The Newton MessagePad is probably the single most underrated product in Apple’s entire history. Now, thanks to a new eBay auction, you can get your hands on one of the rarest Newtons ever created.
The clear, limited production prototype Newton MessagePad 110 was given out to a select few people at Apple’s 1994 developer conference. Apple only ever made a few hundred units. If you’re quick, you could own one. For a price, of course.
“Up for sale is a CLEAR Apple Newton MessagePad 110 PDA + TONS OF EXTRAS all original,” reads the eBay listing. The seller is a former Apple employee, who worked for the company in the 1990s.
“They say this is still a very unusual item and highly collectible (I’ve been watching for another one to pop up on eBay for years with no results). I received conflicting estimates as to how many were actually produced; the lowest I was told was 150, the highest only 1200.”
The device still works, although it’s missing its original stylus. It does, however, come with a bunch of neat additions. As well as the original manuals, this includes decals, a leather carry case, two serial modems, accessory cases, and more. The seller’s even throwing in a “Think Different” booklet, commemorating the iconic ad campaign.
The seller is asking for $1,050, although shipping may also set you back a bit. (“Lot of items included – so it’s heavy.”) That’s a few hundred bucks cheaper than a similar device that sold a few years back.
Newton MessagePad: A device worth an eBay purchase
The Newton MessagePad 110 was a second-gen model of Apple’s revolutionary PDA device. It boasted an ARM 610 processor, 1 MB RAM, and a whopping 320 × 240 pixel black-and-white display. It offered a glimpse at the mobile-first world Apple later revolutionized with the iPhone.
The Newton let users take notes, make calendar entries, etc. It even featured surprisingly smart artificial intelligence to make use of contextual data. For instance, writing the phrase “Meet Charlie Sorrel for lunch on Wednesday” would create an entry in the MessagePad’s calendar app at the appropriate time.
The MessagePad 110 still wasn’t perfect. In my view, it wasn’t until 1995’s MessagePad 120 that fans first got a truly great Newton. This also brought in the vastly superior Newton OS 2.0, which corrected many of the earlier OS problems.
Still, as bits of tech history go, this clear Newton MessagePad is certainly a piece that many Apple fans would love to own. So don’t spend too long thinking about whether or not to place your order!