Revenge of the Newton

I just followed the live coverage of Steve Jobs’ announcement of the new iPhone. This Time article has a pretty good preview of it.

iPhoneFor some reason, it does have me thinking of the Apple Newton. I never owned one, but I worked with the OS on the Apple eMates. It was ahead of its time, but hampered by bad ergonomics and high cost. Lots of money was invested in R&D, but it couldn’t overcome cost and technology limitations.

After the Newton was discontinued, it appeared that Apple was really burned by the entire PDA, ultralight and tablet movements. It looked like it didn’t want anything to do with them. The iPod was specifically targeted to music, with a few other PIM features. The video iPod seemed more like an experiment.

The iPhone, however, is an OS and a hardward platform with interesting expansion opportunities. A colleague came in yesterday and told us about his new HP inkjet that was $140 and came with Bluetooth, ethernet, 802.11b, and USB. He was amazed by how easy it was to print to wirelessly. I bet the iPhone could print to it.

In fact, I wonder if a descendant of the iPhone might become the basis of the lunch box laptop that we’ve discussed in the past. It can’t be that long before a leather folding case with a decent keyboard and a holder for the iPhone in horizontal position is available. Could a larger screen version become available?

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how it works out. It also makes me wonder if having a major crash and being burned, but then really learning from it, isn’t always a bad thing.

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