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Apple developing PDA minitablet

by on27 September 2007


“Newton 2.0” would be much improved

Apple Computer,
Inc. is reportedly developing a new PDA minitablet for the Mac OS X Leopard Operating System based on the OS X operating system that Apple developed for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. According to AppleInsider ( the device is being hailed as "the return of the Newton," referencing a PDA Newton message pad device that Apple created in the 1990s and then quickly ditched.  The Newton message pad design actually launched the idea for this type of portable computing device that was successfully captured by other manufacturers, such as Palm, with its PalmPilot PDA series of handheld devices.

The new Apple device is reportedly being built to resemble an ultra thin small slate board that's about 1.5 times larger than an iPhone, using a high resolution display and the same touch-screen interface as the iPhone, but with a “landscape oriented” wide screen to allow for more visual space. The screen reportedly has an approximate 720x480 high-resolution display that covers almost the entire surface of the unit. The device is also rumored to use multi-touch concepts that the iPhone and iPod touch do not have, such as ‘drag and drop’ and ‘copy-and-paste’ features.  AppleInsider reports that the device might be ready for its first glimpse at Macworld in January, when Apple traditionally showcases its new products.

This leads us to ask the obvious question: why a rehash of a PDA?  Sophisticated mobile phones can do all the things that a PDA used to do, plus the telephone is embedded in the device and there are a lot more bells and whistles available, as well.  It appears that Apple may be getting ready to challenge Intel’s MID (mobile Internet device) design unveiled at IDF that uses a stylus to navigate its features.  The stylus was a key part of old style PDAs, and allowed for some fairly sophisticated text messaging with a shorthand language far more creative than the juvenile “code speak” used by texters on cell phones today.

Inside sources at Apple have reported to AppleInsider that the PDA type device has been in the works in the lab for about eighteen months, but that engineers were pulled from the project to help work on the iPhone and its software to make sure that the June 07 launch date for the iPhone was met.  Now that the iPhone has shipped and some upgrades to it are well underway in Apple’s labs there is now time to return to other creative endeavors and this new Newton reminiscent device is one of them.

We’ll be watching and waiting to see what Apple has to show us.

Last modified on 27 September 2007
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