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Handhelds Media (Apple) Apple

Apple Newton vs. Apple iPhone 203

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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  • 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:ok (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:38PM (#30239476) Journal
    The Newton wasn't close to innovating, it was innovating. Newton Soup, the shape recognition, the drag-to-edge copy and paste implementation, the entire hybrid class-for-model, prototype-for-UI language concept, agents, and a number of other things in the Newton were innovative and are still better than most contemporary systems. The iPhone's only selling point is that it has a UI that sucks a lot less than most of its competitors.
  • Re:ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Thursday November 26, 2009 @04:53PM (#30239568) Homepage
    Problem is, innovation doesn't sell and make large profits in the world of technology. Apple now plays it safe, copies ideas and makes them better and generally useable. Then they sell for a neat profit.

    Which isn't a problem. What I don't like is the part where they turn around and proclaim themselves as innovators.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @05:07PM (#30239662)

    Um what? If the iPhone was nothing new, when it was released and even now, you wouldn't have competitors scrambling to catch up. If there was no innovation, there wouldn't be anything to catch up to.

  • Re:ok (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @05:10PM (#30239676)

    Which isn't a problem. What I don't like is the part where they turn around and proclaim themselves as innovators.

    Microsoft has been doing the same for years now. Anyone that believes corporate propaganda should go out and get some fresh air.

  • 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.

  • Re:ok (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @05:33PM (#30239832)
    Not just the UI, it was the browser that made it sell well. There wasn't a single phone with a decent browser before the iPhone. Opera Mobile was somewhat decent, but compared so mobile Safari, Safari wins. This is a bit less of a selling point now with Android and others have decent browsers, but at the time if you wanted to surf the web you'd better get an iPhone. Yeah, the iPhone wasn't very innovative, but the fact that it had a complete package (ability to play music decently, videos, YouTube, good browser, later addition of apps, etc) made it a best seller even when tied to an overpriced network.
  • by dbcad7 ( 771464 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @05:51PM (#30239922)
    Hey, constant reinforcement is needed so that people know that the money spent and being spent on a phone and plan is justified. I like my phone too (It's an Android), but I don't need to be constantly told how smart or cool I am, based upon my purchase.. dumbasses and jerks can spend money on these things too.. and probably think it changes them somehow.. how sad.
  • by thestudio_bob ( 894258 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @06:22PM (#30240148)

    You know, I've been seeing this exact same comment on a lot of tech sites lately. Heck, there's quite a few of them on this article alone. At first, I was like "Welcome to what it was like for us Apple guys 5-10 years ago", (not that I ever posted that, I just thought it). But the more I think about it, I think it just means that the iPhone, iPod, Apple, etc., is going more mainstream. I don't think its a purposeful marketing strategy on anyones part (maybe it is and I'm too blinded to see), but more or less just a natural affect of its growing user market.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if there was something coming out of MS, Verizon, Dell, or the likes that was interesting, I'm sure we would be flooded with the same kind of daily stories about it. But that's just not happening. Is it because they are not producing anything that people feel compelled to write about or is it because they know that if they write something that has an "i" in the headline, then they will generate hits. Not sure, but it's kind of interesting either way.

    And on a side note, your "viral" theory can be applied to your comment as well. How do I know that all the "I'm getting sick of all the Apple" comments aren't made by paid shills or some viral marketing company trying to make Apple look un-cool or whatever. Sure it's a conspiracy theory, but it's no less of one than yours.

  • 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.

  • Re:ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aranykai ( 1053846 ) <slgonser@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday November 26, 2009 @06:49PM (#30240332)

    If it indiscriminately terminates processes because the running app needs more memory, its not really practical to say it supports multitasking. You are just trying to redefine the accepted meaning of a multitasking smart phone to fit your fancy.

    I might be biased though, I'm writing this from my HTC Hero with Android 1.6

  • Re:ok (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noewun ( 591275 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @07:10PM (#30240494) Journal

    The bigger issue here is the narrow definition of "innovation"* so often used at /. and other tech-centric places, in which innovation only means innovation in a strictly technological/programming/hardware sense of the word. Behind this conceit lies the assumption that the only innovation which matters is purely technological innovation, and all of the other aspects, including making these innovations easy to use and accessible for wide range of people, are looked up on as somehow less than.

