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Portables (Apple) Businesses Handhelds Operating Systems Software Apple Hardware

The Newton O.S. Creeps Toward New Hardware 278

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 @08:31PM (#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)
  • by curtlewis ( 662976 ) on Monday October 04, 2004 @08:36PM (#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!

  • Re:To be honest... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Feneric ( 765069 ) on Monday October 04, 2004 @08:45PM (#10435462) Homepage

    It's kind of unfair judging the entire Newton line based on the original model.

    It's a little like saying that Windows XP sucks (not for all the obvious reasons) because you've used Windows 1.0 (or even 3.1) and dislike all its limitations.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Monday October 04, 2004 @08:57PM (#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,, Calandar and AddressBook.
  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:07PM (#10435592)
    I smell NERDS! []

    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).

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:55PM (#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.


  • Sign me up! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fritter ( 27792 ) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:05PM (#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.
  • Re:Data soup (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:47PM (#10436409)
    Sounds very much like the plan for WinFS. Only 10 years earlier.
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:57PM (#10436457) Journal
    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 contact info from their organizer into mine as the "21st. century version of exchanging business cards". 99% of the time, when someone wanted to give me their info, they didn't have a PDA handy. So I'd just get a paper card or info scribbled on a piece of paper.

    Half the time I owned my Palm IIIx, I'd go to use it only to find the batteries were about dead, because my wife got in the habit of playing card games on it at night before bed (with the backlight on the whole time, of course).

    There still seem to be more than enough Newtons to go around, judging from eBay. (I've even seen a few "new in the box" ones auctioned there as recently as a month or two ago!) So if Jobs wants to blow off that whole market and leave it to others, I don't see why that's really such a big deal.

    The only PDA I currently use is my Kyocera 7135 Smartphone - and honestly, the phone number info in its contact list is about the only crucial data I have in it. The rest is just stuff I use just because I can, like AvantGo -- but it's not a "critical application" by any means.
  • Re:Still viable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bastian ( 66383 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @12:00AM (#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:You forget... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @12:40AM (#10436684) Journal
    It was pretty common knowledge/speculation in the press at the time that Newton was killed by Jobs in a little tit-for-tat to Sculley.

    Two things:

    1) Sculley had been gone from Apple for many years by that point.

    2) Jobs had a company to save. I think he had a bit more on his mind than taking a cheap shot at somebody who could have no further impact on his life or career.

  • by Barlo_Mung_42 ( 411228 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @02:18AM (#10437073) Homepage
    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 _vSyncBomb ( 50710 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @04:00AM (#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...)
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Tuesday October 05, 2004 @04:34AM (#10437440) Journal
    $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 not a public company, so they don't have to tell anyone.

    I see a lot of product announcements on their web site, but nothing about sales volume. Nevertheless, the blackberry is a very good product, which makes it that much harder (read: more expensive) to try to top it.

    Apple could charge almost whatever they wanted for a phone/pda device, and they would get it.

    I *wish* that were so, but it's just not the case. Apple's had its share of products that everyone thought would fly off the shelves, but fell far short of projections. (Not too many of them lately, thank goodness, but nobody bats a thousand.)

    Look at the ipod when it came out. What was it? Like 10GB for $499? People payed that, they *flew* off the shelves.

    That's because the iPod was so much better than the existing MP3 players. Can Apple (or anyone else) make a phone or PDA that's *that* much better than the current crop? I don't know, but what's clear is that it would cost a whole lot of money to find out.


Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.