Yes, folks. The spiritual predecessor of the iPhone is still alive and well. The Einstein Project, found here, was started by Paul Guyot in 2004, giving the Newton OS new life on MacOS, Linux, Windows, and on some other tablet devices. However, the game has now changed, it seems. Yesterday, a video showing a port of Einstein from developer Matthias Melcher running on an iPhone appeared on YouTube. The circle is now complete, I guess. Apple’s original mobile OS has come home to roost on it’s current trailblazing iOS platform.
The emulator runs a bit slow in the brief demonstration, but the developer says that they are working on that. Also, the device in the video appears to be either an iPhone 3G or a 3GS. I would imagine an iPhone 4 or iPad would help kick things up a notch in the speed department. I read the Development Strategy Wiki on the Einstein project site, and the developer has ambitious plans to eventually bring a native iOS version of Einstein to both the iPhone and iPad in the future. I absolutely applaud the grand vision. I seriously doubt we ever see this project darken the App Store’s door, especially considering Apple’s wariness towards emulation, but I think it is a good bet that we will have yet another reason to continue jailbreaking those iOS devices in the not too distant future.
The fact that Newton OS is still kicking around outside of a dusty computer museum speaks volumes considering that Apple, excuse me, Steve Jobs killed it over a decade ago. My first PDA was a Windows CE 2.0 clamshell, and not even a bad case of nostalgia could drag me back to that monster. I admit that I never personally owned a Newton, but I have played around with a 2100 a few times, and it was so far ahead of its time. Probably a little too much for its own good. For all the media flack and commercial failure, however, Apple blazed a trail and showed what could work on a mobile device, and what couldn’t at the time. While Apple bowed out of the market to go down their own new path to revolutionizing the consumer electronics and music industries, Microsoft and Palm cultivated the garden that Apple planted and made the PDA a mainstream device. Would we be where we are today without the Newton? It’s hard to say, but no one can deny the impact that it had on mobile technology.
I am very curious how many of you out there are former Newton users. I would love to hear your take, or anyone who has an opinion on the Newton for that matter. Does anyone out there still have or use a Newton? Has anyone tried Einstein out before? If so, what was your experience like with it? Is anyone excited to see the venerable Newton OS come to the iPhone? How many of you will give this a spin, whether it is on the App Store or Cydia? I anxiously await your comments.