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

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The MessagePad 120 perfects Apple's PDA line.
Do you remember the Newton MessagePad 120?
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.

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.