Feeds

Before the iPad, there was the Newton

MessagePad 120 – it didn't suck

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A sexy beast — well, for the 1990s

The MessagePad 120, code-named "Gelato" during its development, was manufactured in Taiwan by Sharp for Apple — well, in those days, Apple Computer. Although the 120 appeared a mere 15-plus years ago, it's interesting to note how far miniaturization and fit-and-finish have improved in the ensuing years.

Newton MessagePad 120 - speaker

(click to enlarge)

Check out, for example, the width of the seams and the lack of precision of the MessagePad 120's speaker grille — which, by the way, was a separate piece of plastic that slipped in between the top and bottom body shells, and which in a pre-Jobsian lack of hyper-precise stylishness had a not-quite-matching color.

Newton MessagePad 120 - batteries

(click to enlarge)

Another pre-Jobsian touch in the long-gone days of Newtonia was that all MessagePads, the 120 included, allowed users to replace their own batteries with store-bought cheapies. What a concept: user serviceablity, not user infantilization. A rechargeable NiCad pack was also available from Apple.

Newton MessagePad 120 - IR port

(click to enlarge)

The MessagePad 120's infrared port was pre-IrDA — that standard wasn't implemented until the MessagePad 2000 and 2100, and the late, unlamented eMate 300. The 120 used the Sharp ASK (amplitude-shift keying) infrared protocol with Apple extensions — and if you want more info about those ancient IR days, check out the Newton Infrared FAQ.

Newton MessagePad 120 - contrast dial

(click to enlarge)

In the paleolithic mid-1990s, even such straightforward hardware adjustments as contrast control were performed through dials, such as on the MessagePad 120. If you talk with service folks from those days, you'll learn that more than one MessagePad owner who thought their device had died was chagrined to discover that their contrast control had inadvertently been dialed back to zero.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?