    Hence the constantly renewing Year of Linux on the Desktop, which ignores the fact even the best-packaged Linux distros are at best a mixed bag when it comes to usability. Hence the constant claims that the iPhone/iPod will soon fall from its perch because its focus is ease of use and accessibility and not "innovation". Hence the boiling down of the wide variety of things which must go into a successful product as "cool" or "marketing", etc.

    Apple's particular current genius lies in its ability to take technology and package it for use by a wide variety of people who don't care about the technology per se, and a big part of this is the iPod Touch/iPhone's UI, which makes it so easy even your grandmother can tweet away to her heart's content. And I think the reason Apple catches so much flack here, and elsewhere, is that by giving the "sheep" access to the technology, it take away from the n3rd world the special acclaim they have given themselves for having access to that technology.

    That thought aside, the fact that so very few tech companies are able to do what Apple does should tell you how incredibly difficult it is to do, and why it is as innovative as any other tech achievement. Microsoft has, quite literally, money to burn and the best they can do is constantly bandage over the larger usability nightmares in Windows and Windows Mobile. Palm had to almost die before they came up with WebOS. Gnome and KDE have a (relatively) large installed base and access to talented people and the best they can come up with is a model which, sometimes, is easier to use than Windows. YOur average cel phone UI is a nightmare of menus, submenus, confusing icons and deeply-buried features. And on and on.

    Making technology easy to use is incredibly difficult and every bit as innovative as writing a new OS or designing a new chip. And, while Apple has made, and will continue, to make stupid decisions, when it comes to what they do, they do do it so very well.

    *There is a further conceit here, as to the true nature of innovation. There seems to be the idea that "true" innovators are the geniuses who come up with a wholly original idea, develop that idea, get it to market and retire to sleep on a bed of money. Look at this history of technology and you will see that almost never happens. Almost every innovation you can think of is either an improvement on an earlier idea or a new combination of previously established technology and ideas. Henry Ford, to pick one at random, didn't invent a damn thing. He took the idea of assembly lines and interchangeable parts from weapons manufacture, combined it with a newly available urban workforce and clever marketing (any color you want as long as its black) which was actually based on sound logistical planning, and created the modern car industry. It's the same with the computer industry. Progress is the story of incremental improvement and assembly of ideas and not sudden advances out of nowhere.

    Or that's my $0.02

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @07:22PM (#30240600) Journal

    When was the last time you checked out the mobile market? Pretty much every phone has large screens, and slim cases, even the dirt cheap ones, without keyboards (and as someone who would prefer an actual keyboard, I find it annoying).

    (And before anyone says it was the Iphone that caused this - screens have continually being getting larger since before the Iphone, and it was an obvious progression to what we have now; the Iphone wasn't first with touchscreen AFAIK; and slim cases were around before - e.g., Motorola's RAZR.)

    The key to a beating the iPhone

    Check out the market share - most companies, such as Nokia and Samsung, are already beating it. Of course I'll probably be modded down for saying so, because debates on Apple stories are won by whoever has mod points (which is never me, incidentally), and not who speaks the facts.

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @07:39PM (#30240736) Journal

    And sure enough, just after I post about how people here seem to have no idea of the phone market, one comes along:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if there was something coming out of MS, Verizon, Dell, or the likes that was interesting

    Well, what about all of the interesting phones that are coming from Nokia, Samsung, Motorola etc? Virtually zero coverage, it's been that way for years - so yes, I'm correcting you that you are wrong :)

    Unless for some reason, there's something special about MS, Verizon, Dell and Apple that they deserve coverage, but not the existing phone companies?

    As for viral, I don't think he's suggesting that it's planted by Apple shills - personally I don't, but the point is that Apple are very good at getting other companies and individuals to give them free advertising and hype. No shills needed.

  • by tsm_sf ( 545316 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @09:49PM (#30241674) Journal
    Of course I'll probably be modded down for saying so, because debates on Apple stories are won by whoever has mod points (which is never me, incidentally), and not who speaks the facts.

    Actually you'll probably be modded down for continually posting whiney little rants.
  • by JesseL ( 107722 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @01:32AM (#30242866) Homepage Journal

    Good band recognition and marketing qualify as technical innovation now?

  • Re:ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imroy ( 755 ) <> on Friday November 27, 2009 @05:32AM (#30243922) Homepage Journal

    in browser stats Apple has -nearly half- of browser marketshare for smartphones

    As another posted noted, those stats are only for the US. The US has been slow to take up mobile phones for several reasons, so it's not representative of the global market.

