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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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

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

'extras' folder - which contained a bunch of utilities like a calculator and such.


And all other third party apps. The NewtonOS also categorised those apps (you could go in and choose which category they lived under), which PamlOS didn't do till PalmOS 3.0.

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


Well, maybe the cynic in me sees the Palm Pilot and thinks "clever Palm, they took the Extra's folder idea from the Newton and ran with it - good on them." Because that is an absolutely valid angle to take. Just because you want to support your premise by dismissing a completely valid prior implementation (and no one here is claiming Apple invented that design, just that they used it before Palm) I think you're being very short sighted. For any user (e.g. me) who owned a Newton and *didn't* want to use the Notepad, the extras folder/app drawer was KEY to using the device, no matter what you claim to the contrary.

Edited 2013-02-20 13:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

For any user (e.g. me) who owned a Newton and *didn't* want to use the Notepad, the extras folder/app drawer was KEY to using the device, no matter what you claim to the contrary.


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.

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.

Edited 2013-02-20 13:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

Speaking as a former Newton developer, I'd disagree with your characterisation that Newton OS as not being application-centric and built around the notebook.

Newton OS was most definitely built around apps. Notepad was just the default app - later versions of the OS would let you swap that default to any other app. If you set Dates (for example) as the default app then Notepad would turn up in the Extras drawer and you could launch it from there.

The three main apps (Notepad, Dates, and Names) were all separate apps. The OS supported a 'windowed' view system, so Names would sit above other apps - and smaller 'utility' apps were not forced to run full-screen.

The OS was a highly dynamic object-oriented environment which would let third parties build extensions for the inbuilt apps. For example you could have extensions that would add new "stationary" types to the Notepad, or new card types to the Names app. All data was stored in "soups" - a dynamic OO database system. There was an OS-wide extensible "routing system" which was how you'd send emails, print, or fax - routing extensions were automatically made available in all apps.

In many ways it was a significantly more advanced OS than anything we have today. I often wonder what it would have developed into had it not been canned.

Reply Parent Score: 4