Posts tagged “rumor”.

Apple.com, circa 1993

January 11th, 2010

Apple.com, circa 1993

Here’s the tablet before the tablet.

With all this talk of a tablet-type device set to descend from the foggy Olympus of Cupertino, I thought it might help to look back at Apple’s first flat computing device.

Yes, about 17 years ago Apple Computer released the original Newton MessagePad (OMP, or MessagePad 100). In August 1993, the company introduced a crude version of then-CEO John Sculley’s “Knowledge Navigator” concept. It was arguably the first personal digital assistant.

So I dreamed up what Apple.com might have looked like at the Newton’s launch in 1993, 10 years after my original retro Apple.com site featuring the Lisa in 1983.

This comes at the tail-end of the John Sculley era, right before the Mac PowerPC era, in the murky past when System 7 roamed the landscape and the PowerBook was changing the way we viewed laptop computers.

Behind the scenes, Apple was in full tablet mode. They saw it as a potential post-Mac future.

Back on the ground, Apple was having trouble seeing its dream become a reality. The OMP’s launch was plagued with problems, lowered expectations, and tragedy. But the idea – that you could do your computing and personal data management on the go – became reality, and it required a stylus.

Like the iPhone lacking its App Store, the Newton wasn’t fully operational at its August 1993 launch. Handwriting recognition was still iffy, and NewtonMail wasn’t operational yet. Some would argue that the Newton platform didn’t reach its true potential until the Newton OS 2.0 was released and the MessagePad 2×00 series came around. By then, however, the Newton brand had been stained, and the PDA line was finally killed by Steve Jobs in 1997.

For this retro Apple.com, I bowed to popular demand and used Apple’s skinny version of Garamond. I much prefer the new Myriad variation Apple uses, but some said the Garamond would look more authentic. So here it is.

The site also shows what was happening in the Apple ecosystem in 1993: the Mac TV would be released later in the year, the Power CD (both a music CD player and a CD-ROM for Macs) was the newest gadget, and capable Macs like the affordable LC III ruled the Macintosh world.

With all the talk of a rumored tablet, let’s not forget that, once upon a time, Apple had a tablet-style computer that ran apps, held ebooks, let you check e-mail, and managed your personal information. Now we use smartphones, but at the time the PDA was the closest thing to a tablet we could get.

Also remember: while the Apple press and public are busy waiting for some rumored tablet, there’s a big group of people out there using the original Apple tablet.

Patent pending

November 16th, 2009

Tablet, or Newton?

Is this the new, rumored Apple tablet? Or an old patent filing from the MessagePad days of yore?

The Next Web’s Boris says it’s an old Newton patent resurfacing, and that the rumored Apple tablet will not have stylus-based input. Little clues, like how the patent isn’t about a tablet but the stylus recognition system itself, and how weirdly familiar that bottom row of buttons looks, seem to say Boris is right.

These new patent pictures were released into an online hornets nest, with everyone waiting for news on this long-rumored iSlate thingy. Any clues, no matter how old or mundane, turn into a tea-leaves-reading session. Thing is, Apple applies for wacky patents all the time.

We’ve seen other patent pictures floating around the Web for years now. None of us know if this new, still-unseen Super Newton is anything like what we’ve seen before.

What do you think? Is this a new tablet, or an old MessagePad?

[Via Tai Shimizu and NewtonTalk.]

Newton Web Tablet

August 28th, 2009

Chris Barylick from O’Grady’s PowerPage, on upcoming Apple announcements:

Also likely is an introduction of iTunes 9, which has widely been rumored in recent weeks to make its debut with a handful of social networking features. Nothing is expected to be heard about the much anticipated Newton Web tablet, which isn’t expected to surface in any form until the first calendar quarter of 2010.

Hilarious. Apparently Barylick doesn’t agree with me or any other Newton fan who realizes that the rumored Apple tablet will not, in fact, be called a Newton.

[Via splorp.]

