Palm OS on the iPhone? Check. Android on the iPhone? Quasi-check. Newton OS on the iPhone? As of today, that’s a trio of affirmations. Developer Matthias Melcher has wisely used a good bit of his free time to port one of the world’s forgotten-but-not-forgotten operating systems onto Apple’s iOS platform, and while things are understandably sluggish right now, he’s currently working on performance optimizations that’ll hopefully have it running like a clock before long. He’s also made the source code available to anyone willing to tinker with the emulator, and somehow or another, he’s even managed to bring over the much-hyped handwriting recognition aspect. Don’t believe us? Hop on past the break and hit play.
Emulating a decades old OS may not be to great in and of itself. But, like so many things, the little ideas that come up while implementing this can lead to all sorts of important advances.
Why this is kind of cool is that so many of the things we expect on a smartphone today were available on a Newton 15 years ago. It was just to far ahead of its time. Now the circle can be completed.
Yet, if companies like Intel have their way, you would not be allowed to tinker with something because you really do not own it.