Up next for Apple: the return of the Newton

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple Inc, which helped spawn the PDA market with its Newton MessagePad line in the early '90s, plans to give the concept another go with a modern day reincarnation of the old fan favorite based on the company's new mutli-touch technology, AppleInsider has learned.



For Apple, the ongoing project represents its second stab at reinventing the PDA since the Newton met its fate in the late 90's -- the first of which never saw the light of day and is only known to have existed based on a one-off comment from chief executive Steve Jobs over three years ago.



Speaking at the 2004 edition of the Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference, Jobs stated that he was proud not only of the products Apple had released in recent years, but also the products the company had decided not to ship.



When asked by an audience member to elaborate, Jobs said simply, "an Apple PDA."



It appears that Jobs and Co. never gave up hope, and instead returned to the drawing board. For the past 18 months, well-respected sources tell AppleInsider, a small team of Apple engineers have been at it again, this time tapping the company's revolutionary multi-touch technology as a foundation.



During that time, sources have observed the project slip in and out of limbo, as Apple struggled to meet its self-imposed June, 2007 launch date for the iPhone. In at least two instances, the company pulled software engineers off the project to assist in the completion of the iPhone software, only to return those same engineers to the their original task months later.



With the initial iPhone now out the door and two successive models well underway in Apple's labs, it's believed to be full steam ahead for the modern day Newton project. Like iPhone and the iPod touch, the new device runs an embedded version of Apple's Mac OS X Leopard operating system.



Externally, the mutil-touch PDA has been described by sources as an ultra-thin "slate" akin to the iPhone, about 1.5 times the size and sporting an approximate 720x480 high-resolution display that comprises almost the entire surface of the unit. The device is further believed to leverage multi-touch concepts which have yet to gain widespread adoption in Apple's existing multi-touch products -- the iPhone and iPod touch -- like drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste.



Artist rendition showing approximate size ratio to existing Apple handhelds | Artwork by audiopollution.



More broadly characterized as Apple's answer to the ultra-mobile PC, the next-gen device is believed to be tracking for a release sometime in the first half of 2008. Assuming the project remains clear of roadblocks, sources believe it could make an inaugural appearance during Jobs' Macworld keynote in January alongside some new Mac offerings. Still, manufacturing ramp and availability would seem unlikely until closer to mid-year, those same sources say.



As AppleInsider has hinted in recent months (1, 2), the next-gen PDA will signal the advent of a fifth core business segment (fourth if you discount Apple TV) for Apple, but at the same time represent just smidgen of what's to come from the company's new multi-touch platform, which has already proven to be a game-changer.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 313
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    I still have three of my Newtons! The iPhone simply represents where the Newton would have been had Apple kept-up its development, only it would have been better than this present release of the iPhone. If the iPhone had handwriting recognition I would be jumping for joy, and it would be an instant purchase on my part.



    This is truly exciting news, at least for me. The 2100 Newton got it right, but Newton was already dead, and only those of us who loved it dearly hung-on until the end.



    Cut my hair and shine my shoes

    And keep on singin' the blues

    If I can stay here in Apple's Newton garden
  • Reply 2 of 313
    This is why the iPhone and iPod touch is limited and Apple doesn't want you to put your own 3rd party apps on it. They have a PDA they want to push, and if some developer is writing apps that will do everything that this PDA offers it will equal low PDA sells. Just my .02.
  • Reply 3 of 313
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post


    This is why the iPhone and iPod touch is limited and Apple doesn't want you to put your own 3rd party apps on it. They have a PDA they want to push, and if some developer is writing apps that will do everything that this PDA offers it will equal low PDA sells. Just my .02.



    Pretty insightful comment



    Best,



    K
  • Reply 4 of 313
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    i don't get this. the iphone already does this and more, what would a larger form factor give you other than something harder to transport?



    Of course if they were going into the medical field it might find use, but its just too big, imho.



    we'll have to wait and see.
  • Reply 5 of 313
    sandausandau Posts: 1,230member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post


    This is why the iPhone and iPod touch is limited and Apple doesn't want you to put your own 3rd party apps on it. They have a PDA they want to push, and if some developer is writing apps that will do everything that this PDA offers it will equal low PDA sells. Just my .02.



    you might be right, but why would i want a phone .and. a PDA? that would make as much sense as an iPod, iPhone and PDA on my mega utility belt. (not going to happen).
  • Reply 6 of 313
    There would be no point to an entirely different device when you can just increase the features available on the iPhone and touch. My guess is that this would be released as another piece of the iPhone lineup rather than as the much discussed Newton replacement.
  • Reply 7 of 313
    gee, when I saw the Iphone, I said, yeah Jobs you told everyone Apple will not do PDA.



    But if you ask Apple or Jobs if it is a PDA they will deny it, since they believe it to be something more than a PDA.



    However, lets go back in time, to the Knowledge Navigator, I believe that we will see if the original Apple concept of the knowledge navigator, they talked about this for along time but all the technologies were not there to make it happen.



    Things have converge enough today to make this happen.
  • Reply 8 of 313
    nceencee Posts: 836member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sandau View Post


    you might be right, but why would i want a phone .and. a PDA? that would make as much sense as an iPod, iPhone and PDA on my mega utility belt. (not going to happen).



