[NTLK] iPhone is not the new Newton (& announcing a Newt sell-off shortly)

Riccardo Mori rick at poc.it
Sun Dec 27 14:29:06 EST 2009

quoth James Fraser:

> However, as Mr. Sattler asserts, Steve Jobs was anxious to sweep out everything liked by John Scully, and that included Scully's willingness to open things up (if only a little).

This "Jobs killed the Newton because Scully liked it" is an urban legend. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he was faced with a company in a very bad financial shape, bleeding money in too many projects that were not focussed on the main Apple product: the Macintosh line of computers. So he started cutting off everything that at the time was not centered on the Mac and everything that wasn't helping Apple make money. It pains me to even write this, but the Newton, at the time, was a financial dead weight. 

Who knows, maybe, with hindsight, the Newton could have been spared and could have thrived even more, but not without investing money in further research and development (for one, the hardware needed at least a speed/features bump). At the time, from all the literature I've read about the whole matter, decisions had to be made quickly, and Jobs acted accordingly, in the best interest of the company -- his company. So, seeing where Apple is now, and despite I hate the fact that the Newton died in the process, I can't really blame Jobs for the choices he made and the direction he pointed Apple.

> This attitude on Jobs' part is exactly why I do not yet own an iPhone: the technology the iPhone incorporates doesn't outweigh the "I know what's best for you" paternalistic philosophy that's so obviously a part of the device.

I've always bought devices for what they are, what they offer and whether they can be the best option for me, without really caring about Jobs' attitudes, especially because the anectodes about the man are so many I don't even know (and don't even bother to learn) which are true and which are not. I use both my Newton and my iPhone 3G simply because they're both great devices and I can have the best of both worlds in my backpack or case. I don't need and I don't want to jailbreak my iPhone because it meets all my current needs out of the box (and with the help of a selection of great apps from the App Store).

> I'd like a device that incorporates HWR the way the Newton does, not one that incorporates it only as an afterthought.  Between that and the attitude I've attempted to explain above, I don't think I'll find myself with an iPhone until the 5th iteration or so.

Exactly -- that is the reason why I *don't even want* the HWR on the iPhone. It's just impractical due to the size of the iPhone. I see my wife with her Samsung Omnia (with the awful Windows Mobile OS) that comes with the mandatory micro-stylus. It's a smartphone that's roughly the same size of the iPhone. It supports handwriting recognition and the stylus is also used as an input/pointing device. It's an enormous pain in the arse to use. It's like writing on a napkin with a toothpick. The Newton has the best form factor to implement a comfortable writing experience: I hold it as a paper notebook and writing feels very natural. When I attempt to use my wife's smartphone, I have the feeling that it's going to slip away from my hands at any moment; writing is imprecise, impractical and holding that micro-stylus is just fatiguing and annoying.


System Folder - The Platinum Days

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