Many Mac users have been wondering what Apple will do to fill the void left when the company discontinued the Newton several years ago. Speculation swirled this past year that Apple would partner with Palm and release a Palm-branded PDA; others discarded this theory and said Apple would make their own PDA to fill a spot in the new digital lifestyle grid.
Morningstar columnist Pat Dorsey doesn’t think it will be Palm that Apple will deal with —
he looks to Handspring and wonders if Apple will buy the company. “What’s interesting is that most of the rumors seem to be flying around Palm — when Handspring may be the more likely candidate, especially for Apple.”
Dorsey says his thoughts are “rank speculation, but stranger things have happened.” He looks at three things that make Handspring a better candidate for Apple. Handspring is a lot cheaper with a market cap of $1.3 billion as opposed to Palm’s $3.7 billion; Handspring isn’t burdened with as much inventory as Palm; and Handspring has Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky, the inventors of the original Palm and the Handspring Visor.
“For someone like Steve Jobs, to whom good design is a religion, getting the brains behind the first successful mass-market handheld in house would be a real coup. After all, this is a market that Apple’s had its eye on for some time — remember the Newton? Given Apple’s renewed push into the consumer market, with retail stores opening up just last week, having an Apple-logoed handheld seems like a natural evolution for the company.”
Dorsey also points to a couple of stumbling blocks in getting a deal with Handspring done. First, Hawkins and Dubinsky may not want to work for someone else again and Apple may not want to introduce a product that doesn’t run their own OS.
“Apple also may have some reservations about introducing a product that doesn’t run an in-house operating system — though for all I know, Steve’s cooking up a handheld version of OS X in Apple’s labs as we speak.”
An Apple PDA running OS X — now that’s something I would like to see.