Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On the Ancestry of Consumer Electronics

Writing about the Newtpocalypse the other day inspired me to get my MessagePad 120 working again. In the comments of that post, Grant Hutchinson pointed out that my MP120 would not be affected and should still work. Indeed, it does! The backup lithium battery still had a little charge left, so my files are still present. The Newton pre-dates Flash memory, and stores all files in battery backed SRAM. The battery faithfully kept the SRAM powered for the last 13 years sitting in my garage, patiently waiting for me to use it again.

This morning Kara Swisher republished a Steve Jobs interview from 2004, talking about the products which Apple chooses to pursue and not to pursue. Its an interesting perspective on the eve of Apple's media event today. As she notes, in some respects Apple's new device will be "the Newton’s great-grandson."