Remembering Apple’s Newton, 30 years on

Thirty years ago, on May 29, 1992, Apple announced its most groundbreaking and revolutionary product yet, the Newton MessagePad. It was released to great fanfare a year later, but as a product, it could only be described as a flop. Widely mocked in popular culture at the time, the Newton became a poster child for expensive but useless high-tech gadgets. Even though the device improved dramatically over time, it failed to gain market share, and it was discontinued in 1997. Yet while the Newton was a failure, it galvanized Apple engineers to create something better—and in some ways led to the creation of the iPad and the iPhone.

I have one of the earlier Newtons and it really isn’t a very good product, even in context. It tried to do a lot of groundbreaking things, but it suffered from feature creep and the hardware just not being ready. I’ve read later, more powerful Newton devices are a lot more pleasant to use, so I might snap one up.


  1. 2022-06-01 5:43 pm
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