So you went to an Apple store, made your purchase, sold your soul to some wireless carrier, and now you have tons of free apps downloaded and your voicemail is all set up. You’re an iPhone 3G owner. What makes you so special? It might be that you don’t have an Apple Newton MessagePad to play around with.
ten eleven reasons to sell your 3G and take up the ten-years-abandoned Newton platform for fun and recreation:
- It’s cheaper. The Newton MessagePad 1×0 series may cost you $15-30, while the 2×00 series might cost you $100-200. But that’s it. Except for wireless cards and the extra stylus, there’s no “plan” or “rate” to buy in to. You pay for it once. That’s it.
- The batteries last longer. Way longer. Like, weeks longer. I’ve noticed that my 3G iPhone can last up to two days with light usage, but in the end I still have to plug it in. My Newton 110? I’ve lasted a month on the same Sanyo Eneloop batteries. No color and no wifi help, of course, but the point still stands.
- You can fax. Faxing may be on its way out, or at least moving to the electronic world, but the MessagePad’s ability to fax – with the special modem – can be an advantage if (Steve forbid) wifi or cell towers ever went down. It could happen, and faxing lets you use the tried-and-true phone lines to do your communicating. Someone may release a faxing iPhone app, but in the meantime, your MessagePad has the market covered.
- No in-store activation required. No lines, either, and if you use eBay, it’s not as scarce as you think.
- It’s more rugged. Drop your iPhone and step on it. Now drop your MessagePad and step on it. Which would survive the fall and subsequent stomping? Place your bets.
- Newtons qualify as “underground.” Retro. Rare. Counter-culture. Whatever you want to call it, the Newton fills the “not-everyone-has-one-so-mine-is-cool” gap the iPhone 3G left behind. Before, the iPhone 1.0 was the rare species, eliciting looks and whispers when someone whipped one out. Now, Apple is selling tons of them. Which means, like the iPod, the “coolness” factor dips a bit. Not so with your MessagePad. You could probably count on one hand the number of people who own one in your 50-mile radius. Kids these days love their retro and throwback technology – what serves that purpose better than a Newton?
- It still has fun games on it. Every cell phone in the world has Tetris and chess and tic-tac-toe. So does your Newton. If your gaming style is “simple” over “Crash Bandicoot Racing,” keep your Newton around. Many games can be had for free.
- You’ll never have activation problems. Maybe an error message now and again. But nothing on the scale of the “iPocalypse.”
- You already have a system that works. Why switch now? If your MessagePad fits your GTD needs already, switching to the iPhone involves setting up a whole new system. I, for one, am still trying to decide on what flavor of to-do app I want to use on my 3G. Save yourself the hassle.
- No AT&T involved. This goes along with point one, but really – any situation where you can avoid giant nation-wide media and communication carriers is a chance to show your shutzpah. Those of us who settled on buying an iPhone are still grappling with the catatonic depression that goes along with signing up with AT&T. And the fact that we had to wait in long lines to do so only strengthens the insult. Do your own thing. Hold your Newton tight.
- Your Newton is a “project” device. This is what originally drew me to the MessagePad. Setting up wifi and Bluetooth, sending and receiving e-mails, playing around with third-party apps and games, even syncing with OS X – the Newton gives you weekend projects that satisfy your inner DIY’er. The iPhone? Too easy. Unless you’re an app developer or a jailbreaker – in which case, Mr. Jobs would like to have a word with you – the iPhone is a device of convenience and comfort. You don’t even need Apple’s permission to make applications for the Newton. All you need is knowledge of NewtonScript, an inner drive, and a mild case of masochism.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m loving my iPhone. Just the camera and the GPS are worth the madness that I lived through that Friday in July.
Anything I haven’t thought of? Have a different point of view? Let me know in the comments.