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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RE: Oh the dangers of History.
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 20th Feb 2013 09:37 UTC in reply to "Oh the dangers of History."
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

That's a picture of the control panel of the Newton. This is what the Newton's home screen looked like:

http://admintell.napco.com/ee/images/uploads/appletell/_NEWTON_thum...

The Newton used a notebook metaphor, like PenPoint OS. A paradigm that nobody wanted.

Also, I never credited Palm with the invention of the mobile platform - don't put extremist words in my mouth just to make you look smart. I credit Palm with creating the mobile platform upon whose concepts and ideas all other platforms after it were built. Newton and PenPoint were dead ends - a metaphor nobody wanted and nobody bought. Palm's mobile platform was the first successful mobile platform, and showed the industry what people wanted out of a mobile device - everybody else has followed and built upon that platform ever since.

A sneak peak into my upcoming massive Palm article:

So, what is Palm OS' legacy? What mark did it leave? How did it influence the industry?

Palm OS showed the industry what a mobile operating system for the average consumer should look like, how it should work, and what it should - and more importantly, should not be capable of. Consumers didn't want MS-DOS with a stylus input overlay. Consumers didn't want the confusing notebook metaphor GO and Apple used. Consumers didn't want a desktop operating system's interface shoehorned into a small screen. Consumers didn't want to have to deal with managing multitasking and the associated complexity.

They wanted a minimalistic, single-tasking operating system that allowed them to focus on a single task, and do so fast, without having to wait for programs to load or go through endless confusing dialogs and setup screens. Users wanted an operating system with a graphical user interface that was designed specifically with its primary input method in mind. They wanted an operating system that didn't require all the manual fiddling that the desktop operating systems of Palm OS' day required. They wanted an operating system that didn't drain the battery in a few hours. Users wanted an application-centric device.

Add all of these together, and 15 years ago, you got Palm OS.


Edited 2013-02-20 09:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 13

bowkota Member since:
2011-10-12

That's a picture of the control panel of the Newton. This is what the Newton's home screen looked like:

I think it was kind of obvious that it was the control panel, it was in the url. You were disputing historical facts and credibility about design. You could very easily argue that the Legencary Palm OS Home Screen (TM) was influenced by the Newton.

However, you're still missing the point. Apple's iOS and home screen has had been a phenomenal success and has had great influence on the current mobile market. Both the iPhone and the iPad were laughed on when released.
Look were we are today.
Were Apple designers/engineers influenced by Palm in the process? I'm pretty damn sure they were.

Edited 2013-02-20 09:51 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Both the iPhone and the iPad were laughed on when released.

Where you out travelling the world for 2007? You forget that they were in the absolute minority. People laugh at anything that is new, as there are always these cynical sceptics.
Also iPhone did not take off before AppStore became available. And the current dominant platform follows an approach that is not like iOS(when it comes to homescreen organization).

Edited 2013-02-20 11:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

HappyGod Member since:
2005-10-19

He's not missing the point. He's answering the point you raised. You provided the picture of the Newton in an attempt to challenge the claim that Palm invented the simplistic icon home screen.

You can't change the subject, just because you were mistaken.

Incidentally, who was laughing at Apple at the launch of the iPhone? The only entity I can think of was Microsoft, and they were bound to do that, because the iPhone was a competitor to their own WinMobile 6 phones.

Reply Parent Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

It's not a Newton, it's a MessagePad. Newton is the name of the operating system, MessagePad is the name of the device that runs the Newton operating system.

Another device running the Newton OS is the eMate 300. It does have a home screen with a grid of icons. I have one right here.

The MessagePads also had icon grids to launch apps, but it defaulted to a notepad application when you turned it on. I have one right here.

I don't think it really matters what you see when you turn it on, Newton based devices and Palm devices all used icon grids to launch apps.

My Psion 3a uses a row of icons. If an app has user files they are listed under the app icon and can be opened directly from there.

It's not strange Apple went for this grid solution as it's easy to do, easy to use and the Macintosh in a way also had icon grids. Sure, you could move the icons and break the grid, but the basic idea was a screen with little icons that launch apps.

Reply Parent Score: 7

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

That's a picture of the control panel of the Newton. This is what the Newton's home screen looked like:


Hold on... as someone who actually owned a Newton Messagepad 120 and used it quite a lot, you are wrong. The NewtonOS had an app drawer where all of your installed apps lived. That is what looks identical to the earliest PalmOS devices. It was a tray with a grid of icons. Yes, the NewtonOS opened in the notepad app (because it was a "notepad", DOH!), but if you wanted to use any other apps installed (and the Newton had a pretty vibrant 3rd party app community at one point), you opened the app drawer and launched them from there. So, yes, the Newton "launcher" looks exactly like the PalmOS home screen. There you go. This doesn't even take in to account that later versions of the NewtonOS didn't even launch the notepad by default and instead showed you the launcher straight away (e.g. eMate 300.)

EDIT: Some could also argue that the way the Newton filtered the apps in to categories was wholesale stolen by Palm for PalmOS 3.0, because PalmOS 2.0 (and prior) sure as hell didn't do that, they instead scrolled (rather awkwardly) the launcher up/down to get to the app you wanted. I also owned (and still do) a Palm Pilot Pro, so I could probably even get pictures, if proof was required. I used to install third party launched on my PP just to be able to manage the mess that the launcher was in.

Edited 2013-02-20 12:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The central point of interaction on the Newton was the notebook. That was its central metaphor. I have a 120 right here, and what you're referring to is the 'extras' folder - which contained a bunch of utilities like a calculator, and settings panels. It's a small aspect of the notebook metaphor - not a central one like it is on iOS or Palm OS. That's because NewtonOS is built around the notebook - not around applications. It's not application-centric.

It's a fundamentally different paradigm.

Yes, the eMate opened the drawer by default. This was after the success of the original Pilot.

Edited 2013-02-20 13:03 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

They wanted a minimalistic, single-tasking operating system that allowed them to focus on a single task, and do so fast, without having to wait for programs to load or go through endless confusing dialogs and setup screens. Users wanted an operating system with a graphical user interface that was designed specifically with its primary input method in mind.


you are ignoring psion
there definitely was a huge market for multitasking devices

Reply Parent Score: 3