Newton MessagePad

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on Newton MessagePad:

Today in Apple history: Apple shows off the Newton for the first time

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Newton MessagePad prototype with stylus.
The Newton MessagePad was truly a device ahead of its time.
Photo: Grant Hutchinson/Flickr CC

May 29: Today in Apple history May 29, 1992: Apple demonstrates its Newton MessagePad for the first time, showing how the upcoming PDA can be used to order a pizza and pull off other time-saving tricks.

Hailed by Apple CEO John Sculley as “nothing less than a revolution,” the Newton is Apple’s first major new product since the Macintosh eight years earlier. During the first Newton demo at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, Apple shows how people can customize a pizza by moving topping icons on a symbolic pie. Then they can fax the order straight from the device.

Today in Apple history: Newton spins off as its own company

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The Newton MessagePad 2000 brought many upgrades to Apple's doomed PDA line.
Things were looking up for the Newton MessagePad. Until they weren't.
Photo: iFixit

May 22: Today in Apple history: Apple spins off Newton Inc. May 22, 1997: Apple spins off its Newton division, creating an independent company to manage the line of personal digital assistants. Newton Inc.’s first job? Selling the MessagePad 2000 PDA, the best Newton device yet.

Apple also gave Newton Inc. a mandate to develop new technologies and market existing ones. “We have a solid business plan and a strong management team in place to optimize the value of Newton technology for corporate users and take Newton technology into a new era,” says Sandy Benett, former vice president of Apple’s Newton Systems Group and chief operating officer of the new venture.

Instead, it turns out to be the beginning of the end for the ahead-of-its-time Apple PDA.

Today in Apple history: Newton boss departs as device struggles

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The Newton MessagePad, an product line run by Gaston Bastiaens, looks gigantic next to an iPhone.
The Newton MessagePad did not become the immediate hit Apple desired.
Photo: Blake Patterson/Wikipedia CC

April 19 April 19, 1994: Gaston Bastiaens, the executive in charge of Apple’s revolutionary new Newton MessagePad product line, parts ways with the company.

“We can’t say whether he fell or was pushed,” says an Apple spokesman. Reports suggest that the departing Bastiaens, general manager of Apple’s personal interactive electronics division, is leaving due to his failure to make the Newton a financial success.

Today in Apple history: Apple exec bets his wine cellar on Newton

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The Newton MessagePad, an product line run by Gaston Bastiaens, looks gigantic next to an iPhone.
A daring wine cellar bet means a very public deadline for the Newton MessagePad.
Photo: Blake Patterson/Wikipedia CC

March 25: Today in Apple history: Apple executive Gaston Bastiaens bets his wine cellar on Newton March 25, 1993: Apple executive Gaston Bastiaens bets a journalist that the eagerly anticipated Newton MessagePad will ship before summer ends. The prize? Bastiaens’ well-stocked personal wine cellar, worth thousands of dollars.

The bet takes place at the CeBit trade show in Hanover, Germany. Bastiaens’ outburst comes in response to a reporter’s needling. The gamble not only gives the Newton a release timetable, but also a price target: less than $1,000.

Today in Apple history: CNN predicts doom for Apple

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Apple is worth more than the entire US energy sector combined
Apple's finances weren't in the best of shape.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

March 13: Today in Apple history: CNN predicts doom for Apple March 13, 1997: With Apple preparing to cut thousands of jobs, CNN reports that “the coffin door is closing” on Cupertino. Apple is doomed! Doomed!

Knowing what happened in the years following, we guess this could technically be considered “fake news.”

Today in Apple history: Apple reconsiders the Newton?

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The Newton MessagePad 2100 was the last hurrah for Apple's Newton line.
In retrospect, Apple's Newton MessagePad survey seems like stealth iPhone research.
Photo: Moparx

March 10: Today in Apple history: Apple reconsiders the Newton MessagePad? March 10, 2004: Apple sends out a survey to select Apple customers, claiming that it is considering relaunching the Newton MessagePad.

