Re: NTLK Purchasing Rights to the Newton...?

Date: Sat Aug 05 2000 - 04:19:35 CDT

On Sat, 5 Aug 2000, Peter Apockotos wrote:

> on 08/05/2000 04:28 AM, at wrote:
> In case you forgot, Apple _did_ actually cancel a working, functioning
> device that was selling reasonably well (for its price).....They actually
> stated publicly that they _were_ willing to sell it. but
> supposedly were asking too much money for it.
> 2. Actually the R&D on the Newton was so high that, if they still sold the
> unit's for the same price and quantity for the next 50 years they may have
> broken even. It is more cost effective for them to reabsorb the technology,

That investment was already gone. Having spent a lot of money on it in
the past is not a sane arguemtn for cancelling it.

> than to sell it and most likely that is why the offering price was so steep,
> to keep buyers away.

> They wouldn't do that merely to redesign it and re-release it.
> 3. Like I said before if what I understand to be true do not expect
> something to come out like the "PDA" we know now

So, then,
> I do not think that Apple is currently capable of producing something as
> good as the Newton.
> 4. Well I am not sure about that, Apple has some great people working there
> and deserve a lot of credit that they are not getting, in fact I was
> surprised that Steve even acknowledged them at Mac World NY

Oh, yeah, Apple does have some great people; a few of my friends are now
there, I've talked to lots of engineers at Apple. I still maintain that
Apple as it stands now is not capable of the truly uniquely innovative
stuff that the Newton was full of. AS a developer I see a huge amount of
the under the hood stuff that makes the Newton, IMHO, the most innovative
computing device produced in the last 10 years at least.

> 5. You are absolutely right! I never liked the idea of the Next Merger.
> At least it saved Apple, so far!

Err. Don't know how you got that, I think that the NeXT stuff was really
cool and am happy to see it live on. Some of the enhancements being done
to the Mach microkernel to give it lighter weight IPC stuff and decrease
message overhead are pretty good.

> I am aware of talk of incorporating handwriting recognition. That's an
> absolutely tiny part of the entire Newton system.
> 6. I have to disagree, the Handwriting recognition was the key technology
> in the Newton.

What about its data storage system and its use of persistant object stores
instead of a file system? The view system? NewtonScript and that virtual
machine? Transport architectures? The extreme object oriented nature of
the entire OS. The Newton uniquely innovated at virtually every
level. Even if you had, say, an eMate without handwriting recognition it
would _still_ be the most innovative computer of the decade. Its pen
based UI was innovative, but the actual recognizer itself is merely one
component of many. Throwing handwriting recognition into an OS, any OS,
will not make it into somethig as useful as the Newton.

> Please, since you are not actually under NDA and dont' know anything that
> isnt' public, justify your assertions.
> 7. Well I did not want to get into that because I did not want to let
> anyone down, as Newton users we have had enough of that!!!

That doesn't make sense to me. You won't back up your claims because we
might get suddenly hopeful? Sorry, I won't get hopeful. The people that
produced the Newton are gone. Newton is dead. I still code for it cause
it's the best system out there. But I'm way too cynical to get my hopes
up. Apple is focussing on a small core of things. They decided to not
pursue the PDA, it's that simple.

People have talked about how they're going to somehow contribute some
AirPort stuff. Apple didn't design AirPort, they bought it from somebody
else. The cards are OEM'ed lucent cards, the base station uses an
embedded 486 CPU and was designed by some other company. They pushed the
market forward very well, with cool looking products and very good
software behind them. The internal antenna designs are good. But these
are products, not technologies. Not R&D.


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