The hot rumour this week is whether Apple is planning to revive the Newton handheld computer. The original Newton created the handheld market but failed before that market took off. I am not convinced at all that if it is true, the revival would be anything more than a nostalgia release like the ‘New Beetle’. The handheld market is not yet dead, but is starting to smell funny. Companies like Palm are rationalising their future releases, and others like Dell (who are a good barometer of what is happening to product line volumes) are getting out completely.
Many of the functions being crammed into mobile phones have limited use, and are unlikely to replace the stand alone product (cameras and music players for example). The PDA however is a great fit for integration, and the combined PDA/phone, especially the blackberry, has essentially demolished the stand alone PDA market. The iPhone itself is a product in this category, although I have not seen much about its use in a business context yet. And while PDA manufacturers initially thought that getting the screens bigger and the handwriting software better would drive adoption, PDA phones that are a bit smaller have sold better, and there is a marked preference for the thumb keyboards.
My question is, what would be better about an iPhone by making it less convenient to carry?