Apple’s tablet will not be a ‘Newton’

August 25th, 2009

Not a Newton

It may have only been in jest, but Larry Dignan’s suggestion that the rumored Apple tablet be called a Newton seems a bit far-fetched.

But ZDNet’s editor isn’t the only one mentioning both devices, one true and one maybe true, in the run-up to some Apple product that has more possible release dates than Smile.

I haven’t dipped in to the Apple Tablet pool because, just like the iPhone before it, we have little way of knowing what it will include, how much it will cost, when it will be unleashed, and what groundbreaking new whiz-bang feature it will release upon the world. There’s just no way.

And frankly, Apple isn’t going to release another “Newton”-named product in this lifetime. This is not a company who relishes in the past, and certainly not one who would want to revive a questionably-successful product’s name when another would do just dandy.

[Via NewtonTalk.]

Newton quote of the week – a device far ahead

July 23rd, 2009

“Since the tablet market is already somewhat established, Apple doesn’t have to create a market. They just have to release something like the iPhone in terms of a device far ahead of what the competition has been making available. In this case, that shouldn’t be too hard…”

- Ryan Vetter on the Newtontalk list, in the midst of a giant discussion on Apple’s rumored tablet.

While I would argue that the tablet market is “established,” I’ll agree that it’s just like Apple to take a so-so idea and turn it on its head into something insanely great.

Jeff Goldblum isn’t dead, but loves iBooks

June 26th, 2009

The news of Jeff Goldblum’s death were greatly exaggerated.

But the hoax did get me thinking about Goldblum’s Apple commercial run during the late ’90s and early ’00s. The iBook G3 clamshell, my favorite of the Mac portables, featured Goldblum in its initial commercial (above).

Apple’s tablet vs. the Newton: what will it take to make the switch?

March 17th, 2009

newton2touch

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.

Blogger describes the Mac tablet ideal

December 17th, 2008

apple2etablet

Holden Scott, over at This Old Mac, has a comprehensive round-up of Apple’s history and possible future in the tablet Mac realm.

Even before the iPhone launch, Mac fans have speculated about a possible tablet-style Mac. Holden looks at Apple’s history in this market (like the Apple IIe, above), both pre- and post-Newton, and gathers some of the recent patent applications from Apple that could forecast a Mac tablet.

Holden makes a fine case for the benefits of a potential tablet, including:

Making observations are just that much better since you can walk around and get close to the action with Tablet in hand, whereas a notebook would demand a desk of some sort, and would not allow you to interact with it as you walk around, etc.

It’s that kind of practicality that makes a potential tablet Mac so attractive. What do you think? Is Apple’s next big project the tablet Mac/bigger iPhone?

[Image courtesy of Uknet Gallery.]

Macbook Touch: new Newton 2.0 rumors surface after conference call

July 22nd, 2008

Here we go again.

After Apple’s third quarter 2008 conference call, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer hinted at “product transitions” – and BOOM, everyone goes nuts over What That Means.

It could mean something as simple as Macbooks being $200 cheaper (imagine that!), but that wouldn’t be as exciting. Oh dear, no. Instead, the Newton 2.0 engines – also known by Macbook Touch, now – have fired on all cylinders and are charging ahead.

Which is cool. This thing has been around as long as…well, as long as this blog, actually, and probably before.

It’s not enough that everyone loses their friggin’ minds after the financial results and AAPL shares fall like a stroke victim. No, we have to dig up this dry-bone skeleton.

Drop Mac prices, drop iPod prices – hell, start giving MobileMe away (you sure as hell can’t sell it). But don’t drop Mac tablet rumors again.

Although those new patent pictures

My bet for WWDC.

June 3rd, 2008

Something along the lines of what the Cult of Mac guys are thinking: that the 3G iPhone will just be a warm-up.

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.

So a week from now, I have a feeling we’ll all have something new and exciting to talk about besides a 3G iPhone.

That’s all I got.