Hard to call it a Newton.

09Jan07

No handwriting recognition, not a revolutionary PDA OS, not green. Not a Newton. But it is pretty neat, the iPhone by Apple. I’m certain that if you have ever visited this page before you have already heard about this next big thing from Apple.

Some websites have been very quick to refer to the iPhone as the Newton’s return. As seen at http://www.osnews.com from their MWSF recap

All in all, the iPhone is a PDA. The Newton is back.

Let’s quickly go over a few key points as to what makes this statement correct/incorrect;

  • The iPhone is a PDA. The Newton is a PDA. It would be similar to say, “The Handspring Visor is back!” when refering to the Palm Treo. Yeah they are similar and made by what could be considered the same company but really, a totally different beast all together.
  • Touch screen interface. The Newton had a very large screen driven by Pen input, where the iPhone uses your fingers to input information and browse around. The 3.5″ inch screen could be large enough for everyday use and it will certainly stop all the detractors of the Newton who would constantly remark on its girth. What is neat about the iPhone display is the multiple touch input that it purports to have. Being able to touch two independant locations correctly instead of selecting some point in the center of both locations. Which was patented by Nintendo earlier on in 2006 (learn about the orignially planned features for the DS at DS Advanced.
  • The iPhone will sync with a PC, Mac, or Internet service while the Newton will force you to rip your hair out in clumps while running six copies of slowdown.exe to have your PC speak slow enough the Newton to synchronize anything. Of cource for the Mac there are many different options to sync with, none of which work well enough to mention here. I’m certain the detractors will say that if the Newton was reborn that it would be able to sync easily and with that I would agree. Still, this is just a quick run down of what makes this new product not a Newton.
  • What seperates the iPhone from the Newton the most is timing; Apple released the Newton to an unaware, unconnected world and had to show reasons why someone should buy one. The iPhone is a new and exciting device where Apple provides an answer to problem instead of offering both a problem and an answer.

Well, that’s enough of me splitting hairs on a product that looks like it could be a Home Run as a new take on how to meet the mobile life needs of today’s society. A great sounding device; large screen, a sizeable amount of storage, connection options a plenty, and a battery that promises upto 5 hours of use for talk, video, or browsing. I’m very excited to see where this ends up and what kind of development opportunities this will open up for the multitude of people waiting to switch to Cingular to pick one up when they are released.

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