Let’s say the improbable happens during the iPhone 3.0 media event today and Apple releases the rumored 10″ iTablet.
Are we then looking at the proper heir to the Newton MessagePad?
Back when I first started Newton Poetry, a few months after the iPhone came out, people were talking Newton 2.0 in the form of a larger-form iPod Touch: 10″ screen, iPhone OS, touch-screen input, etc. Even before that, as far back as 2002, rumors told of the Return of the MessagePad in some form or another.
Now the rumors are back, with evidence to boot, and meanwhile the iPod Touch/iPhone gets an update from Apple that could make its usability as close to the Newton’s as ever before.
Think about it: cut and paste, to-do and notes syncing, some kind of premium app store for business-centric applications.
Perhaps the only questions that remain are which rumored features will Apple leave out and wait to install next time? Over time, the iPhone will surely eclipse the Newton in its feature set (it may have already).
For us Newton users, how many features does it take for us to accept the iPhone as the successor to the Newton?
There are still Newton-like features missing on the touch screen platforms: a wide-open application base, handwriting recognition, innovative file system, and kick-ass battery life. Newton users never have to worry about Apple rejecting a great app, or of losing service thanks to AT&T’s sub-par network.
But still. Eventually, Newton users will have fewer and fewer excuses not to make an upgrade of some kind. If the very thing Newton die-hards are looking for – a bigger iPod Touch with full PIM capabilities – comes out in the next few months, will a lack of handwriting recognition be enough to hold off on making the purchase? What will be left lacking?
The Newton has more personality than devices twice its size and half its age. Part of it is its pioneering spirit, and part of it is its clever UI. Is that enough to make people hang on to their eMates?
Granted, no solution works for everyone, which is why some Newton users will never accept a system that (a) doesn’t allow for HWR and (b) features a crap-tacular battery life. The simplicity and intuitiveness of the Newton OS has lasting power, too. Apple may have had a hard time figuring out what to do with their device, but Newton users have no such hesitations.
Hell, with an iTablet, we still don’t know if we’ll get some kind of watered-down Mac OS X or a beefed-up iPhone OS.
Maybe some of my co-MessagePad fans can shed some light on this thing for me. Is this idea of the giant-sized iPod Touch enough to satisfy what you’ve been missing since 1998? Does anyone think an Apple tablet/netbook thingamabob gets released at this iPhone 3.0 event? Will some Newton users be forever locked in a world that existed 10 years ago?
Let me know in the comments.