First Look at Apple’s New Pen Based Tablet!

With Steve Jobs no longer guiding the helm of day-to-day operations at Apple, it was unclear what would become of the company. Would they manage to continue to produce innovative technologies like the Apple ][ and Macintosh … or would they succumb to producing generic grey-box computers that look like everything else on any given desktop workplace? Well, based on a product introduction held in London (you can see the video for it here), we know that Apple will not give up its industry-leading technology advancement position anytime soon!

Here is the product – called ‘Newton’, this device allows you to use a pen-like stylus to interact with a software system and interface that integrates all of your normal daily paper tasks with everything you now do on a computer. And since it is small and light, you can take it anywhere.

The built-in apps include a Notes apps to capture things you’d normally store in paper form. But since it is all digital, you can store them on your work computer, email, fax or back them up. Then there is a virtual address book called Names – this will replace your rolodex in a much more organized way – you can search and sort things easily, and instantly fax or email information to anyone on the list. And what organizer would be complete without a proper date book with including a task manager.

You can hook Newton up to the phone cable in your hotel room to send and receive faxes or emails. Of course, Apple also allows you to install software developed by others, so there is virtually no limit to what Newton can do for you!

And it is all powered by the amazing ‘Newton Intelligence’. This system will recognize everything you write on the screen and turn it into digitized text. It will also recognize names you highlight and use them to search the Names database to send email and fax info.

The hardware is glorious! Take a look at some of these images! Weighing a svelte 1.4 pounds, and measuring 8.3 x 4.7 x 1.1, Newton features a 6″ screen with a 480×320 high-resolution greyscale screen that is touch sensitive.

This image shows that when you carry the Newton around it is protected by a strong cover – which then magically folks back unobtrusively out of the way to let you get to work!

Imagine you are writing something on your Newton and want to put down your stylus pen for a minute – do you lay it on the desk to roll away? Put it on top of the screen? Of course not – there is a slide-out stylus holder!

And finally, for those who want to use Newton as a true ‘desktop replacement’, you can get an external keyboard that hooks right up and allows you to enter text as fast as you can type. With a long battery life and an overall size much smaller than just about any laptop, Newton can be the only computer you need on the go!

For a mere $1000 you can get the Newton Messagepad with the external keyboard and soft case that also acts as a desktop stand. When you think of the technology packed into it, and just how much it does … it is an amazing price for this technological wonder!

Here is a great video from Apple showing the amazing capabilities of this great new pen-based tablet! This is a device I could picture still using perhaps twenty years from now!


Categories: Gear Bits

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2 replies

  1. It was really necessary to create multiple April 1st posts, which add even more deadweight to already over-filled RSS feeds? You guys collectively can’t do just one fun story every year instead?

    • I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me it was fun – I chose a few things I loved and wrote about them. We really did have Pong and that is an actual picture from the mid-70s. I have recently brought my Newton into service again and have had fun playing with it and was amazed at how much utility was there.

      I appreciate the opinion that April 1st makes the internet useless for a day – GameStop bought Impulse and I needed to check multiple sources. This was something new and different for us, and meant to be some fun.