Posts tagged “ipod touch”.

NewtVid: Newton look-back while waiting for iPod Touch

November 9th, 2009

The Apple Newton PDA – Review

Todd Ogasawara gives us a tour of his MessagePad 130 while waiting for his iPod Touch, for old-time’s sake.

[Via NewtonTalk.]

iPhone stylus in the wild

September 11th, 2009

iPhone stylus

Saw this little beauty in a local auto parts store (!), right next to iPhone skins and car chargers.

I like how it says “makes it EASY to use your iPhone.” Like using a finger is hard? Maybe if you have big fingers.

The most useful part of the package might be the included gel skin, but I can’t say that in all fairness. I haven’t tried an iPhone stylus.

Shucks, I even press some of the Newton’s on-screen buttons with my finger, just to get things moving along quickly.

Newton quote of the week – The most compelling PDA on the market

May 12th, 2009

“The Newton’s gone, but it looks like, at present, Apple has the most compelling PDA on the market. Go figure.”

- Blake Patterson at Byte Cellar. Blake is co-founder of the excellent iPhone gaming blog, Touch Arcade. Check out my interview with Blake, too.

11 ways iPod Touch beats the Newton

September 29th, 2008

By popular demand (“popular” being the two comments I received on my original “Newton-vs.-iPhone” post a week ago), today we’ll explore how an iPod Touch beats the Newton MessagePad in a war of handheld Apple devices.

This kind of thing has been done before, but never have the iPod Touch and Newton gone head-to-head in a clash of styles and features. Clearly the iPod Touch has advantages, thanks to modern touch-screen technology and miniturization, that were but a gleam in the Newton’s monochrome eye in the late ’90s.

There will be the die-hards out there that won’t believe a word here. But the march of progress goes on. Here we present the top 11 ways the iPod Touch beats the Newton to a smashed-circuit-board pulp:

  1. It’s smaller. No duh, right? But really, Steve Jobs’s obsession with smaller-is-better comes to life in the iPod Touch. It’s thinner, lighter, and smaller than the classic “iBrick” Newton, and holds enough computing power to put a 1997-era Mac to shame. You can fit it in your pocket, and it rests comfortably in your palm.
  2. Web browsing is better. Much better. In fact, besides Flash and Javascript, the iPod Touch’s MobileSafari browser is just about all you’d ever need. Browsers like NewtScape can’t hold a candle, or a CSS file, to the iPod Touch. Try checking your Facebook profile on your Newt. ‘Nuff said.
  3. It’s the best music player out there. Yes, it’s possible to listen to music on your Newton. But give it a try on your next 3-hour plane ride and you might wish for an old fashioned Sony Walkman. The iPod Touch is the most interactive music player out there. Plus it plays videos, movies, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  4. The games are way cooler. While there are tons of games available for your MessagePad, the iPod Touch offers those games and more. Browse through Touch Arcade sometime and you’ll come to realize that, with your iPod Touch, you’re holding a PS2-capable machine in your hands.
  5. Easier syncing with modern Macs. There are ways to sync your Newton with OS X, but it’s kind of a project. With the iPod Touch, you just plug it in and – BAM! – your Address Book, iCal, and Safari info is magically synced with your Macintosh.
  6. App writing is easier. That’s at least party true these days. Find a NewtonScript manual, boot up your text file, and start slashing away at a Newton app. Now do the same with an iPod Touch 2.0 app. Which is easier? Which has the biggest learning curve? Chances are, you’ll enjoy yourself a bit more with the iPod’s SDK. With the Apple App Store, people can find your app easier, too (though UNNA is a godsend to Newton users). Plus you don’t have to hunt down long-gone registration keys and long-dead software companies.
  7. It’s sexier. This one’s more subjective (like the “underground” argument I made in the Newton-beats-iPhone post), but it stands to reason: the slick metal and glass is many times more lickable than the Newton. “Slickness” is an adjective that has come to define Ive-designed Apple products these days. The argument could be made for the eMate, but since no new product designs have come from the MessagePad camp, this one’s an easy win for the iPod family.
  8. Wifi comes standard. Putting Wifi on the Newton takes some work. Not so on the iPod Touch. Wifi is in everything these days.
  9. Two words: full color. A cheap-shot, but the iPod Touch’s gorgeous full-color screen is a beauty. We can check e-mail in color, browse the web in color, and see all our contacts in full, gleaming, rainbow-splattered color. The Newton’s 320 x 480 antique black-and-green screen held its own back in the day.
  10. Two more words: more memory. Those flash memory cards sure were handy. But 32 gigs? Who can compete with that? I could store 90% of my music collection on an iPod Touch. Fitting two or three songs on a Newton, however, would be pushing it.
  11. It’s the future. Let’s face it: there are no more Newtons in development. There may be Newton-like projects in the works, but most likely we’ll never see another Newton MessagePad. Ever. iPods? They come out every friggin’ year. And they keep getting better. There are only so many hacks you can perform on a MessagePad, and it’s a losing fight. Apple pays people to design new iPods. Newton hackers? Not so much.

