Apple Newton fans need to be in Seattle on September 28

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Love Notes to Newton traces the history of a device ahead of its time.
Newton documentary will be accompanied by a Q&A from original MessagePad team.
Photo: Love Notes to Newton

Love Notes to Newton, a documentary about Apple’s ill-fated but influential Newton MessagePad, is getting a big screen showing. The documentary will be shown at the Living Computers Museum + Labs in Seattle, Washington on September 28.

It’s accompanied by a Q&A session with several members of the original Newton team who worked at Apple. If you’re an old-school Apple fan, this is a great opportunity to get the inside story.

There are plenty of documentaries about Steve Jobs. Unfortunately, there are far fewer about the less obviously triumphant parts of Apple’s history. That’s a real shame as the Newton story is pretty fascinating.

As I’ve written before in my “Today in Apple history” posts, the various Newton devices boasted handwriting recognition, AI and some other smart features. Unfortunately, just as Apple had ironed out some of the early faults, the product line got ditched after Jobs returned to Apple in 1996. Some people theorize that Apple ditched it because it wasn’t a Steve Jobs creation.

The Love Notes to Newton documentary started life on Indiegogo. It features 40 interviews with a combination of Newton fans and those who helped create it. That includes Steve Capps, one of Apple’s veteran software engineers, and former CEO John Sculley.

I reviewed the documentary last year. As I wrote at the time: “The movie covers a wealth of material. The filmmakers clearly know their subject, and they enthusiastically delve into just about every aspect of Newton lore.” It’s a bit too shapeless to be one of the best tech documentaries of recent times. However, I’d certainly recommend it to Newton fans.

If you live in Seattle and want to it out on the big screen, the September 28 screening is a great opportunity. Registrations aren’t yet open, but they will be soon at livingcomputers.org.