RumorMill™: Apple Handheld Prototype in Circulation

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Apple’s Newton line was some of the first handhelds, and the company’s CEO John Sculley even coined the term “PDA”. But the computer maker withdrew from the handheld market in 1998. However, at least once a year a rumor circulates that Apple is going to release a new line of handhelds to replace the Newton.

It is apparently time for this to happen again. An article in eWeek about wireless handhelds says that the author has “heard of an Apple prototype making the rounds in Silicon Valley. … I’m hoping for a surprise next year.”

Rumors like this persist, despite the fact that Apple has said several times it has no plans to re-enter the handheld market. In June of this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told an audience at a trade show that his company will concentrate on making the Macintosh OS be able to synchronize with portable devices through its iSync software, rather than making a device of its own.

While Apple doesn’t make a handheld per se, its iPod line of MP3 players offers many of the features handhelds do, like the ability to store and display contacts, calendar, and to-do lists. In addition, the latest version comes with a text reader and three games. However, the iPod doesn’t have a touch screen or keyboard so users can’t enter data directly into it. This must be synchronized from a desktop or laptop.

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