Newton OS 3 dubbed 'Navi'


Staff member
According to a source close to Avie, a group at Apple is close to finalizing the software that will drive the next Apple MessagePad. I didn't hear anything about any hardware yet, but as far as the OS is concerned, it seems like it's going to be based on Darwin. There are three layers on top of it. One is Cocoa: Apps coded for Apple's Cocoa environment will definitely be only a compile away from running on Apple's next PDA. The second layer is QuickTime. Although it's debatable whether a small device should be able to play full-length movies, the technology will be ready for it. The third layer is where it becomes interesting. The main graphics engine will be OpenGL based. The user interface will look similar to the 'Slate' theme QuickTime and iTunes are using, but it will definitely *not* be the same. The interface is said to be something completely unexpected when you first look at it. Although it *is* fully based on 3D and the displays for the devices will *of course* be color, both those features will mostly be used to provide a very natural, analogue feeling to the device. Applications that are already set for bundling is a bumped up version of iTunes (which also plays all other QT media and therefore the device won't need a separate QT player), a PIM application that derives straight from Newton OS 2.x and something the source only said the following about: "The Japanese will buy a lot of those devices once they're out."


Simply Daemonic
lol rumors are what drive stock prices up :p

sounds nice but I am sceptical, besides, where is the NewtonOS compatibility layer for us "newtonians" eh ????

if apple makes this, depending on size I might buy one even though I have 2 PDAs lol :p

you would think so. You would also think some kind of home server or media box would be as well... but jobs has said that they aren't doing that.


Staff member
Some new information just in...

According to the same developer (he seems to be in the op-sys department so has less info on hardware) Apple wants to be very, very careful about its second step into the PDA arena. Steve Jobs officially denied rumours about a PDA out of Apple several times, but we also know for sure that Apple *does* want to bring out several 'digital hub' devices. The iPod was just number one in a row of maybe three or more such devices.

Also Apple wants to lead in every way. The iPod was the leading MP3 player, technologically speaking - not in price. Apple needs to keep their image as an innovator rather than just another computer maker.

Thus a simple Palm clone would not make any sense at all, even if it had a FireWire connector, as normal PDA use doesn't really *need* such a faster connection or loads of disk space.

According to my source Apple wants to catch a user group that so far was left a bit behind by the PDA market (although some developers have tried to reach this market with Windows CE/Pocket PC already): Journalists. An integral part of the technology dubbed 'Navi' is sound recording and handwriting recognition. Newton's HWR was leading at the time when the MessagePad 2100 came about, which was too late already for the market, because Palm (Palm Pilot at the time) had started to bite into it. But the really important thing is sound recording. QuickTime as a basic layer of the PDA will alow high quality (stereo with a stereo microphone) recording - and the Toshiba harddrive known from the iPod (5 or 10 GB harddisks are available but will very much dictate the price) will allow enough space for long sessions at a *very high* quality, a feature any other handheld can't provide as of now. This will all take place in the background, while you take notes or read your prepared questions on/from the screen.

This is all I've got as info, the following paragraph is pure speculation...

Toshiba might have a deal with Apple to push those small harddrives, allowing Apple to sell the devices very much near the price of the harddrive. The iPod might continue to be sold with a 5GB drive, while the Navi-device will have a 10GB drive. So while the iPod will go down in price (Toshiba will lower the prices), the PDA will cost only slightly more than the iPod originally cost. This sounds reasonable to me, will boost iPod sales (although everyone will want the PDA but might not be able to afford it). This is very similar to the TiBook/iBook pair, where everyone wants a Ti but most of the people rather buy 'half the thing' (the iBook) than go to the competition. (Buy into luxury.)
It sounds cool, however it would still need something different. If all it is is something to take notes on and record things then it wouldn't be much. If it had other apps on it, it might be more interesting. It could become a portable photo album/mp3 collection/video player. How much compressed video (quicktime) could fit in 10 gigs BTW? Also it would need to have wireless features, and not the wireless "in major US cities" crap. A huge percentage of mac users would ever be able to use it if it were just like that. It would have to be small enough to fit in your pocket (smaller then the original newton) but it would have to have a big enough screen.


