Followup to iPhone Shifts The Paradigm

Thanks to all who commented on my last post titled iPhone Shifts The Paradigm. There were several items brought up in the comments that I feel require further addressing in more depth here on the main page.

First of all, I still have my last Newton MessagePad 2100. I actually owned every model of MessagePad at some point in time. I even have a wireless card for it. There is still a very active user community that continues to develop for it (including wifi drivers). I used it regularly until a couple of years ago. I would likely still be finding a use and purpose for mine today if the battery would hold a charge. I have been too lazy to get one off of eBay, and now, with the iPhone, likely will not bother. It is still all set up though. Plug it into power and I can still download e-mail, surf the web, take notes, etc. I can even sync it with Address Book and iCal in Mac OS X.

Here is a picture of my 2100, which was the largest of the Newtons made:

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It is sitting on top of the paperback edition of “The War of Art” which is, from a width and height perspective, a fairly average size for most current paperbacks. In fact, the original Newton MessagePad was the size of the smaller, older style paperbacks. Give me a suit jacket or cargo pants and I guarantee I can find a pocket that the 2100 would fit into.

I agree that there are still several things that the Newton MessagePad has that the iPhone (still) does not. For instance, in my original post, I made mention of the handwriting recognition. Well, the very same handwriting recognition technology in the Newton is actually built in, by default, to Mac OS 10.5. It has actually been there since 10.3. It is called “Ink” and it shows up when you plug in a drawing tablet. It is baffling to me why this was not built into the iPhone and, at the least, offered as an alternative to the built in keyboard. The first generation Newton was widely maligned for the handwriting recognition (which did “learn” and therefore improve with use, just like the iPhone keyboard). By the MessagePad 2100, improvements to the algorithms used as well as increased processor speed made the handwriting recognition near perfect out of the box. Since the iPhone runs Mac OS X, it is a mystery to me why, to this date, Apple is not leveraging this technology (besides the Steve Jobs “computers need keyboards” thing).

Oh, and speaking of computers needing keyboards, I agree that the iPhone would greatly benefit from being able to be used with the small and highly portable Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. Once again, seems like a no-brainer, easy to fix, sell a few more peripherals, move for Apple. Kind of strange that it has not been implemented. What I don’t agree with is that being a “must have” for most applications. I see that as a “really nice to have” if I needed to write things like longer blog posts while mobile. That is not a need I have but can see it being a killer application for those who do (and the paradigm shift will happen a bit later for those folks).

Oh, and don’t even get me started on copy and paste… Suffice to say that Apple already had the right way to do this on the Newton and there is no reason to do it any differently on the iPhone.

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