Monday, October 15, 2012

Has the Newton Come Full-Circle?

Are you eagerly awaiting the iPad Mini? An alternative to those so-called dedicated e-readers, with full Apple functionality. Is the Newton re-born?
The Newton was Apple's personal digital assistant (PDA) developed as the precursor to tablets of today. You may remember Palm and others (I had a fascination with the Newton, as well as Sony's own PDA, non-Export ones which I hunted for during many a trip to Japan). Development of the Newton platform started in 1987 and was officially ended by Steve Jobs Jon his return to the mothership in 1998. (I have a Newton-SJ story, see post script below).
During its heyday, the Newton was the benchmark for tablet-like devices. But it was ahead of its time. Famously lampooned, the device didn't live up to its hype. But true believers have been rewarded with the iPhone and iPad, legacy of the lofty goals of the device Steve Jobs loathed.

See the rumors at Apple Insider...
When I and my compatriots launched Bluedog as an Application Service Provider (we were partnered with S.A.P. to deliver their offerings in the hosted model, a precursor to the software-as-a-service model we utilize now), we needed a key piece of technology from Apple, a specialized adapter for SAP that worked with WebObjects.
We had a meeting with Steve Jobs and Fred Anderson (arranged by our investor in Dublin), to ask to use the proprietary technology. On the elevator ride up to the conference room at One Infinite Loop, Steve's assistant noticed my Newton MessagePad 2100 (equipped with a Metricom 128kb (!) wireless modem). "Get rid of that thing," she demanded, "Steve loathes them!"
Needless to say, because, back then, the cloud and the ASP model did not "move hardware," we were unsuccessful in our quest for the elusive WO adapter from Apple. In the end, we built our own solution.
Other Steve Jobs stories and tales from the long road of a tech entrepreneur in my forthcoming book.

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