You have to picture me squinting hard here as I peer into the murky middle-distance… OK, so the iPhone runs OS X, right? Now, we don’t know what processor it’s packing. Note that the OLPC XO packs an AMD Geode x86 compatible, clocked at 400MHz, claimed to be equivalent to a PIII-500, and the whole machine rocks in at 20W. Plenty of people are assuming iPhone runs on an ARM of some sort, and OS X is demonstrably architecture-portable (heck, it just moved from PowerPC to x86, and there used to be SPARC and HP-whatever versions of its ancestor OPENSTEP) – so it could run on ARM. But does it need to? I’m rather assuming it runs on an ultra low-voltage Core Solo variant, but what do I know?

Whatever, it’s running enough of OS X to have Core Image and Core Animation, WebKit, the Security bits, and so on: which I guess means a chunk of Cocoa is there. Which other bits of OS X does it run, and how do developers get at it? It’s not clear if they’re going to be allowed to (sharp intake of breath), but one has to speculate:

Inkwell, right? Apple’s handwriting recognition software. It’s surprisingly good, and it’s integrated into OS X – plug in a graphics tablet and you can scribble all over the screen. We know Inkwell is portable too, since it’s also made it from PowerPC to x86… and because it started out on ARM. Er… huh?

Yeah, see, Inkwell used to be called ‘Rosetta,’ back in the day when it ran on – da-da-daaaa! – Newton.

Is anybody else amused by the prospect of running a 12 year-old ex-Newton handwriting recogniser on an all-new handheld from… er… Apple? Cracks me up, anyway.