iPhone, Journal, Newton

Happy Birthday to Newton

It’s hard to believe that fourteen years ago on August 3, 1993, Apple released the Newton MessagePad. I was one of its early adopters, purchasing it just before my freshman year at college. It was the device that got me hooked on mobile computing, and it paved the way for where I am professionally today.

Newton’s growth was stopped at four and a half years of age when the product was canceled in February, 1998. At the time, Apple was in dire straits, and Steve Jobs felt that a renewed focus on Mac OS meant side businesses like Newton had to go. We can only speculate what could have happen had Newton spun off as an independent company or if Apple had sold the technology. You can’t argue with the results of what happened to Apple in the ensuing years. The company has never been in a better position for success, thanks in large part to Mac OS X, the iPod and now the iPhone.

Still, Newtons are in use today, nine years after cancellation. Modern technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi are available for the Newton, and projects like DyneTK and Open Einstein will ensure that Newton technology lives on in devices beyond the aging MessagePad hardware. Who knows how long it will last? If Newton were someone with a terminal illness, I’m sure it would be grateful for every extra day it’s being used by people around the world. There’s nothing worse for a technology than for it to be discontinued, forgotten, and shoved into the dustbin of technology.

So, a toast today to the Newton! Happy 14th Birthday!

Apple, iPhone, Journal, Newton, Technology

More Love From Crazy Apple Rumors

Crazy Apple Rumors has another funny post about iPhone and Newton. They love me over there, as they’ve done several posts about the Newton with me as the model Newton fanatic.

iPhone Launched Marred By Unfortunate Incident.

While the Friday launch of the iPhone went seemingly spectacularly, at least one disturbing incident marred Apple’s new mobile device’s day in the sun.

At the Stockton Street Apple Store, while patrons were milling about and enjoying the iPhone and the atmosphere, a distraught and clearly drunk interloper came onto the scene.

The Newton MessagePad 2100, the last Apple product in the handheld category, entered the store shortly after 8:00 PM and began shouting at patrons.

“Hey!” the Newton said. “What’s everybody doin’, huh?! You all buying something? Oooh, the big iPhone rollout!”

Approaching the iPhone, the Newton at first feigned friendliness.

“Oh, hey, buddy! Congratulations! Hey, I remember my launch so, you know, if you want to hang – heh-heh – and maybe get a beer, I can give you some pointers.”

Clearly uncomfortable, the iPhone said “Uh, well, I’ve kind of got a lot of events to go to. You understand.”

“Ooh, yeah!” the Newton said. “I totally get it. Mr. Big Shot doesn’t have time!”

As the iPhone attempted to explain itself, the Newton began to turn away but then whirled around, swinging wildly at CEO Steve Jobs’ most recent pet project. It missed and landed flat on its back.

Lying on the Apple Store floor and floundering in a drunken haze of misery, the Newton then yelled at the iPhone “Oh, what, do you think you’re better than me?! Huh?! Do you?!”

Somewhat embarrassed by the whole incident, the iPhone said “Well, uh, I do now…”

The iPhone was then hustled on to its next interview. The Newton lay on the floor until Adam Tow arrived and took it home.

Apple declined to comment about the incident, but did set up several orange cones around the spot where the Newton had laid until it could be mopped up.

In my prior appearance on Crazy Apple Rumors, FakeAdamTow predicted that a replacement Newton was coming.

“A Newton replacement is coming!” Tow shouted. “It’s coming! Just wait! You’ll see!”

You see, I was right!

Apple, iPhone, Journal, Technology

Valley Fair Line Getting Longer

This from Engadget:

Valley Fair Apple Store, 12:50PM PDT – The line here’s pretty deep — runs around the corner, into a huge area, and then outside into the street, next to where the huge UPS truck is parked. The Woz is here! (Believe it or not, he’s #1 in line.) We’ll be chatting it up with him shortly.

Well, let’s hope that Valley Fair store has a stockpiles of iPhones in the back room! If not, I may be waiting a little longer to get one.

Apple, Cycling, iPhone, Journal, Technology

iPhone T-minus 7 hours

So here we are, less than 8 hours away from the iPhone madness that will descend upon AT&T and Apple Retail stores across the country. No, I’m not standing in line posting this blog entry, nor do I anticipate going to a store until at least 5:00 pm. Members of SNUG and SmugMug, along with blogger Robert Scoble, are camping out at the Palo Alto store. Don and the gang from SmugMug apparently bought pizzas for everyone last night. Diggnation and other media companies are also hanging out at the Palo Alto store, making the Valley Fair Apple Store not the place to be tonight — unless perhaps you actually want to get one!

I read a report saying they will have 1 million iPhones for the launch today. That’s a lot per store, so I don’t anticipate there being any shortages, especially with another 2 million in the wings.

Those free iPhones that Jobs gave to Apple employees yesterday? Very generous and smart of him. A company has to eat its own dog food. Having all employees as iPhone — and AT&T — customers is a perfect example of this.

So, the big question is will I get one today? I have been waiting for this day for a long time, but now that it’s finally here, I ask myself if the urge is still strong? The price of the 8GB iPhone isn’t an issue for me — I paid far more for my Newton MessagePads in the past (and before taking inflation in account). The way that I rationalize not getting it is by telling myself, “It’s not like you don’t have something that can do roughly the same thing as today.” My current phone works now, and it’ll work tomorrow. Then again, if I get close to a real iPhone, the lure of precious might become too much for my rational mind to handle!

Even if I do get one, it’s not like I’ll have a lot of time to use it. I’m off tomorrow morning at 6:00 am for the Giro di Peninsula, a 100-mile ride through the Bay Area. The Death Ride beckons, and it’s its call that I’m answering!