    But anyway. I'd like to quickly address the assumption that mobile web browser stats can be used as a way to measure mobile phone market share. I have a Nokia 5220, a simple GSM/EDGE phone with an S40 interface. I rarely use the built-in (WAP?) browser because the screen is small and loading modern web/wap pages over EDGE is still quite slow. And it sometimes runs out of memory on complex pages. But I do however have quite a few Java apps that use the Internet to send and receive various bits of data. Through these apps I use up most of the credit on my pre-paid account. So just because the iPhone has shown up on some web browser stats probably doesn't mean as much as you think.

  • Re:Newton wins? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Friday November 27, 2009 @11:39AM (#30245870) Homepage Journal

    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 birthday on wednesday" and tap assist. Your calendar pops up on the next Wednesday starting from tomorrow and puts a reminder up "Brian's birthday".

    Simple enough? Sure. Easier than scrolling, tapping and creating the memo yourself? Definitely.

    I brought my Newton along to a major event around the time Microsoft was pushing their tablets and I showed it to the Microsoft evangelist who was trying to convince me the tablet was amazing. I showed him shape recognition and started doing diagrams on the screen at full speed. He was a little shocked, especially when I pointed out (again) that it was over ten years old.

    People have even written driver interfaces for the Newton to allow the use of huge flash memory drives to use it as an MP3 player. Do I wish Apple would bring it back? Maybe not the way it was, but I was one of many who hoped the iPhone would be at least as capable as the Newton was. And yes, it had E-mail support, but no browser built-in.

  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Friday November 27, 2009 @11:45AM (#30245948) Homepage Journal

    You never used a Newton, did you? I have netbooks, I have an Android phone, and I have two Newtons.

    I can still demonstrate things that are easier to do on the Newton than on a tablet, notebook, iphone, etc. Some of them aren't even possible except on a Newton.

  • Re:ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @03:17PM (#30247848)

    "The iPhone UI sucks a lot harder than WebOSs, and it is no better than Android.

    The ONLY selling point of the iPhone is the ecosystem. Brand loyalty, huge number of apps and huge installed base. The phone itself is bland compared to all the other offerings(most new phones are essentially an iPhone plus a couple other features, like a high res display or a physical keyboard), and the software is about as advanced as Palm OS 4.0. I don't know how Apple can ship a product in 2009 that doesn't support multitasking."

    The iPhone multitasks just fine. It doesn't allow third party apps to do so unless you jailbreak the phone. Had you actually used one at any point, you would know that, simply by launching the iPod app. It will run happily in the background while you do other things, as does the mail app, and SMS. As to how it multitasks is just an implementation. Saying it doesn't do so because it doesn't fit your ideal for managing background apps doesn't make it 'not so'. Many OS's will simply stop a low priority background thread if the user launches a foreground task that needs the memory. Personally, I don't know why folks are wanting multitasking outside of the Apple apps. I've never felt a need other than the supplied apps. Knowing the way things work in the windows world, every app you installed would find some Apple equivalent of the System tray to load useless tasks which suck your battery dry within an hour. I prefer less hassle. The only other client I would need it on is AIM, and they will happily forward it to me as a reply-able SMS, so the point is mute.

    In order to get those huge number of apps and installed base, it has to have something other than those items you mentioned. I bought one, and I had owned no previous Apple products. Just saying it's popular due to 'fanboys' is patently ridiculous and tells me your more interested in just hating Apple rather than actually using one of their products. This whole 'fanboy' bit is silly. If you buy something, anything, chances are that you are a fan. Most people who hate a product don't buy it. Working in IT, I've met all kinds, and I wouldn't classify any of them as raving lunatics. They are all people who just like Windows PC's, or Macs. They don't rave. They don't pray at the Alter of Steve. They prefer a brand and they stick with it until they find something better.

    The iPhone is popular because it's pretty much a PC in your pocket. You can actually browse the web on it, the UI is arguably better than the current crop of contenders since none of these iPhone 'killers' has actually done any slaying yet. All of these followers exist in an attempt to clone the iPhone UI, and none of them have succeeded fully yet (although some of them are getting close). The app limits on Android need to be resolved before they can be considered a serious contender.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.