Scott Hanselman

Wife Nixes iPhone, Man Buys Apple Newton Instead

July 13, 2007 Comment on this post [10] Posted in Musings
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mp2000Well, I'm still working on the wife, trying to get her to give in on letting me have an iPhone. It's pretty clear who's in charge in this family. I'm totally in charge until she gets home.

She's is not going to give, and I desperately needed to find another Apple device to caress.

Talking on my new Newton iPhoneSo, I bought an Apple Newton! The MessagePad 2000 with keyboard and extra battery pack to be exact, still in the original box, for a cool $100ish. Before you laugh, check out this battle royale where the Newton beats a Samsung Q1 Ultra Mobile PC.

Now I just gotta figure out how to connect it to Vista and find a Wireless PC Card. I'm gonna get this baby syncing to Gmail if it kills me. Review, software, details, how-tos and other Newtastic goodness soon to follow.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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July 13, 2007 16:40
Oh, I am so looking forward to these upcoming posts...I have a MessagePad 2000 as well, and I purchased it for a cool $1000 upon release. I haven't turned it on for quite some time though. Maybe it is time to power it back up and see what is out there....
July 13, 2007 18:10
Newton's rock! By far one of the best handeld devices of its time.
July 13, 2007 18:49
Where did you get it? I looked on eBay,, and Google Product Search, and could only find one on eBay - a MessagePad 100.
July 13, 2007 19:12
At the time this device was so far ahead of the curve it was silly to consider anything else. Seriously.

If only Apple had the momentum and visibility that they do today with marketing products...
July 13, 2007 22:24
Interestingly just last night I was checking the Q1 because I am researching handheld devices which can read HTML files including Javascript functionality. I would like to read MSDN help files offline while filtering by language. I can't do this with pdf or the with basic html browsers.
I own an IRex e-ink eReader (which is better than Sony's. See my comment: and I can't do the above.

I don't agree with the author saying the Newton is better than a UMPC device.

- He mentions that the Q1 can't synchronize with a desktop computer. Does he mean ActiveSync can't be used? One can just copy data files.
- Can the Newton read pdf or html files? Any device in that form factor should have the capability to be used as an eReader.
- The Newton can sync with other Newtons. How many Newtons out there are still being used now!?
- Viruses. The comparison should be done on the same type of usage. The Newton is used as a non Internet connected device. If you use a UMPC device the same way, the device will never get a virus. It's not going to get infected from thin air. If you're going to be downloading and installing all kinds of apps, be prepared then. Installing Windows apps is where a Q1 shines.

What is the Newton good for other than for keeping appointments, lists, calendars, notes...etc? You can do all this plus much more with any smart phone. Do you want to carry a phone only or carry along another bulky device that does basic stuff?

A Q1 lacks better Battery life and is heavier. But running Vista on such a small device is pretty cool. A good hardware hacker should be able to create a battery pack which uses ordinary batteries.

Save the $100 and other $$'s and get an iPhone if you really like it.
July 13, 2007 23:12
Abdu - Actually it IS internet connected. There are wireless and bluetooth cards. It has a Web Browser and can read eBooks. It has a 100dpi screen. I believe there is a PDF reader, but I'll dig into it.
July 16, 2007 3:26
Dear Scott,

I'm not a techie at all, but I came across your blog and thought you'd be the perfect person to say a word or two about this issue on your blog because you have such a large techie audience *and* a deep interest in Africa and the 3rd world:

and also:

Since I don't know you at all, I worry this is going to come across as preaching. That is not my intention; I'd simply be interested to hear what you think about these issues.
July 16, 2007 4:27
Good stuff, not preachy at all. Nearly all my gadgets are 2nd hand. We shop mostly at goodwill. Even my prius was bought used. All my cell phones have been passed on or recycled. I'll write something on it.
July 16, 2007 18:59
Scott, your comment reminded me of the man song.
July 16, 2007 19:57
Oh, but the multi-touch interface in Safari's totally worth the price of admission. Out grabbing dinner Friday night, I actually heard myself thinking "it's the first interface I've used that felt like the future" while showing someone my newfangled iPhone and had to stop myself short of actually saying it because that sort of verbalized statement would have brought shame upon the shades of my ancestors.
Hack number one for your Newton should be attaching a briefcase form-factor battery.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.