Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad inspires mobile revolution

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The Newton MessagePad looks gigantic next to an iPhone.
The Newton MessagePad looks gigantic next to an iPhone.
Photo: Blake Patterson/Wikipedia CC

August 2: Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad launch inspires mobile revolution August 2, 1993: Apple debuts the MessagePad, the first product in its Newton line of handheld personal digital assistants.

The most unfairly maligned product in Apple history, the Newton is a revolutionary device. It predates Apple’s push toward app-based mobile devices 14 years later. Often dismissed as a failure, the Newton ranks near the top of the list of Apple’s most influential creations.

Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad reaches new heights

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The Newton MessagePad 2000 brought many upgrades to Apple's doomed PDA line.
The Newton MessagePad 2000 brought many upgrades to Apple's doomed PDA line.
Photo: iFixit

March 24: Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad 2000 takes Apple PDA to new heights March 24, 1997: The Newton MessagePad 2000 brings major upgrades to Apple’s PDA line, including a far better display and a much faster processor.

The best MessagePad yet by a wide margin, it quickly becomes a critical and commercial success. But it won’t be enough to save the doomed product line.

Love Notes to Newton tells story of Apple’s most important failure [Review]

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Love Notes to Newton
Both the MessagePad 120 and eMate devices grew out of the Newton project.
Photo: Love Notes to Newton

The Newton MessagePad is simultaneously one of Apple’s biggest flops and one of the company’s most underrated products.

A series of PDA devices available during the 1990s, today Newtons are much-sought-after relics among a group of enthusiastic Apple fans. These collectors recognize the devices for the forward-looking gadgets they truly were. The Newton product line is now the subject of a new feature-length documentary, titled Love Notes to Newton. Can it do justice to its beloved subject matter?

What is Apple’s most underrated product? [Friday Night Fights]

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FNF Apple's most underrated
Which Apple product do you think deserves more respect?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Not every Apple product has been a runaway success, but that doesn’t mean those that weren’t were complete failures. Products like the Newton MessagePad, the G4 Cube, the Macintosh TV and even the iPhone 5c — which were all considered flops — brought great features and innovations that weren’t appreciated.

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we butt heads over Apple’s most underrated product to date.

It’s a type-off: Here’s how Apple’s Newton PDA fares against the iPhone

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Photo: Wohba/YouTube
Photo: Wohba/YouTube

Almost two decades after Apple shuttered its Newton MessagePad platform, a new video compares the device’s handwriting recognition to today’s touchscreen-based typing on the iPhone.

The fact that you had to plug your Newton into your Mac to manually transfer information makes it seem incredibly outdated. But the handwriting recognition, which was way ahead of its time in 1993, still impresses in terms of speed, as shown in the video below