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Handhelds Media (Apple) Apple

Apple Newton vs. Apple iPhone 203

Posted by timothy
from the you-have-been-on-my-lawn-for-10-years dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNET UK has written a head-to-head piece entitled Apple Newton vs Apple iPhone. Despite the Newton being released some 10 years ago, and despite the iPhone being a phone, not a tablet, the site's editors believe the Newton is the more innovative of the two Apple products. The two devices were tied over four rounds, but in the 'Special Powers' element, where the iPhone was praised for its iPod capability, the Newton countered with its ability to play MP3s, connect to iTunes and 'its ability to work as a phone' because 'Blam! Not even the iPhone can do that.'"
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Apple Newton vs. Apple iPhone

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  • Innovative? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I'd have to say that neither is truly "innovative" because that would imply something new was present in either of them, rather than a remix of existing technologies and/or incremental improvements on them (such as minaturization). The only really innovative thing I've seen out of Apple in awhile has been the touch wheel on the iPods; Which was quite a departure from existing human interface designs at the time. The word "innovative" has been quite overused in this field.

    • Apple just likes the word because it begins with an i.

      Would it be ironic that we over-use the word innovate, or would it be ironic if we created a new word to replace innovate?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tumbleweed (3706)

        Apple just likes the word because it begins with an i.

        I expect they'll change their name to iPple as soon as they realize they need to, to outrun their bad reputation with app developers.

        • I expect they'll change their name to iPple

          I like to ate, ate, ate... Apples and Bananas
          I like to eat, eat, eat... Epples and Benenes
          I like to iat, iat, iat... iPples and Bininis
          I like to oat, oat, oat... opples and Bononos
          I like to ute, ute, ute... upples and Bununus
          I like to yte, yte, yte... ypples and bynynys (sometimes)

    • by StreetStealth (980200) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @06:26PM (#30240166) Journal

      See, that's the thing that Apple does so well. They don't invent things. They make other inventions actually work.

      Through exhaustive design iteration and engineering, they develop ideas that are "nice on paper but useless in practice" into things that actually deliver on the invention's promise. From desktop UNIX to high-capacity music players to the mobile web browser, Apple invented none of these, yet they all sucked until Apple treated each one not as a feature problem but as a design and usability problem.

      That's not invention. But if it isn't innovation, I don't know what is.

    • I guess if you don't think usability can be innovative.

  • Newton wins? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:38PM (#30239472)

    Shouldn't the iPhone get points in this comparison for not being the equivalent of carrying a Dell laptop's giant powerbrick around in your pocket?

    I know this article was written all in fun, but - you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone that'd want to carry a Newton around instead of an iPhone. Or a Newton instead of even a Windows Mobile device.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MikeBabcock (65886)

      I own two Newtons. Both fit in my jeans pocket, even if they are much larger than my Android phone, or an iPhone. Of course, the first is an original Newton from 1994.

      The Newton was innovative. It could do fascinating things with very low power requirements on a very legible screen, and most of the things it could do well the iPhone still doesn't do. "Assist" alone was an excellent feature that many people never saw in action. For example, you're on a blank notes page and you type "Remember Brian's bir

  • by phase_9 (909592) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:42PM (#30239504) Homepage
    You can rock some serious MP3 Action in all it's 128kbps 22Khz Mono glory! - []
  • by Uire (573281)
    The original Newton - the MessagePad - was released in 1993. Heck, The Steve *cancelled* Newton more than 10 years ago. Really.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by julesh (229690)

      The original Newton - the MessagePad - was released in 1993. Heck, The Steve *cancelled* Newton more than 10 years ago. Really.

      That's the submitter's error. Article says the Newton was 10 years old last time they did such a comparison, against an early windows mobile device.

  • by iamapizza (1312801) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:51PM (#30239550)
    It's been 21 minutes since this article was posted. Where's the next Apple Slashvertisement? I keep refreshing the front page but there are no new stories. /wrists
  • by andhar (194607) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:52PM (#30239556)

    I had a Newton Message Pad 100 (the very first model) which I bought cheap in '94 on a whim. It was already totally outdated when I bought it. Still, in its lifetime, I printed from it, sent and received faxes from it, all kinds of stuff you'd normally need a computer for. Totally handy.

