    LS
  • Missing the Point (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:54PM (#10436179)
    Einstein is crucial to the Newton community. The problem we're stuck with is pretty straightforward: our machines are aging and slowly falling apart, but the software contained therein is still better than anything on the market. We'd like to jump to a new platform. Honest. We really would. But the existing offerings (software-wise) blow chunks compared to the big clunky Newtons we've got in our hands.

    Einstein, if we're lucky, will give us the chance to have our cake and eat it too. And trust me, the Linux-on-a-PDA folks would be very very lucky to have the myriad of high-quallity Newton apps running on their boxen. Beats the snot out of the crap running on Yopis right now, that's fore sure.

  • Sign me up! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fritter (27792) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:05PM (#10436230)
    I really hope somebody is able to put something together based on this. The only reason I don't still use my 2100 today is the size, a tiny Palm was just too good to pass up. But a lot of the reasons the Newton was so big back then don't apply today - we've got Secure Digital cards instead of PCMCIA, my Tungsten's screen is quarter-VGA like the Newt's, and it uses a similar but even more powerful ARM processor. On top of this, Palm completely dropped the ball with their insultingly lame Tungsten 5, and there's still a market for people who want a sleek, streamlined PDA instead of an "I can't decide if I'm a bloated PDA or a crappy computer" PocketPC.

    But you know what would be enough for me? If somebody would port something like the Newton's notepad to PalmOS. I haven't used a notepad app that even comes close. I really liked the whole application suite on NewtonOS, but in particular the way you could switch between handwriting recognition, sketches, outlines, and checklists so easily really got me hooked on PDAs.
  • by _vSyncBomb (50710) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @03:00AM (#10437361) Journal
    Whatever the (highly debatable, apparently) case may have been in 1998, modern times have caught up with the worldview of Steve Jobs: the PDA concept is yesterday's news.

    It's natural successor is the smart-phone concept--or, in other words, the "everything-a-PDA-was-ever-supposed-to-be-PLUS-A-C ELL-PHONE-AND-WIRELESS-INTERNET-(STUPID)" concept. (And throw in a digital camera and pocket mirror etc etc NOW HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY!?!)

    In those old Newton days, the PDA concept worked (witness the Palms, etc.) but whatever, Apple was hemhorraging money, Jobs hated Sculley and wanted to kill his baby, he just didn't get it, or blah blah blah. Whatever, man. Water under bridge.

    He may not have been right then, but he is now. These devices MUST have cell phone built in (which, conveniently, also comes with wireless 'net access).

    Apple obviously realizes this, because Jobs admitted to analysts that Apple recently took a new PDA all the way to the functional prototype stage, but decided not to market it. Of course!! Who would want a modern version of the Newton without wireless Internet and phone? Not very many people.

    (The obvious counterpoint is that a *LOT* of people would want a smart phone with the elegance of the Newton but smaller color hardware....)

    Those Newton freaks are right, you know; there *still* is nothing even half as cool as the Newton OS in the handheld space...)
  • I want a tablet Mac! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Psykechan (255694) on Wednesday October 06, 2004 @03:57PM (#10454139)
    Look, I am not a Mac zealot. I toy with the idea of picking one up every now and then but it quickly goes away when I realize that I just don't need one; my (Linux and Windows) PCs work just fine.

    However, I still to this day use my Newton. Sure I have started to use the iPaq a little more out of convenience (it syncs with my employer's Outlook) but it just means that I now use two PDAs; everything else is done on my Newton.

    I've tried the Palm and Pocket PC as replacements but they are just lacking. I still continue to carry my Newton with me along with my laptop and my iPaq.

    Honestly though, I would like to get rid of it. I love the functionality but the hardware is aging. Batteries are nearly impossible to find. I know that any sort of repair service is out of the question.

    What I would like is a tablet Mac. This could not only replace the Newton but my laptop as well. All the functionality of the Newton and the Mac OSX would be It may even be able to replace the iPaq, which would really be great. Then I think about how a tablet PC could replace my laptop and my iPaq and wonder how long I can wait.

    Unfortunately, the only thing stopping me from purchasing a tablet Mac is that Apple doesn't make them. Apple needs to realize that if they don't start releasing tablet Macs then the people who want a tablet system will go to Microsoft. Sadly, many of the people who do want a tablet system are the geeks, artists, and educators who traditionally fall into the Apple camp.

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