So there you have it. The critics can be happy now that I’ve given the iPod Touch – a device some would argue most deserves the Newton mantle – it’s proper credit, we can bow before the modern Apple machine. The Newton, being ten years older, doesn’t stand a chance in this fight.

I say all this with a lack of passion. What Newton user can blame me? I like to stick up for the Big Green Machine whenever I can, especially when the fight isn’t fair, and I learned that the Newton brings with it a community of passionate users. The iPod Touch? Any 15 year old can go to a Wal-Mart and buy one. Where’s the passion in that?

Apple ‘Let’s Rock’ updates: a ‘Pod,’ now more than ever

September 9th, 2008

Why call a music player an “iPod?”

Because, in time, that “Pod” will be much more than a music player. It will be a device to browse the web, play games, check e-mail, get things done, keep track of your contacts, and help you get fit with the right pair of shoes.

Is that what Apple was thinking when it first released the iPod in 2001?

Because that’s what an iPod is today. While the base model, the iPod Classic, is still mainly a music player, even it can play a few games and watch videos. The rest of them have become “pods” in the true sense of the word.

Back when the fruits of the iPhone/iTouch SDK were on display, it dawned on me that “iPod” is now the perfect name for what Apple’s media device does. It’s not an “iWalkman” anymore.

Essentially, the Newton MessagePad was a mini-computer: something to help you write documents and make up spreadsheets and track your contacts and do some database work. Yes, there were games, and yes, you could even listen to music – but it was primarly a work machine, even if the work it did was in your home.

The iPod, and it’s iPhone offshoot, is a consumer of media. You put stuff on it, or search stuff out, to keep entertained. That could be reading or music or TV shows or whatever. And you can get work done on the iPod/iPhone (e-mail, calendar, third-party apps), but it wasn’t made exclusively for work like the Newton was.

As months go by, we see more and more why “iPod” is a perfect name. Even if Apple didn’t intend it, it’s money-making media device’s name fits like a glove. You hold this thing in your hands, and it has access to the whole world. No wires! Like magic! It’s your pod – your iPod.

Anymore, the iPod Shuffle is the sole music-only device left in the iPod lineup. It does what it does, and nothing else, just like the original iPod did (in fact, Gizmodo argues change is bad).

The only true evolution of the Newton platform was the eMate, which included a built-in keyboard. Every other MessagePad kept the simple idea: scribble stuff on a screen with a stylus. The MessagePad got faster and bigger and could include more apps, but it essentially kept the original idea intact.

Not so with the iPod. Apple has driven it from a music player to a music player/video watcher to a music player/video watcher/Internet browser/App runner/Save the World device.

Part of me wonders whether some of this stuff – the shake to shuffle, the Cover Flow – is needed, when some basic issues of the iPod Touch/iPhone platform remain unresolved. Maybe because it’s easier?

