Apple Newton H1000 MessagePad 100 – Introducing The Father of iPads & iPhones
I am sure you heard about Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices around the end of the 20th century. I came across the term and saw the first PDA around 2001 when Palm devices became very popular among the wealthy businesspersons in Bangladesh. It was mind-blowing to see such a small device could do so many functions. Today’s generation would be laughing their pants off talking about PDAs and describing them as “mind-blowing”.
When I started collecting old and vintage mobile devices, I quickly realised that early PDAs influenced today’s mobile handsets features and design. So I started looking at the history of the first PDA devices, and Apple introduced one of the first PDAs, called MessagePad, in 1993.
According to Message-Pad.net (thanks for the featured image), Apple launched two similar devices; the original MessagePad (H1000) and Newton MessagePad 100 were identical, only NewtonOS versions were different.
- I know these Newton MessagePad devices are old, but there are way too different from today’s iPad and iPhone devices. It has so many fragile parts; like the battery flap, rubber cover for the ports, battery holder, so many buttons, etc. On the other hand, Apple avoid fragile parts and buttons as much as possible.
- MessagePads were sold at $900 in 1993, calculating the inflation, they were more expensive than today’s high spec iPhone models!
- Can you believe the MessagePad was powered by AAA batteries?
- It could read hand-writting, that’s amazing, which had been trumpeted in the Newton’s marketing campaign. I tried mine (I admit it is very poor), and it took the input 🙂
- Apple claimed that they launched the first PDA devices in the world. However, a British company, Psion, launched the first “pocket computers”, called Psion Organiser in 1984. I own both Psion Organiser I and Organiser II – I will publish articles about them soon.
- MessagePads were using ARM-based processors, and had a total of 640KB RAM. You can learn the full spec from wikipedia, Message-Pad.net and 512 Pixels websites.
The 90s Newton device promo video is “Your World, Your Newton”.
Currently, my MessagePad collection includes the device, manual, original leather carry case, stylus, starter memory kit and a placeholder for the memory slot. The device is fully working, and all the other items are in reasonably good condition. Looking at the item prices on eBay, I estimate the valuation of my collection is between around £450 and £500.
After looking for it for a while, I was lucky to find the MessagePad. I am very proud to show and explain the device’s history to my friends. Most of us don’t know much about the device today because the product line was unsuccessful. However, in my opinion, it was the beginning of the fantastic pathfinder of today’s tablets and smartphones.