Posts tagged “touch”.

Touch screen iMac G4 idea

June 29th, 2010

iMac Touch?

Austin Leeds at Low End Mac:

Apple could revive the design of the iMac G4 (with sharper angles, a thinner display, and integrated speakers – all in unibody aluminum, of course). By utilizing the oh-so-ergonomic display design, touchscreen computing could be made quite comfortable. And cute.

Well there’s an idea – although I wonder if you need a G4-style body, with the domed based and swivel neck. Wouldn’t another version of the current iMac do just as well?

Part of me (okay, all of me) would love to see the old G4 design return. Practically, it would be nice to bring the screen closer if you need to touch it. Or maybe tilt it a bit to do some drawing.

File this in under “what happens if/when iOS and Mac OS combine.”

Apple TV as odd-product out

March 19th, 2010

Apple TV

The Apple TV has had an interesting history. Starting out, it accompanied the iPhone as Apple’s “next big thing,” even if its spotlight was dim in comparison with the iPhone’s.

From then on, it became a “hobby,” and now I wonder if it’s even that.

Consider this. On the Apple.com Store, the “above the fold” shot looks something like this:

Apple.com store homepage

Notice anything missing? The Macs and iPods and Touch devices are all there in the circle. But no Apple TV. In fact, to find any mention of the Apple TV anywhere on the Store homepage, you have to look under the “For iPod” section:

Apple TV under iPods

Deeper in the store, the Apple TV gets a mention, but under Mac Accessories. So is the Apple TV for iPods or for Macs?

What gives? If Filemaker Pro and Apple’s printer bundle can get a graphical mention on the Store homepage, why not Apple TV?

I put together a current Apple product lineup grid, showing the available desktops, notebooks, touch devices, iPods, and what I call “Misc.” – which just means anything that isn’t any of the above categories:

Current Apple product lineup

The “Misc.” section is a mish-mash. Displays, peripherals, networking and backup products – and the Apple TV. One could argue that it belong with the iPod, but I consider iPods portable music devices. And the Apple TV isn’t quite a Mac, either, even though it runs a version of Front Row and connects with an iTunes library.

No, it’s just kind of out there on it’s own. It has no rock-solid home in the current Apple lineup.

On the other hand, imagine if we added some other category. We’ll call it “Entertainment,” and then add all the other items under “Misc.” as a kind of peripherals-only section:

Hypothetical Apple product lineup

For “Entertainment,” we have to imagine the Apple TV as its own category – perhaps a harbinger to things to come. Of what? There have been rumors of some sort of Apple television. Maybe they’ve been waiting for competition. Maybe they’re striking a deal with Netflix and Boxee right now. Maybe there’s a flatscreen TV out there with an Apple logo on the back, waiting to be released.

It’s just speculation, and I don’t consider it a worthwhile rumor for the time being. Apple, now, seems focused on its Touch devices – specifically the iPad. The Apple TV is surely stuck in some development limbo. One could even argue that the fourth-leg of the Apple stool is now the iPad instead of the Apple TV.

We’re also seeing the Apple product lineup gain some complexity, with the Apple TV fitting in nowhere that makes sense. Remember when Steve Jobs returned, and he cut everything Apple was doing at the time (killing the Newton, say) down to the very minimum? He filled in the final slot in the G3 lineup at the iBook launch in 1999:

Mac G3 lineup

Back then, you had two consumer Macs and two pro Macs. In the G4 era, things became a little less simplified with the PowerMac G4 Cube (unless you want to lump it with the regular PowerMacs) and the iPod. But even then, you could fit products in definite categories: consumer Macs, pro Macs, smaller iPods, and full-sized iPods.

Where does the Apple TV fit in all this? Nowhere neatly that I can figure out. And Apple quarantining the Apple TV from the Store homepage seems to send a message. “If you really want an Apple TV, you’re going to have to dig.”

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.

iPhone stylus reviews by Macenstein

September 4th, 2008

Macenstein does a great, in-depth review of two iPhone styluses after figuring that drawing with a finger is too hard to do.

One is the Pogo stylus, which we’ve covered here before. The other is a Japanese Touch Pen Stylus. Dr. Macenstein puts the two to the test by drawing – of all things – Sponge Bob Square Pants.

Check it out. In the meantime, any thoughts on an iPhone stylus? Does it ruin the whole thing, or is it a good way to get your modern-day Newton fix?

Apple replaces iPhone platform with ‘iNewton OS’

April 1st, 2008

Steve Jobs announces nPhone on April 1

CUPERTINO, Cal. – In a surprising move, Apple, Inc. (AAPL) announced today that it would drop its award-winning OS X Touch platform on iPhone and iPod Touch models in favor of its long-dead Newton operating system.

The updated Newton OS, the software used to run Apple’s discontinued MessagePad PDAs during the early and mid ’90s, will be called “iNewton,” according to an Apple press release.

“We believe the Newton OS is, by far, the superior platform, and truly belongs on our Touch-based products,” Phil Schiller, Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing, said. “We made a mistake. The mobile OS X was a good platform, but iNewton will blow everyone away.”

Featuring black and white graphics, a green screen, and a new stylus-based input approach, the iNewton OS looks much like the Newton OS it takes its name from. Apple launched the original Newton OS in 1991 with the MessagePad personal digital assistant, and followed up with a 2.0 release with the MessagePad 120 and later models.

The announcement sent Apple stock prices soaring, up $60 to a high of $200 per share as of the market’s closing. Worried investors, distraught over the recent nosedive in Apple share prices, rallied to bump up Apple’s stock to the highest level in the company’s history.

“The doubts about Apple’s ability to innovate are long gone,” said Isaac Naughten, a prominent Wallstreet banker, said after the closing bell Tuesday. “All the complaining about Apple’s walled-garden strategy in terms of development disappeared in an instant.”

Apple discontinued the Newton platform in March 1998, shortly after Steve Jobs took over the role as company CEO.

Now, Apple plans on launching a series of “n”-prefixed products – like “nMac,” “nPod,” and “nPhone” – in deference to the revamped Newton OS.

“We couldn’t call it ‘nNewton,’” Schiller said. “That would just be silly. But everything else gets an update in this new Newton-centric age. And you can call me the ‘nVP’ from now on.”

Apple’s goal of selling 10 million nPhones by year’s end may not take that long, said some Wallstreet analysts. The company may sell 10 million nPhones in April alone. Naughten agreed.

“I feel bad for those left with the old iPhone,” he said. “Because now we’re going to see a record spike in sales and adoption rates of the nPhone device.”

Newton MessagePad fans, a disgruntled but passionate underground community that still uses the defunct Newton platform, celebrated in online discussion forms. The previous Newton OS already featured a full software library, and many Newton developers said creating software to run on the new nPhone will a simple matter of porting.

There is no word yet from Apple on whether the Mac “Leopard” OS will be updated to reflect the n-centric naming scheme, but insiders hinted at a tablet-style Mac that will run the new iNewton software.

Executives at Microsoft, developers of the rival Windows operating system, were said to be baffled by the move.

“We didn’t see this coming,” Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, said in a statement. “But you can count on our next Windows release being monochrome, too.”

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.