Either way, the focus doesn’t shift totally away from music from here on out. People buy iPod mainly to carry their music around. But how much more can the iPod lineup evolve in terms of music? Most of the revolutionary stuff we’ve seen has come from apps and games and cloud computing stuff. Music is there, but it’s only a fraction of the “pod-ness” of the iPod now.

So the name fits even better – more so than iTunes, which controls far more than your tunes these days (“iDock” is more like it).

Is anyone worried about the dreaded “feature creep,” like Gizmodo is? Does today’s “Let’s Rock” event show the iPod’s attempt to cover too much?

An AAPL a day keeps the speculators away

June 24th, 2008

The AAPL plateau, or twin peaks?

The madness continues, but us AAPL investors have to be feeling better than we were just a few months ago.

Conventional wisdom says buy on the rumor, and sure enough – after the iPhone 3G announcement, AAPL stock took a bit of a dive. It’s been bouncing back and forth (with the markets, apparently, in red and orange above), now resting at $173 as of today’s closing.

Apple is in good condition, and with the iPhone price drop, I can only imagine things will get better. And others agree (including a blogger I read regularly over at The Simple Dollar). The final pricing point doesn’t matter. What’ll be interesting is to see how the stock performs come July 11, when lines outside Apple stores will surely beat last year’s. I hope to be at our own Ann Arbor store that morning. If it’s anything like the store’s opening, it should be a fun day, indeed.

For all the speculation and gambling and non-news that gets thrown around in regards to Apple, what matters most is the ability of the company to churn out high-quality computers and phones and music players that people want. And they are doing that.

If, as king-hell capitalists believe, a company’s stock price is the true measure of its worth, than Apple is in good condition. Says one analyst (thanks to Reuters):

Analyst David Bailey also raised his target on the stock to $220 from $185, and said Apple should be able to increase its available iPhone subscriber base by more than 80 percent this year due to aggressive expansion into international markets.

Will all that optimism change should that Jobs guy leave the company?

Who can tell? The experiment marches on, anyway.

WWDC ’08: Putting the ‘pod’ in ‘iPod Touch’

June 9th, 2008

iPhone 3G and iPod Touch

Lots going on at the WWDC 2008 keynote, which I finally streamed and watched with much joy. Watch it yourself to see all the action, clapping, and skinnier Steve Jobs.

In the meantime, a few thoughts:

  • iPod is now a great name. Some folks made fun of the name “iPod” when it was first released. What’s so “pod” about music, after all? But now it fits perfectly. With the iPod Touch, the “pod” become the mobile computing platform – a place to get your e-mail, web, games, and – yes – music. The iPod is now a “pod” for your mobile computing platform.
  • “We’ve learned so much.” Here, Jobs displays some real humbleness. .Mac kind of sucked. MobileMe is an improvement of sorts. And Apple admits they had things to learn. That’s great.
  • $199? That’s all me. But because I’m such a big fan of the white Apple products (iPod, iBook, everything), I may splurge and grab the 16 GB version. No 32 GB iPhone? That does stink.
  • Wait for the Snow Leopard. I wished for a refurbished iMac with Leopard, but now I may just wait until Snow Leopard is released. Why not? “Improved” is always a good word when OSes are concerned. And waiting has seemed to pay off for me so far.
  • Chinese character recognizer hack? I can see it happening. Use the handwriting recognition app for Chinese characters and hack it so it will recognize English characters. Boom – a Newton-like HWR emulator. And Jobs was right in the keynote: the lack of plastic keys or a physical stylus actually plays in the multi-language-supported iPhone’s and iPod Touch’s favor.

Now I have to wait until July 11 (or maybe a day or two after, depending on lines and in-store activation), but oh well. This is what I’ve been waiting for. A true successor to the Newton has been born.

Behold: iPhone 3G

Newton’s fourth law: all Newtons will die

May 19th, 2008

Nothing lasts forever. The Buddha taught us that. So what happens when, someday down the road, all the Newtons currently in operation cease to work?

It’s bound to happen. MY MessagePad 110 is now about 15 years old; that lifespan is probably way longer than Apple ever intended. Consider that versus most iPods, which last a few years at best. They’re made to be replaceable.

