The Times claimed “…Steve Jobs was pushing development of a new PDA-cum-cell-phone. Dubbed the iPhone, the device would lead Apple back into the dangerous ‘land of handhelds,’ the Times opined,” Kahney writes.
Flash forward a little under five years later, and everything comes to fruition. Amazing.
A pair of researchers studying the Cult of Newton found that such “brand communities” predicted or spread rumors that the MessagePad would return five times between its death in 1998 to 2002. “Through detailed analysis of news groups and websites,” Kahney writes, “the researchers conclude that the rebirth rumor is central to the ethos of the Newton community.”
Jesus Phone, anyone?
Any return of the Newton would simply validate “the platform’s technical superiority. If it’s good enough to be reintroduced, it’s good enough to keep using, fans reason.” Amen, brother. And the Newton idea did stick around: calendars, notes, third-party apps, unique input mechanism, e-mail on a handheld – they’re all there on the iPhone today.
I couldn’t believe I saw the word “iPhone” pop up in an article from 2002. We all know that Apple started working on the iPhone years ago. But sometimes those crazy rumors have a way of surfacing – and resurfacing – time and time again.
It’s kind of like right before last year, when the iPhone was first announced. The buzz was feverishly high. Remember that? And all those mockups and predictions came across the blogs, and everyone was going nuts.
Then Steve Jobs gave the demo, and it was better than anybody came close to imagining.
I think WWDC on June 9 will be just like that. All this hyper-excitement over the new iPhone (and well-deserved, I might mention), when all this time Jobs and his crew are planning something that blows us all away. As usual.
Daring Fireball did some digging on something called “Mobile Me,” and I think that might be the key everyone is ignoring (except Gruber, of course). But who knows? No one but a few Apple employees.
An oldie but goodie: a 2004 Cult of Mac story about bloggers using their Newtons to upload posts.
Mike (above) runs his Dumb Blogs Have More Fun moblog “almost entirely from his Newton.” What makes the Newton so handy for moblogs? Says Kahney:
the important thing for moblogging is the Newton’s portability; because it’s easy to carry, it’s always handy, and moblogging becomes a regular habit. The same is true of camera phones.
Unfortunately the link to Mike’s blog doesn’t work (you’ll notice that a lot with Newton sites), but this was an interesting look into the beginnings of the blogging craze – especially because it involves Newtons.
What caught my eye, however, was the binding on the cover of the magazine. Notice anything?
Wired had a bit of fun with the old-school Apple logo colors – placing them in the original order, even.
I didn’t even notice it when my subscription edition came, but today I sat at my desk, turned around, and *BAM* it hit me. The old Apple rainbow.
Say what you will about Wired pimping their writers’ upcoming books, or their stance on whether Apple is “evil” or not (because they do things differently?), but their design is fun. If you’re not an Apple fan, you may not have even noticed the subtle clue.
15. Dump (or outsource) the Newton, eMate, digital cameras, and scanners.
Huh. How about that. Interesting on number 59:
59. Invest heavily in Newton technology, which is one area where Microsoft can’t touch you. Build voice recognition and better gesture recognition into Newton, making a new environment for desktop, laptop, and palmtop Macs. Newton can also be the basis of a new generation of embedded systems, from cash registers to kiosks.
So which was it? Apple, at the time, was swimming in a sea of “we don’t know what the hell we are.” If they had stuck to the Newton and really ran with it, it could’ve been Apple’s iPod before there was an iPod. Let’s face it – the iPod helped save Apple. Now look what the iPhone is doing.
Speaking of which – how prophetic:
31. Build a PDA for less than $250 that actually does something: a) cellular email b) 56-channel TV c) Internet phone.
Thanks to Cult of Mac for reminding us of Apple’s conflicted frame of mind about the MessagePad.