    Ture, but there are those of us, who don't want / need an iPod or iPhone, who will gladly purchase a iNewton:, iPDA, itrack, iplan or whatever they end up calling it



    Skip



    PS Not sure who said it, but "Give the folks, what they want" ? or was it "Build it, and they will come"
  • Reply 9 of 313
    I wonder if this will play music/video like the touch. It does'nt seem that this would cut into those sales of the Touch, even if it did, because of the size. i think it will have wi-fi an BT. what else?
  • Reply 10 of 313
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    It seems a little too soon and quite a lot to add to a product line so recently. That said, this think might have enough room to offers storage from a 1.8" hard drive, it could be more compact than any portable DVD player, offer room for maybe 100 movies, in a screen size that's competitive to a portable DVD player. It kind of sounds like another "hobby" device, but it is an interesting one. Isn't it a little large though? Newton was just huge and thankfully Palms were of a more reasonable size.
  • Reply 11 of 313
    A sleek modern PDA with enough "juice" would actually be a semi-replacement for carrying a laptop. It would also be much easier to type on with human-size fingers!



    The future of laptops is ultra-portable designs that don't get as hot as an oven and have sturdy flash-drives and get superb battery power. I would rather be carrying something like this while I'm traveling than a full-size laptop.

  • Reply 12 of 313
    It's like deja vu..... all over again.



    Just to be sure. I just read an article that said Apple was going to release the Newton, again. Right?
  • Reply 13 of 313
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sandau View Post


    you might be right, but why would i want a phone .and. a PDA? that would make as much sense as an iPod, iPhone and PDA on my mega utility belt. (not going to happen).



    I going out to my shop to start fabrication of my Mega Utility Belt today!



    I am damn giddy over this AppleInsider news...I mean the potential return of the Newton? Too cool.
  • Reply 14 of 313
    I already carry around a iPod and a Smartphone. I say just open up the iPhone, somewhat, and let me ditch my smartphone.
  • Reply 15 of 313
    rolorolo Posts: 686member
    I have the original Newton. When I got my iPhone, the first thing I thought was the iPhone didn't have some of the capabilities of the Newton. Combine the best of the Newton with the iPhone and Apple would have something truly amazing. Add a bunch of killer apps and you'd have a palmtop Mac.
  • Reply 16 of 313
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CREB View Post


    I still have three of my Newtons! The iPhone simply represents where the Newton would have been had Apple kept-up its development, only it would have been better than this present release of the iPhone. If the iPhone had handwriting recognition I would be jumping for joy, and it would be an instant purchase on my part.



    This is truly exciting news, at least for me. The 2100 Newton got it right, but Newton was already dead, and only those of us who loved it dearly hung-on until the end.



    Still have my Newton 120 and I hope Apple will give me a way to move all my old hand drawn maps to the new PDA. Except for the extreme Apple bashing that was going on at that time I think the Newton could have survived. I have never had a moments trouble with mine and the handwriting recognition has worked great for me. I can take notes and it converts to text it is almost always (with minor errors) perfect.
  • Reply 17 of 313
    The PDA is merely new functionality that will be added to the iPod and iPhone. Why on earth would you want a stand alone PDA without iPod or phone? C'mon guys, use your noggin. The iPhone and iPod touch ARE ultra mobile PCs, they just don't run a full suite of apps. But they are full powered PC devices running OSX and can pretty much run any desktop OS X app modified. You guys are seriously off the mark thinking this is a whole new device.
  • Reply 18 of 313
    Ah, an Apple Tablet based around something that is probably in-between Mac OS X and iPhone OS X in functionality and features.



    The on-screen keyboard should be easier to use though - in portrait mode it will be as big as the keyboard on the iPhone in landscape mode, although I think they would have to split it in landscape mode because the screen will be too big for thumbs to stretch to the centre.



    The release of the Tablet, if it happens, will probably come at the same time, or a couple of months after the release of developer tools for the platform (it ain't very useful if it doesn't have third party applications!). It might just be that the developer tools will also support the iPhone and iPod Touch - if this rumoured Tablet utilises an ARM chip still.



    Functionally it would be a larger iPod Touch + Bluetooth + user installable apps + more apps by default. No, it won't have a newton emulator for all those old applications...



    An SD card slot would be useful too, Apple...
  • Reply 19 of 313
    Allow an external keyboard (AND make your own, Apple) and I will never carry a laptop to class again.
  • Reply 19 of 313
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sandau View Post


    i don't get this. the iphone already does this and more, what would a larger form factor give you other than something harder to transport?



    Of course if they were going into the medical field it might find use, but its just too big, imho.



    we'll have to wait and see.



    Can the iPhone decipher "lunch with bob on monday" and intelligently schedule an appointment, the next monday, at noon, with the most popular "Bob" in your contacts (and give you the chance to correct it)?



    The Newton could. Nothing else today can. I believe Chronos got close, but that's a desktop app.



    Thin as an iPhone, the area of a paperback, the high points of a Newton? I'll take it.
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