Posts categorized “messagepad”.
In honor of today’s iPad announcement, here’s another Newton appearance on a “worst of tech” appearance — this time on Bloomberg’s Tech’s Biggest Broken Promises slideshow:
Known as Newton, the name of its operating system, the line of Apple handhelds set out to revolutionize computing with its touch-screen and handwriting-recognition software. The technology was so bad in the $700 debut models that it became the butt of “Doonesbury” jokes: “I am writing a test sentence” became “Siam fighting atomic sentry.”
Right. Bloomberg throws the Newton a bone by lumping it in with other “heavily hyped products that were ideas ahead of their time” — the like Betamax.
Well look at that: Thomas Brand’s minimal desk layout was featured by Simple Desks.
iMac? Check. Twitter bird? Check. Newton MessagePad? Check.
[Via Morgan Aldridge on Twitter.]
The Newton MessagePad is known for a few things: fast boot time, and long battery life.
Mac|Life challenged one of those features with the new 11″ MacBook Air, whose SSD allows for faster wake time. The results, as you can see above, were pretty stellar: both devices woke up lightning quick.
For years now, with the iPod, iPad, and the newer MacBooks, Apple has engineered ways to keep batteries lasting longer. Now that they’ve got that pretty well down, maybe they’ll concentrate on faster boot and wake times.
Pop in a few AAs into a Newton and it could last for weeks. Combine that kind of battery life with a faster boot time, and you’ve got one heckuva device.
The initial quake carried on for nearly a minute.
But it’s the aftershocks that have caused more stress. Occasionally one bumps through and the “here we go again…” thought comes to mind…
Schools are closed until Wednesday. All water needs to be boiled. Power, communications and water are restored to 90% of the city. Airports open. Railways closed. Reports of pools of quicksand appearing in one part of the city immediately after the earthquake. One woman fell into it and was up to her ears in it before her husband heard her cries for help and dragged her out.
Tony describes the scene from Christchurch, New Zealand’s recent earthquake. But if you know Tony, you know he’s got his Newton MessagePad ready.
Tony’s My Apple Newton is the premier Newton blog out there. Unlike Newton Poetry, which strays into Mac geekdom and random bits of culture, My Apple Newton is all business when it comes to the MessagePad. And here lately, Tony is on a much more prolific posting schedule than I can ever be. If you want to know more about how to use your MessagePad or eMate, and what makes it tick, Tony’s blog is the place to go. He’s the Newton user’s Newton user.
And in the middle of this natural disaster, Tony’s still rocking the Newton in posts like “Surviving the Christchurch Earthquake“:
Guess what was an indispensable tool in the aftermath? My Apple Newton. During the odd quiet moment I could relax by journalling what had happened and then email the updates to friends and family when power and communications were restored.
Even his updates are posted with his Newton, thanks to (I imagine) nBlog.
Pretty remarkable that something as “obsolete” as the Newton can come in handy during a crisis. It’s a tough little beast, and when the right kind of person wields it, the Newton remains a go-to tool.
All the best to Tony and everyone in Christchurch.
[Via Riccardo Mori at System Folder.]
From the New York Times’s original review of the Newton MessagePad:
The bottom line on the Newton Message Pad is that Apple promised too much and failed to deliver a useful device for everyday executive chores. On the other hand, the Message Pad practically hums with untapped potential, and six months (or moths) to a year from now it is likely to be a popular executive tool.
…When it was first described publicly more than a year ago by Apple’s chairman, John Sculley, the Newton was said to be a combination pen-based computer, personal organizer, fax and data communicator, and wireless messaging system.The Newton is indeed full of promise, but that’s not the same thing as fulfilling the promises.
I’m just trying to think of a situation where today’s Apple would release a product that had more “untapped potential” than actual usefulness.
The original iPhone, maybe? It didn’t have apps, cut/copy/paste, or any of the things we all take for granted now. But then we didn’t have to worry about faulty handwriting recognition. Today, it seems a new Apple product must have an immediate pick-up-and-use aura. Potential comes through iteration, sure, but you’re not left holding a device that inspires a yawn – or a question of its practical aspects.
The opposite argument is that apps didn’t come to the iPhone until a year after its launch, and then the whole world seemed to open up. With the Newton, it took until at least Newton OS 2.0 to get things in motion.
The kicker of Peter Lewis’s review comes at the end: “The possibilities are grand. For example, one can imagine cellular phone circuitry being shrunk to fit in the Message Pad’s credit-card-sized PCMCIA slot, or a Newton being shrunk to fit in a cellular phone.”
One can imagine, indeed.
“I don’t need a phone. What I need is a mobile communications device that can also manage my contact, calendar, and run some useful apps. That’s how I started down my path of indispensable electronic do-dads with the Apple MessagePad 130, aka the Newton 130.”
Johnson shares a bunch of photos of other Newton-powered PDAs, as well, such as the Sony Magic Link and Motorola Marco.
“I started collecting Newtons as they are easier to store than Macs,” he told me. “Space is a premium!”
Rik Myslewski at The Register takes a look back at the Newton MessagePad 120 in his “Before the iPad there was Newton” article:
The 120 was also the first MessagePad to be upgraded to Newton OS 2.0 (up from 1.3), in late 1995. This significant improvement over the first OS’s iterations was sadly ignored by most of the gadget-buying populace, whose minds had already been made up by the media Scheiße-storm over the shortcomings of the original Newton OS.
Myslewski takes the MP120 apart, exposing all its hard-wired innards, and explaining how the IRD, recharging station, and flash memory cards work.
It’s a good look-back at a turning point in the MessagePad hardware line, though – as Newtontalk wondered – Myslewski offers some arm-chair criticism at the eMate: “The less said about that Giger-inspired oddity, the better.”
Right. Well, thanks for the pictures at least.