While my coworkers and I were talking about Palm, Be and Apple tonight, Fatcat said that the demise of BeOS is a pity, and I replied that the demise of Newton is even a tragedy. Thanks him for telling me that there was a Newton conference in September, which was held in Paris. It’s cool to see that after a product has been discontinued for 6 years, there is still a strong user base following it. To me, Newton has a position that can never be replaced. Same as other Apple products, Newton was (and still is) innovative. Not only that Newton (MessagePad 130) was the first real PDA that I used and developed upon (I wrote a navigation system with GPS in my Final Year Project), its UI design, the NewtonScript programming language, the object storage (soup), the handwriting recognition, all of them are just amazing and elegant, they are pieces of art rather than just technology. Its UI is simple yet effective and user-friendly, with consideration of accessibities and different form factors. NewtonScript is simply the best computer language besides Smalltalk, this template-based object-oriented language with the excellent IDE (don’t get me wrong, I’m a vi guy, but this IDE follows the KISS paradigm, which is like the Smalltalk browser) makes programming for Newton a breeze.
In the conference, the most interesting things are the possibility of a Newton emulator by Paul Guyot and the implementation of a NewtonScript interpreter. Wish them every success. Perhaps someday NewtonScript will be re-implemented and appears on the Linux desktop.
Long live the Newton.