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. The new company’s first job? Selling the MessagePad 2000 PDA.

Newton Inc. also has 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 Apple’s Newton Systems Group and chief operating officer of the new venture.

Instead, it turns out to be the beginning of the end.

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?