Newton OS running on iPhone, iPad via Einstein emulator

Newton running on iPad, iPhone via Einstein

Forget iOS 4.2, what you really want is Newton, Apple's original handheld OS, running on your iPhone and iPad, right? Well, if you're one of the many uber-passionate Newton faithful, you probably do and there's a project underway to make it a reality.

Einstein is an open-source project to run (via emulation) the Newton OS on modern hardware. It was written and released by Paul Guyot several years ago. It’s quite an amazing piece of work.

The project got a shot in the arm earlier this month when Matthias Melcher got it up and running on iOS and posted a video of himself running it on his iPhone. Being a Newton fan since my original MessagePad in 1993, it was quite a sight to see.

Matthias mentioned he didn’t have an iPad yet, so I grabbed the source and built it for my iPad so I could take a little movie and share

Right now it's slow and required a Newton ROM that can't be legally distributed outside Apple, but there's seldom a obstacle smart, dedicated developers can't hurdle to get cool stuff done.

If you've wanted your Newton to live on beyond the original hardware, check out the video after the break.

[Steven Frank/Panic, TUAW]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Newton OS running on iPhone, iPad via Einstein emulator


I remember back in 1994 working for Reuters having a meeting with Apple's key account managers over a common project. I was the only one featuring a Newton. The considered it too bulky.

Not that I know much about programming, but...
If Apple wont approve it anyway probably, why not just create it as a debian compatible with mobile substrate, then it can be put in a repo for cydia, installed eaisly and the only thing you have to do is ssh in to the device and place the rom where it belongs?
If i had the skills i would, but im better with more abstract and hypothetical.
Logical and technical just go over my head! lol

back to the stone age!
it's amazing how slowly it runs, considering that the OS is 15 years old and the iPhone is a supercomputer compared to the original Newton hardware.

I think it is emulating the Newton's ARM instruction set on the iPhone's ARM processor.
Perhaps there is a way to get this faster.

I still have two Newtons and even I would not run this on my iPad... Fun programming exercise, but nothing more. I ran a CP/M emulator on my Apple II years ago too - nothing interesting to see here. Move on...