Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 20th Feb 2013 09:04 UTC
Apple John Gruber illustrates the dangers of not having a clue about history: "The utter simplicity of the iOS home screen is Apple's innovation. It's the simplest, most obvious 'system' ever designed." Thanks for playing.
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Palm proved that this was valid for just about EVERY user. Nobody bought a Newton. It was a flop, for a variety of reasons: it was slow as shit, and the UI and its paradigm were complicated and cumbersome. Hawkins and Palm figured out what users really wanted (like you, they wanted an application-centric design), and we've been using that ever since because it was the right way to go.

I don't disagree with any of that at all. I do think the NewtonOS was poorly executed on the original MessagePads (OMP, 110, 120 and 130.) It got a lot better and faster on the later models (the 1000 and what have you), though the eMate 300 went back to being underpowered *sigh* (though it was using the same CPU as most of the RISCOS machines, so it was more to do with power consumption and slowing down the clock rate of the CPU to not suck the batteries dry in 5 minutes, rather than actual horse power.)

The extras launcher should absolutely have been the primary view, but it wasn't. But then - it did exist, and people did use it all of the time. Unless you really believe no one ever used anything except the Notepad ;-)

Whether the Newton was popular or not, they are still sought after now and go for stupidly high prices. I sold mine after owning it for about 4 years for the exact same price I paid for it (used - something like £15.) I doubt I could sell a PalmOS 2.0 era device for more than £2 these days.

On a sidenote, it's absolutely fascinating how just about every design and implementation consideration for Palm OS was focussed on speed. Lots fo cool stuff about that in the article.

Yeah, I loved my Palm Pilot. It was a pleasure to use. I cut my teeth doing mobile dev using it. But it wasn't all rosy, and the Newton's "hidden" extras/app drawer was still miles ahead of the launcher in Palm OS 2.0.

Edited 2013-02-20 13:33 UTC

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