    Come '96 and I'm in grad school and I take every note for the whole two years on that thing and it was GREAT. I mean really, had it been a pain would I have kept on the entire time? Having a pretty big screen meant you had plenty of room to scrawl out those notes on the screen, and as I had maybe not 'neat' handwriting, but at least consistent handwriting it worked great.

    In 1996, being able to search your notes on the computer saved me so much time that I could have a band. So maybe having a Newton didn't get me chicks, but at least the band did!

    Then, in 2000, I was still using it. But I accidentally left it on a conference room table after a meeting and it disappeared. It actually got STOLEN. In the 21st century.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward


      Then, in 2000, I was still using it. But I accidentally left it on a conference room table after a meeting and it disappeared. It actually got STOLEN. In the 21st century.

      It apparently had an off-by-one bug.

    • by RiffRafff (234408)

      I used my MP2000 daily until a month ago. It suddenly lost its mind and all the data on its internal memory (stuff on my two pcmcia cards was okay, including a backup). It restored okay, but now I'm not sure I trust it. Maybe it was a fluke. I dunno. Still, there's something to be said for all that screen real estate.

  • I really liked the part where the guy championing the Newton slapped KO'd his opponent with a link. She had previously written an article citing "The iPhone is the worst phone in the world" [].

    I'm sure they had great make up sex later on.
  • Since the first Iphone as such has become known as the "2G" and the second as the "3G", I suggest thinking of the Newton as the Iphone 1G. (OK, so there were a few different versions of the Newton itself. But at this distance in time, I think we can ignore that.)


    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      I suggest thinking of the Newton as the Iphone 1G

      It supports various analog cell phone technologies such as AMPS? :-)

      • by makomk (752139)

        It supports various analog cell phone technologies such as AMPS? :-)

        Apparently, with the right 3rd party add-in card, yes.

  • by CritterNYC (190163) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @05:12PM (#30239694) Homepage

    One thing they left out in the app comparison is that Newton users can add in any apps they wanted. They're not limited to the ones approved by Apple in the gated community known as the App Store.

    • by fermion (181285)
      I am sick and tired of everyone whining about apps. First, stop being lazy and call them applications. By calling them apps you are just feeding into the Apple marketing machines.

      Second, there are a shitload of applications out there, the vast majority are shit, but some are really useful. I never care about a machine that can't do what I don't want it to do. I don't care that my care can't go 100 miles an hour. I don't care that my fridge isn't cooled by NO2. I don't care that my pencil is not self

  • by arikol (728226) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @05:16PM (#30239718) Journal

    Wow... just.... wow

    That must be the worst written article I've read this month. Or possibly ever.

    Hey, I know, let's next compare a raft made of barrels to the International Space Station and let's have the raft win because it has easier access and is cheaper to make and maintain.

    Again. Just... wow

    • yeah that article was seriously pathetic. Disappointing, too, as it would be interesting to read something insightful about this topic. I am still a big fan of the Newton and I wish Apple would come out with a modern version of the emate 300. I think there would be a lot of very interesting things to say about comparing these products, not as a "which is better?" smackdown but rather in terms of discussing some very promising technology from 15 years ago and the extent to which that promise has been real

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        I am still a big fan of the Newton and I wish Apple would come out with a modern version of the emate 300.

        Yes, so does everyone else, since it would be called a "netbook" and run OSX. You CAN get such a thing, but you have to buy the hardware from someone other than Apple and tweak the OS to make it fit since Apple sees themselves as more fit to tell you what you want than you are, and doesn't actually offer any product in that market... probably because they couldn't slap enough markup on it along with the Apple logo to justify its production.

        The device you want is already here, depending on the form factor it

  • The iphone, well, its a phone...

  • Nice article that made me very curious about one thing: why did the Newton fail? It seems like an amazingly useful and cutting-edge device that should have been snatched up by everybody.

    Maybe it was just a little bit TOO new, so didn't fit well enough into people's existing workflows?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by R3d M3rcury (871886)

      Well there were a few reasons:

      • Price. The original Newton was priced at $700. They never really came down that much, making them fairly expensive. You got the general argument, "Why should I spend $700 for a Newton when I can spend $5 for a datebook?"
      • Size. The MessagePad was a fairly large device. It was a little too big to fit in your pocket.
      • Handwriting Recognition. The impressive part of the Newton was that you would write and it would "read" your handwriting. One problem was that the Newton had to

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.