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Newton was Apple Computer's first attempt to create a mobile platform for the handheld market. A series of devices were released from 1993 to 1997 by Apple and third-party companies, all running various versions of Newton OS.[1]

History

Development

A MessageSlate prototype, codenamed "Senior".

A MessagePad prototype, codenamed "Junior".

The Newton project was begun by Steve Sakoman around 1987 with the support of Apple executives Jean-Louis Gassée and John Sculley. However the scope of the project ballooned out of control with an A4-sized prototype, codenamed Figaro, which was expected to cost over US$6000 by 1992. Sakoman and Gassée left Apple to form Be, Inc. Sculley assigned Larry Tesler to salvage the project and Steve Capps was brought in after creating a working mockup in HyperCard. Three models were then planned: a larger 9 x 12 inch version codenamed Senior with a target price of $5000, a mid-sized 6 x 9 inch version with a target price of under $2000 that was quickly cancelled, and a small 4.5 x 7 inch version codenamed Junior with a target price of around $500 which would go on to become the MessagePad.[2][3] Apple established a new Personal Interactive Electronics (PIE) division in 1992 to develop and market the devices.[4]

Release

Apple CEO John Sculley unveiled the first device, tentatively called the Newton NotePad,[5] on May 29, 1992 during the keynote address of the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, Illinois.[6][7] However, it was still beset by thousands of bugs when 4,000 prototype units went into production on May 26, 1993 for use at point-of-purchase displays at retail stores. The first MessagePad finally began shipping on August 3, 1993 at Macworld Expo Boston for the base price of US$699.[2] However, there were accusations of price gouging as high as $897 of early customers who had waited in long lines. Third-party companies signed up for licenses to produce their own versions of Newton devices, with the Sharp Expert Pad PI-7000 being announced at the same time as original MessagePad.[8] By 1995, tepid sales of the MessagePad 120 forced Apple to resort to rebates to help move inventory of devices and accessories.[9]

Discontinuation

Newton, Inc. logo.svg
Newton Technology logo.png

The Newton Systems Group was spun off from Apple Computer on July 1, 1997 into a wholly-owned subsidiary company, Newton, Inc.[10] The MessagePad 2100 was the first and only model to be released under the "Newton Technology" brand.[11] The subsidiary was soon re-absorbed back into Apple after CEO Gil Amelio was fired by the board and Steve Jobs took over as interim CEO. Jobs cancelled the Newton on February 27, 1998,[12] causing fans and developers to protest at the Apple campus in March.[13]

Legacy

Former Apple Newton developers founded Pixo, the company that created the operating system for the original iPod in 2001.[14] The iPhone and iPad, released in 2007 and 2010 respectively, are considered to be spiritual successors to the MessagePad.[15] A similar stylus did not appear from Apple until 2015 with the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro.[16] In 2020, iPadOS 14 introduced handwriting recognition for Apple's iPad line.[17]

Hardware models

Apple Computer

MessagePad 2000 with stylus and keyboard

eMate 300

Digital Ocean

  • Tarpon, based on the MessagePad 120.
  • Seahorse, based on the MessagePad 130.

Harris SuperTech 2000

Harris Network Support Systems

Motorola

Schlumberger

Sharp

Siemens

Video gallery

References

  1. Newton: Products, Apple Computer. Archived 1997-07-07.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Story Behind Apple’s Newton by Tom Hormby, Low End Mac. 2013-08-06.
  3. Luckie, Douglas. Newton MessagePad. Michigan State University. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26.
  4. Its as easy as Apple PIE for Newton launch this week by Computer Business Review, Tech Monitor. 1992-05-25.
  5. Apple gets to the core of a consumer division by Mark Potts, The Washington Post. 1993-01-17.
  6. On this day in 1992: Apple CEO John Sculley unveils the Newton, Apple's personal digital assistant, at CES in Chicago by Jon Erlichman, Twitter. 2017-05-29.
  7. Happy 25th birthday, Apple Newton, you beautiful failure by Stan Schroeder, Yahoo! Finance. 2017-05-29.
  8. Newton steals the show at Boston Macworld Expo by Knight-Ridder News Service, The Baltimore Sun. 1993-08-09.
  9. Apple Announces Nationwide Rebate Program for MessagePad 120s, Apple Computer. 1995-05-10. Archived 1999-01-16.
  10. Newton, Inc. Unveils Fresh Corporate Identity and Announces New Company Headquarters in U.S. and Europe, Apple Computer. 1997-08-06. Archived 1998-02-04.
  11. Luckie, Douglas. MessagePad 2100/2000 with OS 2.1. Michigan State University. Archived from the original on 2014-03-23.
  12. Why did Apple kill the Newton? by David MacNeill, Pen Computing Magazine. 1998-06.
  13. 22 years ago (March 6, 1998) Newton fans staged a protest at Apple to express their displeasure in shuttering the Newton project. by SchnauzerLogic, Twitter. 2020-03-10.
  14. Little-known startup was behind iPod's easy-to-use interface / Firm's founder now working on the latest handhelds by Matthew Yi, San Francisco Chronicle. 2004-08-16.
  15. Remembering the Newton MessagePad, 20 years later by Benj Edwards, Macworld. 2013-08-27.
  16. Review: Apple Pencil is the best iPad writing tool yet … if you can handle the Pro’s size by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac. 2015-11-24.
  17. iPadOS 14 introduces new features designed specifically for iPad, Apple Inc. 2020-06-22.

External links

Articles

IPod Nano 6.jpg This article is a semistub. You can help by expanding it.
Newton OS logo.png   Newton
MessagePad : H1000 · 100 | 110 · 120 · 130 | 2000 · 2100
eMate 300 | MessageSlate | Newton, Inc. | Newton OS | StarCore
Third parties : Digital Ocean Tarpon · Seahorse | Harris SuperTech 2000 | Motorola Marco | Schlumberger Watson
Sharp Expert Pad PI-7000 · 7100 | Siemens NotePhone · Online Terminal
Open source community : Einstein | Worldwide Newton Conference
Discontinued in February 1998
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