The Apple Newton, or simply Newton, was an early line of personal digital assistants developed and marketed by Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) from 1993 to 1998. Some electronic engineering and the manufacture of the Newton was done in Japan by Sharp. The original Newtons were based on the ARM 610 RISC processor and featured handwriting recognition software. Apple's official name for the device was "MessagePad"; the term "Newton" was Apple's name for the operating system it used (Newton OS), but popular usage of the word Newton has grown to include the device and its software together.
Newton OS featured many interface elements that even the Macintosh OS didn't have at the time, such as drawers and the "poof" animation. These features were used in Mac OS X, along with Newton's Hand Writing Recognition (which is implemented as Inkwell in MacOS X).
The Newton had an eBook program called Newtonbook-reader that used files with a PKG extension. The Newton was pre-loaded with a variety of other software to aid in personal data organization and management. This included such applications as Notes, Names, and Dates, as well as a variety of productivity tools such as a calculator, conversion calculators (metric conversions, currency conversions, etc), time-zone maps, etc. In later versions of the Newton OS these applications were refined, and new ones were added, such as the Works word processor and the Newton Internet Enabler. Third party applications were also added.
The original MessagePad released in 1993 was upgraded via software to 1.3 and called the MessagePad 100
- Processor: ARM 610 (20 MHz)
- Memory: 4MB ROM, 640 K RAM
- screen: 336 x 240 (B&W)
- AAA batteries or NiCad rechargeable.
This list is based on the MessagePad 110 except where noted.
- Processor: ARM 610 (20 MHz), all models through the 130.
- Memory: 4MB ROM, 1-2.5 MB RAM.
- backlight: on the 130 and later
- screen: 320 x 240 (B&W)
- I/O: RS422 & SHARP ASK Infrared, 1 PCMCIA-slot II
- power: 4 AA or NiCd rechargeable or external power supply
- size: 0.45kg (15.9oz), 203.2mm H x 101.6mm W x 30mm D (8" x 4" x 1.2")
The Message Pad 2000 and 2100 increased size and capabilities of the device. They were available in 1997.
- Size: 8.3" (210.3 mm) x 4.7" (118.7 mm) x 1.1" (27.5 mm)
- Low-power, transflective 5.9" screen - 4.9" by 3.3". (129.8-mm by 83.2-mm) liquid crystal display (480 by 320 pixels at 100 dpi, with 16-level gray scale and EL backlight)
- weight: 1.4 lbs (0.64 kg) with alkaline AA batteries, NiMH rechargables available.
- StrongARM SA-110 (162 MHz)
- 8MB of RAM (4MB of DRAM, 4MB of Flash RAM)
- 8MB of mask ROM
- Two Type II PC Card slots (3 V and 5 V cards)
This could be thought of as an early Tablet.
An eMate 300 was also built in 1997. It paralleled the MP2000 series with a slower processor (ARM 710A at 25MHz) but was much larger and heavier with only NiMH rechargeable batteries. It weighed 1.81 kg and was 30.5 cm H x 29 cm W x 5.33 cm D.