Feeds

Before the iPad, there was the Newton

MessagePad 120 – it didn't suck

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

'This is the end / Beautiful friend'

A Newton 2.0–equipped MessagePad 120 was, as I mentioned above, far superior to the earlier 1.x-equipped MessagePads. Version 2.0 brought such niceties as printed-handwriting recognition, auto-expanding text macros, a new (and faster) Connection Kit for backup to Mac and PC, an Ink Text capability that added cut-and-paste and word-wrap to unconverted handwritten text, and a lot more.

But it was too late. The earlier iterations' foibles — especially their capricious-before-you-trained-it handwriting recognition that was lampooned by such notables as Doonesbury and The Simpsons — had made the Newton platform a laughing stock rather than a cool, forward-looking must-have.

On Friday, February 27, 1998 — not long after his return to power at Apple — Steve Jobs released the news that we Newton aficionados had already known for some time: the MessagePad series was dead.

Newton MessagePad 120 - date stamp

(click to enlarge)

One final note. When I opened up my MessagePad 120, I discovered the above stamp on the inside of its metallic paint–sprayed case bottom. Note the date: November 4 1994. My 120 was a Newton OS 2.0 model — which wasn't released until the end of 1995.

Either Apple made a pile of MessagePad 120 case bottoms at the end of 1994 and expected another batch to be needed sometime in 1995, or the devices simply weren't selling up to projections and there was a warehouse somewhere in Taiwan that held a lot of unassembled cases for a lot longer than Cupertino had intended. ®

Bootnote1

A little help? On the top of the MessagePad 120's logic board is one prominent chip: a Zilog Z8503008VSC — and I'm at a loss as to what its function is. My guess is an I/O controller, but I assume that some experienced (and ... ahem ... "seasoned") Reg reader might be able to help me out. Here 'tis:

Newton MessagePad 120 - unknown Zilog chip

You gotta love the hand-drawn QA markings

Bootnote2

Care for a bit of Newtonian time travel? Check out the video that shipped with these li'l buggers. Much may have changed since August 1993, but marketing is forever:

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.