Many users of modern smartphones and tablets mistakenly believe that Apple did not make mobile devices until the first iPhone and iPad. However, in the arsenal of “apple” there are several such devices.

The devices weren’t revolutionary at the time they were released, they didn’t move the industry forward, and they didn’t garner thousands of “images” at the time of their introduction.

Now we will remember about not the most successful line of gadgets in the history of Apple.

How were things at Apple without Jobs?

All the gadgets described below were developed and produced by Apple during the absence of one of the founders of the company – Steve Jobs. He left his offspring at the end of 1985.

The company has lost a charismatic leader and retreated from the course set by him. Since the early 90s, Apple has tried to release completely new products and clung to customers in different niches. So, for example, from 1994 to 1996, Cupertino released three models of color cameras QuickTakewhich did not receive wide popularity and did not particularly stand out at the level of the lineup Kodak and fujifilm.

A more characteristic product line for the company, which was as close as possible to the offered range of computers, were communicators. Apple Newton.

In those years, the term communicator or PDA itself did not yet exist. At the development stage of Apple Newton gadgets, they were called personal digital assistants (personal digital assistant, PDA). This concept was introduced by John Sculley, who led Apple from 1983 to 1993.

It was Scully who took Jobs’s place as CEO of the Apple company and began to apply his marketing knowledge gained during his time at Apple. Pepsi Cola.


This is what the first concepts of tablets and PDAs from Apple looked like

At the design stage, the developers imagined Newton as something between a modern smartphone and a tablet. Marketers have already worked out an advertising campaign for the product and saw designers, architects and engineers as the main target audience. The gadget was supposed to allow storing and editing documents of different formats, making handwritten notes or sketches.

What came of it – see below.

1. MessagePad or Original MessagePad

The first MessagePad model, also called the Original MessagePad (OMP) or H1000, was introduced by John Scully on May 29, 1993 at the summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Chicago. The gadget went on sale only 14 months later in the late summer of 1994.

The heart of the novelty was the ARM 610 processor with a clock frequency of 20 MHz. On board was 4 MB permanent memory and 490 KB operational. Most of the front panel was occupied by a black-and-white matrix with a resolution of 334×240 pixels.

The dimensions of the first Apple Communicator were 184.75 × 114.3 × 19.05 mm. For comparison, the dimensions of the current iPad mini model are 203.2 × 138.8 × 6.1 mm. Weighed MessagePad 400 gr.

The device was equipped with an expansion slot PCMCIA II, which initially allowed you to connect memory cards and external drives, and then learned to interact with other peripheral accessories. On the case there was a connector popular in those days RS-422 for connecting external input sources.

To power the device, 4 replaceable AAA batteries were used, which were completely discharged after 5-6 hours of continuous use.

The gadget was running an operating system newton OS, which was developed by Apple. Initially, the system supported English and German.

The price of the device was from $900 to $1569. In the first few months, the company managed to sell over 50,000 copies messagepad.

A powerful advertising campaign and an overly laudatory presentation during the announcement of the gadget formed high expectations among buyers, which gave way to disappointment in the first six months of MessagePad sales.

The main feature of the model – handwriting recognition, worked extremely poorly. The device took a very long time to learn the owner’s handwriting, which required regular manual addition of the words used to the database.

The operating system was very crude, had a lot of bugs, and the autonomy of the device did not allow using it for one working day.

The gadget could not be connected to a computer out of the box, it was necessary to purchase a rather rare cable and download special software.

2. MessagePad 100 and MessagePad 110

The first MessagePad existed on the market for only 7 months, and during this time the Cupertino team did a lot of work on the bugs. The result was the release of two followers of the first model of the communicator at once in the form MessagePad 100 and MessagePad 110. Gadgets appeared in March 1994.

base model MessagePad 100 completely repeated the appearance and dimensions of its predecessor. The dimensions matched up to a millimeter, and the iron completely copied the original.

The main difference was the key update of the Newton OS 1.2 operating system and the addition of a third French interface language. The software was finalized, the bugs found were fixed and the handwriting recognition system was seriously improved.

senior model MessagePad 110 received an enlarged 203.2 × 101.6 × 30 mm.the same processor was installed inside ARM 610 (20 MHz) and 4 MB permanent memory. At the same time, the amount of RAM was increased (from 490 KB to 544 KB) and the disk space available to the user was expanded.

The display at the same time slightly lost in resolution and could display 320 × 240 pixels. It was proposed to use 4 AA batteries for power, which made the gadget more autonomous.

The devices were sold for more than 8 months, and then for another half a year they were not withdrawn from sales after the release of the next model.

3. MessagePad 120 and MessagePad 130

The next two generations of the MessagePad continued to exploit the proven hardware platform and came out with minor changes.