Apple, iPhone, Journal, Technology

Two Per Customer

Unlike AT&T stores, Apple Retail stores will allow customers to purchase two iPhones on Friday. The stores will also be open until midnight. Just how many iPhones have been produced for the launch and how many will each store be getting? Staying open until midnight seems to imply that supplies will be plentiful. It would be bad if the store sells out at 7:00 pm and people and employees are left milling around for the next several hours, no?

Apple, iPhone, Journal, Newton

iPhone/Newton Getting Started Videos

The original Newton MessagePad came with a getting started VHS videotape. An eight-minute long video, the tape described Newton’s features and functionality and provided some tips and tricks to getting the most out the handwriting recognizer. Watching the iPhone’s keyboard video tutorial on the web made me nostalgic. Thanks to the power of YouTube, I was able to find the complete Newton Getting Started video. Fast-forward to the four-minute mark and compare the differences — and similarities — between iPhone and Newton.

Newton Getting Started Video

iPhone Keyboard video

Apple, iPhone, Journal, Technology

Mossberg's Review of the iPhone

Walt has reviewed the iPhone and gave it a fairly positive rating, calling it a breakthrough handheld computer.

iPhone fan

We have been testing the iPhone for two weeks, in multiple usage scenarios, in cities across the country. Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer. Its software, especially, sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry, and its clever finger-touch interface, which dispenses with a stylus and most buttons, works well, though it sometimes adds steps to common functions.

Check out more reviews from David Pogue, Steven Levy, and Edward Baig.

The hype machine continues to reach higher and higher levels as we get closed to the Friday launch. It must be at 12 by now!

Apple, iPhone, Journal, Technology

How Many iPhones at Launch?

There are over 170 Apple Retail stores and 1,800 AT&T stores across the country that will be selling iPhones. Apple’s goal is to sell 10 million iPhones by the end of the year of 2008. With any large-scale introduction of an ultra-hyped product, there’s always a mass frenzy at the start. Let’s assume that Apple wants to sell 1.5 million iPhones on the first day. That translates to over 750 iPhones per store. Granted, all stores are not created equal — some will get more, some will get less. Still, if Apple’s production lines have been pumping out at capacity, that’s a huge number of iPhones that will be available. Even if the total number of units available is cut in half, there’ll be 380 iPhones per store. Any way you cut it, that’s a long line outside an AT&T store or Apple Retail Store on Friday afternoon!

Apple, iPhone, Journal, Newton, Technology

iPhone T-minus 3 days

So here we are, just three days away from the iPhone’s release in Apple and AT&T stores across America. People are already starting to line up in New York, and I bet someone will soon be camping out in front of the Palo Alto Apple Store — assuming there’s no one there already. My current plan is to go to the Valley Fair Apple Store in the morning when the mall opens and ask the employees what the line strategy will be throughout the day. If you hadn’t heard, Apple intends to close its retail stores at 2:00 pm (instead of the previously reported 4:30 pm time) to prepare for the 6:00 pm release. Though it would be nice to get the phone on Friday, it’s really no sweat if I have to wait a little while longer.

I’m glad that the price differential between my current plan and the iPhone plan isn’t that great. $20 extra a month is better than the extra $40/month I were to add a data plan to my Blackberry. The iPhone’s better browser and native sync support means I’d get more use out of the phone than I do currently. The free PocketMac software for the Blackberry just blows.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding the iPhone and how it relates to Newton. Is the iPhone the successor to the Newton? Is it the iNewton? I wrote back in January that “if anyone can resurrect the spirit and functionality of Newton, it’s Apple.” That quote might work for Newton-fanatics around the world, but it has no meaning at Apple. Publicly, Apple doesn’t care about resurrecting anything from its past; today, it’s always looking towards the future. For them, the iPhone isn’t the second coming of a product that they canceled nearly ten years ago. Rather, the iPhone represents a historic first stake in the redefinition of the phone.

More thoughts to come as the countdown continues to iPhone mania on Friday!

Apple, Exercise, Journal, Swimming, Technology

60 Laps of MacBook Pros

It’s been hot, hot, hot in the Bay Area the past couple of days. After a morning-to-afternoon meeting, I came back to a nice cool 76° pool and swam 60 laps or about 1200 meters. I’m quite the injured manatee in the pool, so it took me nearly an hour to complete it. Without the edges of the pool to rest on after each lap, I’m not sure I could have done ten laps without collapsing! Hopefully in time, my swimming form will reveal itself, and I will become Aquaman transformed, minus the green Speedo swimming trunks, of course!

Afterwards, I walked over to the Apple Store at Valley Fair to check out the new 17″ MacBook Pro with the 1920×1200 HD screen and the 15″ MacBook Pro with LED backlighting. I’m in the market for a new laptop, and I’m wondering if it could even replace my Quad G5 as my primary machine. I fired up Aperture on both laptops and they seemed reasonably fast while performing adjustments on RAW 1Ds Mark II files. Since my 1D Mark II files are smaller than the 1Ds’, Aperture should run fine, at least until you have 100,000 images like I have on my machine. What I’m likely going to do is use the MacBook for on-location shooting and have a hard drive at home that houses my primary Aperture library. I think this is what Eric is doing in his workflow.

The other reason for the trip to the Apple Store was to scout out camping locations for June 28th. If I’m going to be camping out for the iPhone launch, I’m going to need to know where the quickest entry and exit points are into Valley Fair! I don’t know yet if I’ll be doing this yet, especially since they won’t be selling the iPhone until 6:00 pm on June 29th, but it’s good information to know. The Nordstroms or Macy’s Home and Furnishing entrances are the closest to the Apple Store.