updated 12:10 pm EDT, Wed September 26, 2007
Apple Newton Revival
Apple's iPhone and iPod touch may have prefigured the release of a new PDA-like device that rekindles the spirit of the Newton, according to "well-respected" sources speaking with AppleInsider. The report claims that Apple plans to leverage the multi-touch input technology in a considerably larger design than either of today's models; though similar in shape, it would be roughly 50 percent larger than either existing touchscreen device and would have a sharper 720x480 resolution. Users may also have access to input tricks not seen on the iPhone or iPod, such as dragging and dropping information or cutting and pasting text, the sources claim.
The exact role of the device in Apple's product line is unclear, though it would reportedly run a mobile version of Mac OS X Leopard similar to that already in use on the existing devices. It would largely be treated as Apple's answer to the "Origami" ultra-mobile PC concept put forward by Microsoft last year and introduced into shipping products by third parties, such as Samsung's Q1 Ultra or Sony's VAIO UX. If substantiated, the rumored slate device would ship in the first half of 2008. An announcement during January's Macworld San Francisco keynote address would be possible but is less certain given that manufacturing is unlikely to begin until a few months later, the insider allegedly said.
Although the device is unlikely to bear the name of its Newton predecessor, the supposed leak draws immediate comparisons to the old device and shows an apparent reversal of the company's longstanding apprehension about returning to the data-focused handheld market. Shortly after his return to the company's top position, Apple chief Steve Jobs famously canceled the Newton as part of a move to simplify the company's lineup. At the Wall Street Journal-hosted D: All Things Digital conference in 2004, Jobs admitted that he had been proud of an Apple PDA developed since his return but which was ultimately shelved.