“We need to determine why the Apple Newton was not a commercial success and whether there is an interest in re-launching a new version of the Newton,” Apple’s survey says. “Your comments will help understand why the Newton failed and if there is interest in re-launching a new, improved Newton.”

In hindsight, it seems pretty clear that this apparent “interest” in launching another personal data assistant was a way of doing some undercover market research for the still-in-development iPhone.

Today in Apple history: Apple bids farewell to the Newton

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The Newton MessagePad 2100 was the last hurrah for Apple's Newton line.
The MessagePad was a product ahead of its time.
Photo: Moparx

February 27: Today in Apple history: Apple discontinues Newton MessagePad February 27, 1998: Apple discontinues work on the Newton MessagePad product line, the series of personal digital assistants the company launched five years earlier, and Newton OS, the operating system the devices run upon.

This decision is consistent with our strategy to focus all our software development resources on extending the Macintosh operating system,” Steve Jobs says in a press release. “To realize our ambitious plans we must focus all of our efforts in one direction.”

Today in Apple history: Newton MessagePad 120 becomes Apple’s first great mobile device

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The MessagePad 120 perfects Apple's PDA line.
The Newton MessagePad 120 finally fulfilled the promise of Apple's PDA.
Photo: Fzurell/Flickr CC

January 30: Today in Apple history: MessagePad 120 is Apple's first great mobile device January 30, 1995: Apple Computer launches the Newton MessagePad 120, the first truly great device in an unfairly maligned product line.

Coming 18 months after the original Newton MessagePad, the upgraded PDA packs more power — and truly shines once Newton OS 2.0 rolls out.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs flip-flops on the Newton

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The Newton MessagePad 2000 brought many upgrades to Apple's doomed PDA line.
The Newton MessagePad went from hero to zero overnight.
Photo: iFixit

September 4: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs flip-flops on the Apple Newton PDA September 4, 1997: The writing is on the wall for Apple’s Newton product line as Steve Jobs tells executives at the recently spun-off company not to bother moving into their new offices.

It’s quite the turnaround for the Newton division. Only months earlier, it was being portrayed as large enough to become its own company.

Larry Tesler, the Apple employee who invented cut, copy and paste, dies at 74

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Larry Tesler
Larry Tesler worked for Apple from 1980 through 1997.
Photo: Yahoo!

Larry Tesler, a pioneering computer scientist who worked at Apple from 1980 to 1997 and created computerized cut, copy and paste, died Monday at the age of 74.

Tesler served as VP of AppleNet and Apple’s Advanced Technology Group. During his time at Apple, he played a key role in the development of products ranging from the Lisa to the Newton MessagePad.

And that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to his contribution to computing.

CES sure has changed a lot since Apple was last there in 1992

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CES sure has changed a lot since Apple was last there in 1992
Here's the CES floor in 1992.
Photo: News 8

CES-2020-bug-2Apple’s privacy-focused appearance at this year’s CES marks the first time in 28 years the Cupertino company has appeared at the Consumer Electronics Show. It last had an official presence at CES way back in 1992.

Want a glimpse of what the world famous high-tech expo was like the last time Apple took the stage? Read on to find out.

Just $1,050 will bag you a limited-edition Newton MessagePad on eBay

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Just $1,050 will bag you a limited edition Newton MessagePad on eBay
Yours for a price!
Photo: eBay/tigerstudios23

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.

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.

Meet the loyal Newton fans who keep the device alive and kicking

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Keeping the light on. A group of enthusiasts who keep their Apple Newtons aglow.
Keeping the light on. A group of enthusiasts who keep their Apple Newtons aglow.
Photo: Adam Tow

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugGrant Hutchinson has never owned an iPad. He does, however, own some 15-dozen Newton devices, a few of which he uses every day to help manage tasks, a schedule and software clients.

Why would Hutchinson cling to and even rely on a clunky obsolete digital message pad, an Apple failure so big it inspired f-bomb rage in Steve Jobs and a week’s worth of damning Doonesbury comic strips?

Hutchinson is just one of a few thousand people worldwide who collect and even use Apple’s first mobile computing device, discontinued in 1998 after a number of incarnations over a rocky five-year run.