Introduced October 1994 MessagePad 120 received a modification with 8 MB of permanent memory and a RAM module increased to 639 KB.

The main emphasis was again placed on software development. The device was sold with an update Newton OS 1.3and a few months later received a major update Newton OS 2.0 with an additional set of applications and interesting features.

The gesture system, which is now used in iPadOS paired with Apple Pencil styluses, turned out to be quite successful. So, to delete a word, it had to be crossed out, and to highlight it, it had to be circled. In addition, the device is able to independently align hand-drawn geometric shapes. Everything worked exactly the same as the iOS 14 feature.

The other parameters did not differ from MessagePad 110. In this form, the new device was successfully sold for more than a year and a half.

In March 1996, the last gadget on the ARM 610 platform was released – MessagePad 130.

There was only one modification with a storage capacity of 8 MB, but the amount of RAM almost doubled and amounted to 1199KB. At the disposal of the user was 1361 KB, which is almost 15 times more than was available on the first MessagePad model.

The black-and-white touch display began to be equipped with backlighting, which made it possible to work in the dark or in low light. The rest of the parameters were the same.

Both devices had a body and dimensions completely identical to the MessagePad 110.

4. eMate 300

Cupertino decided to develop the idea of ​​a personal assistant for the user and in March 1997 released a gadget eMate 300. Outwardly, it resembled typical laptops of that time, but it worked on the hardware of the MessagePad line and was controlled by a mobile operating system. newton.

The EMate 300 was equipped with 6.8 inch resolution touch screen 480×320 pixels. The screen displayed 16 shades of gray and had backlighting.

For input, the user could use a stylus or a keyboard that was approximately 85% the size of a standard Apple computer keyboard.

All calculations were performed by the processor ARM 710a at 25 MHzthe amount of permanent memory was 8 MB, and the operational memory was 1 MB with the possibility of expansion.

A port for connecting a headset and an infrared port for transmitting information to other gadgets with the same interface appeared on the case. The PCMCIA port of the third revision allowed connecting Ethernet adapters, modems, Bluetooth modules and other peripherals to the device.

The eMate 300 case dimensions were 305 × 290 × 53.3mmand weight – 1.81 kg.

The built-in battery was responsible for the power supply, which was enough for 28 hours of continuous operation.

The main emphasis of the model was on educational and educational institutions. The gadget received a translucent green plastic case and was sold at a price $799.

5. MessagePad 2000 and MessagePad 2100

Model MessagePad 2000 introduced in March 1997 at the same time as the eMate 300.

The gadget was based on a new more powerful processor StrongARM SA-110 with frequency 162MHz. The storage capacity is 8 MB, and the RAM is 1 MB.

The screen still displayed 16 shades of gray, but the resolution increased to 480 × 320 pixels. The background illumination of the matrix has not gone anywhere either.

It is curious that in 2009 the edition CNET compared MessagePad 2000 With iPhone 3GSand at the time of release MessagePad was billed as more innovative.

Seriously expanded the capabilities of the device not one, like its predecessors, but two slots at once PCMCIA II. The eMate 300 has inherited the IR port.

Released after 8 months modification MessagePad 2100 did not have any special differences and was equipped with RAM increased to 4 MB.

Both devices were sold until early 1998.

What eventually happened to the MessagePad line

This gadget of competitors almost buried the MessagePad

Cupertino released gadgets running the Newton operating system for more than six years, but the devices were never considered bestsellers and did not have the expected success in the market.

Analysts attribute the failure of the series to a high price. The gadget originally cost from $900, and with the release of each new modification, the price tag rose even higher. By the time the most powerful models appeared MessagePad 2000 and MessagePad 2100 buy a mobile gadget from Apple cheaper $1000 was impossible.

The second reason for the low interest of the public was the size of the devices produced. It is difficult to call a gadget with the size of an iPad mini and a thickness of three centimeters mobile. Not every user was ready to carry such a device with him, which did not even fit in his pocket.

Do not forget about the possibilities of the CCP of that time. In fact, it was a large notebook.

At the same time, it cannot be said that the market was unprepared for such a class of devices. Competing model has become much more successful Palm Pilotwhich was introduced by a little-known company a year before the end of the MessagePad line.

The device became very popular, it was sold within a year more than 1 million pieces, and the company itself continued to successfully move and develop the PDA market. The devices of this brand were more compact, had more functions and interesting features, coped better with handwriting recognition, and most importantly, they were cheaper than Apple mobile devices.

By the end of 1996, Steve Jobs returned to Apple. He began to take a number of measures to bring the company out of the crisis, one of the steps was the complete closure of the MessagePad line. Gadgets were losing to competitors on all fronts, and Steve understood the need for change.

The company took a ten-year pause, and already in 2007, Jobs presented the first iPhone, but that’s a completely different story.

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