The first Mac I ever used was a Bondi blue iMac G3 at a friend’s house sometime in ’99, though I don’t remember much about the experience other than admiring the translucent case. Months later, though, I began using an Apple product on a daily basis: a Newton MessagePad 100, given to me by an uncle after the company he worked for decommissioned them.
It ate AAA batteries and weighed a ton, but it was a rather cool device to play with even without internet or new apps. I wrote a journal (turning off the writing detection) and used it for keeping a calendar, and messed around with every menu and dialog in the system, discovering a hidden temperature indicator in the process. Sadly, it got stolen from our house several years ago, so I don’t have it around.
The best part of having a Newton was discovering little Newton things years later in Apple’s later projects. The trash animation in the Notes app on iOS looks just like the trash animation when throwing away a note on the Newton. Plus, the smoke puff when removing an icon from your OS X dock looks just like the delete animation on the Newton when you drew a w type squiggle over anything on a note.
Did you ever get to use a Newton? Have you found yourself looking for Newton features in other Apple products? Or do you wish you could have tried one out? We’d love to hear any Newton stories you have in the comments below!