Staff member
Use your imagination. QuickTime alone makes many apps possible. Read the first post: Cocoa! QuickTime 4 will make MPEG 4 possible. This is not DivX, but a similar technology. (DivX is based on a early MPEG4 codec by Microsoft.) So a 10 GB harddrive can accept... Well, count yourself, you can pack a high-res DivX on a CD-R with 700 MB.

Cool enough?

Wireless Internet is too expensive in Europe anyway. Let it have an IRdA port so we can use a mobile phone with it. AirPort? That'd be interesting, it'd make a good webpad, now wouldn't it? But I hope the interface would allow good fullscreen apps. On a smaller screen than 1024*768 (and it sure WOULD be smaller than that) the browsing experience is diminished too much by interface elements. iCab springs to mind. Or OmniWeb (not because it's full screen, but because they adapt very fast to new technologies that Cocoa provides).
I was thinking that it could use the mobile phone network... whatever system that is. It should also have ethernet or something so you could hook it up to a network.
That would be really cool if it could do video and photos and music. It would be more of a multimedia pad rather then a boring old calender type thing.

Picture this:

Your going over to your parents (insert family member or friend's name here :D) place. You take the bus over. On the way there you listen to some MP3s while catching up on some work and checking your email.

You get there talk for a bit then you pull your iPad out of your pocket and show them all your pictures (courtesy of iphoto) and all your home videos (courtesy of imovie). Your parents love them so you hook the iPad up to their computer (preferably a mac.... it wouldn't work as well on a PC :D) and transfer the video and pictures they want over so they can show all their friends.

This thing would also be useful for presentations and taking notes as well. Also it would be good for journalists as mentioned earlier in this thread.

This is something realistic that Apple could do. It would be amazing if they did. I'd buy one in a second!
I hope is airport ready. My university got wlan, nice to be online all the time :D . It would be perfet for me to record classes, store pdf's (dont have to carry books to school) and source code on that device. And of course a shit load of mp3's and some dilbert episodes.

And then its up to the developers to write cool apps.
GBA emulator if the cpu can handle it.
Drawing apps.
Remote control applications for tv/sterio/dvd player and so on(apps that like exits for the newton
Terminal app (if not included)
If the device got a usb port, driver and app for webcams....
Science calculators
Fax app / sms app (addon GSM flash card)
If you can use cocoa to write software, it will be so nice to write software for it.

I really want a kick ass pda...
I hope they use a standard like PCMCIA/TypeI&II/Cardbus what ever standard card they use in their laptops.

You can use your airport card when your at school/home/airport that has that technology, then swap it out for a CDPD modem while you're on the road.

Add a pc card hard drive for more storage.

Digital (video)cameras, microphones, etc.. snap in and out with ease.


I Think Different
Incredible! I like stirring rumors as much as the next guy but this is sooooo far out :) Technology like described here is at LEAST 3 years out. 10gig hard drive? smaller than original newton? Coca support? Wow maybe communism does work......
Originally posted by Koelling
Incredible! I like stirring rumors as much as the next guy but this is sooooo far out :) Technology like described here is at LEAST 3 years out. 10gig hard drive? smaller than original newton? Coca support? Wow maybe communism does work......
Why cant the technology described here be out today? 10gb of hardrive that small are out. Smaller than the original Newton, c'mon, the newton is ~5years old technology, its should not be so hard to make it smaller. Cocoa support, why not. If the OS is based on darwin it would be natural to use cocoa, a easy and fast IDE for development.

I think this can be reality. But its very interesting to stirring rumors :D

i think that of all the Apple PDA rumors, this one holds the most water...

How cool would this be with Quicktime 6 in it? Load the thing up with a full movie before a flight or long drive. Rock.

I assume it would also be able to sync via airport.
I dont think its that far out. There are 10 gig hard drives like the one used in the ipod. They could easily get os x running on it, which would mean you could probably run cocoa. Which would mean that os x apps could run on it with some modifications. Its not far out at all.