There are rumor-mongers on the web suggesting that there is a new Apple hand-held device on the horizon. Some are calling it a successor to the Apple Newton.
I am excited, but guarded. For example, when the iPhone was officially announced, I really did believe it was the right device for me. But, in truth, even though the OS it runs resembles OS X at least superficially, that's not enough.
The fiasco recently with the breakage following the last iPhone system software update underscores what for me are critical failings of the device:
- I can't install applications I want.
- Applications written for OS X don't work, even if I could
- It has to be activated before I can use it.
Let me be the first two say that if Apple released a portable device with wireless connectivity that got me around all of those issues, I would be in line.
I am not so enamored of my Treo, or the Blackberry, or Windows Mobile that I won't consider alternatives. And let me just say that I am actively looking for alternatives.
I want a portable device that's more portable than a notebook, that's as powerful as a notebook.
I want to be able to run a real web browser on it, including support for Flash and Java and tabbed browsing. FireFox or Opera, please!
I want to be able to install an RSS reader. I don't like web-based services.
I want to be able to run an FTP/SFTP client.
I want a real email client configurable for multiple providers.
I want my calendar and contacts. I need them to be available when I don't have access to the web.
I want real document editing capabilities including spell-check.
Right now, my Treo does most of this in a fashion that's workable until I can get to a computer. But the web browser and browsing experience are big, big turn offs. Composing an entry for this web journal on my Treo is so painful that I have stopped trying. I can't use the web interface built-in to the software and the third-party applications I have tried offer some functionality but are not at all what I would call rich clients.
Give me a portable computer.
Don't make me activate it with any provider.
Don't force me to use the synchronization tools provided with a single commercial operating system.
Give me the freedom to install the applications I need. Support third-party development.
Apple could run away with more of my money. I want my next laptop to be an Apple. I'm looking at running an Apple server at my house in the long-term.
But, if Apple keeps putting up more walled gardens, I'm out. I will switch to Linux to get out from DRM and I won't look back.
Intel's work on Linux and Palm's work on Linux could prove to be the right way to go. I still believe Palm has it in them to pull out a winner.
If there is a known-good Linux distro to install on one of the current UMPCs... You will definitely have my attention. If Ubuntu will install and be fully functional on the ASUS EEE PC? Then all of this discussion might be moot.