How will MessagePads operate 10 years from now, or 20? Will there even be a point in owning one that far down the road?

It’s not like Apple is going to make any more Newtons. All that exist at this moment in time are all that will ever be. What we have is it. Sure, someone may discover a lost hoard of MessagePads locked in some corporate vault someday. But eventually, even those will stop working.

Is this discussion even worth having? Will we care if there are working Newtons in operation 20 years from now? Will our kids? Will their kids even know what a Newton is/was?

Deep thoughts on this night. Perhaps too deep for rational thought, but worth bringing up if only because rumors of a new Apple tablet are still floating around. The Newton is probably being replaced, philosophically, by the iPhone and iPod Touch. What comes after that? Will there ever be a Newton 2.0? What will the Newtontalk list discuss in 2018?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Why a Newton emulator would be fun on iPhone

March 20th, 2008

An iPhone on the Newton?

I took my suggestion from the iPhone SDK announcement and posed an offer to the Newtontalk mailing list:

So who wants to take up a collection for the $99 developer’s fee, grab a bit of Cocoa, and make a Newton Touch app? I’ve got $5 toward the effort!

One reader, Simon, correctly pointed out that the software developer’s kit was actually free; it’s the right to upload software to, and therefore receive the blessing from, Apple’s App Store that costs $99.

The point is still there. With reports of 100,000 downloads of the iPhone software kit, there has to be someone out there that is thinking, “You know what would be fun? A Newton emulator!”

Is this even possible? Plenty have reported on the limitations imposed on software developers – no app can remain open in the background, no scripting, etc. – so that Apple can keep the platform secure.

Mattias of Robowerk.com says the limitations could cripple the entire thing:

The iPhone SDK has severe limitations in its license that would make an Einstein emulator useless. Apart form having to disable the ability to install packages in order to conform, we would also not be able to run in the background, so no alarm or calender events (it may be
possible to solve the first issue by wrapping Newton packages and have them installed through iTunes which would give the per-application control back to Apple). There is also the lack of pen input and a very high resolution, yet small screen, which makes HWR impossible and hitting a Newton button extremely hard.

But there has to be a way to, say, scribble something on your Newton Notepad app and have it show up in iPhone’s Notes. Or scribble in a contact into Newton’s Names and have it sync to Address Book. Same with Calendar and iCal.

This would solve one of the main dilemmas today’s Newton user faces: the difficulty connecting a MessagePad’s information with OS X. If an iPhone could run a Newton app, syncing would be a breeze.

On their own, the iPhone and iPod Touch are becoming what the Newton always dreamed of: a platform to organize your computing life on the go. So there really is no need for a Newton app other than to just play around with and show to your geeky friends. They’re based on two totally different input philosophies (though there is a stylus available for the iPhone now, as we’ve seen), and I can see why switching from one to the other would be pointless.

Someone on the Newtontalk list brough up Apple’s possible resistance to a Newton app being made available in the first place. All applications have to be certified by Apple before users can download them from the App Store, and Apple probably has no interest in seeing its ten-year-dead OS making any sort of reappearance. There are still jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches out there, though, that provide a handy bypass system.

The idea of the Newton lives on in the iPhone: novel input mechanism, calendar and contact syncing, e-mail, web surfing, dock-loading applications, etc. And when developer start churning out to-do apps and financial apps and gaming apps, all that will be left untouched will be the Newton’s handwriting recognition. The iPhone will be what the Newton wanted to be when it grew up, in full color.

But when developers program videos like babes washing your iPhone’s screen, or apps that mimic the Nintendo Entertainment System (as Newton developers did with Newtendo), a fun Newton emulator doesn’t seem like such a worthless project.

My hope for the iPhone SDK.

March 6th, 2008

iNewton SDK?

I hope someone takes that $99 developer’s fee, makes a iApp that mimics the Newton’s OS, and gives it away for free on the iPhone App Store.

Shucks, as easy as Steve Jobs made it sound, developing a Cocoa Touch Newton program should be a piece of cake.

Here’s hoping.