25 yrs ago today, Apple discontinued the Newton. What devices do you miss?

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ARTICLE – Twenty-five years ago today on 2/27/1998, Steve Jobs ended the production of the Apple Newton. Did you own the original Newton aka MessagePad or one of the later models like the MP100, MP110, MP120, MP130, MP2000, MP2100, or eMate 300? I had a MessagePad 2000 long enough to post several Newton accessory reviews and I still have the eMate 300 shown above. I keep the eMate around for nostalgia but after hearing that today was the 25th anniversary of the death of the Newton, it made me reminisce about the  MessagePad.

When I bought the MessagePad 2000, it was only months before it was discontinued. I was already deep in the world of PalmPilot PDAs, but the MessagePad looked so cool with its large display and handwriting recognition, that I had to get one. But when it was all said and done, I couldn’t really embrace it and used it almost exclusively as a digital TV guide using the awesome Couch Fire app.


Steve killed the Newton because he didn’t like that it didn’t work well with just a finger and needed a stylus. The MessagePad was a device way ahead of its time though. The Newton was the precursor to what would ultimately become so much more with the iPad or maybe more appropriately, the iPad mini.

The Newton reminds me of when PDAs were new, exciting, and fun. Although I wouldn’t want to go back to those days or actually use these older devices today, I do wish that the same kind of excitement existed today for the current devices that we have on the market. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that someday soon that it happens again and I wonder if the excitement will come from a new Apple device. What do you think? What do you miss from today’s devices?


19 thoughts on “25 yrs ago today, Apple discontinued the Newton. What devices do you miss?”

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  2. I had a MessagePad. I remember buying it while visiting an Apple Store in Los Angeles. I also remember that the U.S. Park Service used them for the tour on Alcatraz Island.

    I owned several PDA’s…Cassiopeia (various models) and even a Psion. Those were the days…

    1. I had various Palm PDAs, and Julie’s review made me get the Palm V. But my overall favorite was the Sharp Zaurus because of the keyboard and its ability to sync with Outlook.

  3. My PalmPilot was my day-to-day personal management tool. I still have it and tried charging it a couple of months ago (tried…). To this day, I still remember most of the alphanumeric keystrokes.

    1. Yeah, I still miss mine as well. The Palm (and similar) devices were better at data entry and manipulation than current smartphones. (Which are better at data consumption and networking.) Not sure if I’d carry both, but I don’t really have a replacement for much of what the Palm did for me at the time.

  4. My Ipaq!!!
    Especially my 5550!

    And yeah, I have great memories of my Palm IIIe.

    Still heartbroken the Ipaq transition to cellphone.

  5. Robert van Weersch

    I’ve had multiple Psion, Palm, PocketPC / WindowsCE / Windows Mobile devices, but what I miss most is not features, but compact dimensions. Nowadays, it is nigh impossible to find an affordable and compact smartphone which will fit properly in your (front) trouser pockets. An iPhone CE or Mini is quite compact, but I think it is way overprised. And a compact Android phone, in the 250-400 EUR/$ price range does not exist.

  6. I had three Newtons. The last 2100 model was actually useful and a lot of fun to use. I miss them. Steve Jobs should have acknowledged Newton tech that made it into the iPhone.

  7. I started viewing the Gadgeteer site before the Compaq ipaq came out and picked one up after Y2K. Tech changes were slow then and few people carried any electronics in their pockets. Now everyone has a cell phone without knowing how it came about. Today I get more excited about a new toaster oven than a cellphone. I hope Apple can develop something that will compel me to camp out in line again. Thanks for your continuing interest in gadgets.

  8. Xircom REX 6000. Basically just an electronic planner/Rolodex/calculator. Same size as a thick credit card. Used it until I bought my first iPhone.

  9. Like others here, my earliest portable gadgets of that era were: palmpilot, ipaq pocket pcs, jornada 820, psion revo and a sharp tripad.

    I think I miss those built-in keyboards the most.

    Innovation in the portable handheld device has slowed down. I kept my iphone 10 for 4+ years before upgrading. My new phone seems no better.

    We need niche innovation to carry us forward – I’d love an eink device with great keyboard to write novels on.

  10. My last PalmOS device was the Centro, and I still miss that thing. I had the single best shopping-list application that’s ever been created, HANDYSHOPPER, on it. (I may actually miss HandyShopper more than the phone itself…)

  11. Whoa, didn’t expect to see another mention, however, I really liked the thought/detail/design/features/capabilities which were put into the Tapwave Zodiac 2 (which I still have, fwiw). The attempt was to make it a great multimedia device with storage and speakers and controls, &, along with the all the folks who made use of its capabilities, it was great to see what was possible!

  12. Richard Schulte

    Still have my HP 200LX, with the upgraded spped and memory. Best device I used. Also miss my HP Jornada 720, my Psion 5mx, my Nokia N700 (I think). Still also have my Tapwave Zodiac 2.

    Have yet to see anything that rises to the level of these devices.

  13. Like Richard Schulte, I still make use of an HP 200LX so I don’t have to miss it at all. Over the years I’ve worn out three or four of them, so there is a drawer full of spare parts and I buy up replacements when they are affordable. This is the ultimate battery-life king with tons of utility.

  14. Still using my AlphaSmart Dana (portable word processor). It’s based on the Palm OS. There’s a flickr forum to keep them and the other models in working order. People sometimes talk about other brands, too.

  15. I still love the HP48GX calculator. I used it throughout high school and college, and even had games and custom animations on it. It eventually stopped booting up, but now there are emulator apps to turn your phone into one, so I still use it daily for work. RPN for life!

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