Newton MessagePad


At A Glance

Featuring a 20 MHz ARM 610 processor, 4 MB of ROM, 640k of SRAM (150k usable), and infrared-beaming capabilities in a compact handheld case with a 336×240 pressure-sensitive monochrome display for use with a provided stylus, the original Newton MessagePad was one of the first handheld systems, or PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), to attempt to recognize natural handwriting and use a basic form of artificial intelligence to ‘tie’ relevant information together.

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Original Specifications


  • Newton Recognition Architecture:
    • Recognizes handwriting: printed, cursive, or mixed-word recognition with the assistance of a 13,000-word built-in word list
    • Allow addition of up to 1000 words by user
    • Recognizes writing letter-by-letter or word-by-word
    • Recognizes graphics and the inherent symmetry in objects
    • Allows deferred recognition; can store notes in handwritten for later recognition
  • Newton Information Architecture:
    • Object-oriented data storage optimized for storing, finding, and linking small pieces of information
    • Easy creation of custom forms applications via the flexible graphical view Toolbox
    • Easy data sharing using standard tags
    • Object-oriented database provides flexible view of data
  • Newton Communications Architecture:
    • Provides single interface for all communication services
    • Integrated to support easy communications with minimum setup requirements
    • Designed in modules to support new communications capabilities
  • Intelligent Assistance Architecture:
    • Assists users in completing repetitive tasks done in multiple categories, including communications, scheduling, finding, and reminding functions
    • Contains smart defaults to reduce complexity
    • Functions across applications transparently
    • Allows extensions by third-party developers
  • Newton Hardware Architecture:
    • ARM 610 processor at 20 MHz
    • Apple custom system ASIC
    • Low-power, reflective LCD display (336 x 240 pixels)
    • Transparent tablet with passive pen
    • 4MB of ROM
    • 640K of RAM
    • One PCMCIA Type 2 card slot
    • LocalTalk-compatible serial port
    • Low-power, half-duplex, infrared transceiver (up to 38.4 kilo bits per second (kbps) at 1 meter)
    • Protective screen lid


  • Communications Capabilities:
    • Print to Apple LaserWriters and StyleWriters with serial cable and to popular parallel printers using Newton Print Pack
    • Fax with optional fax modem (9600 baud fax send, automatic cover-page generation, post-formatting)
    • Send notes, name cards and appointments at up to 38.4 kbps within 1-meter (3.28 feet) using high-speed “beaming” via infrared technology
    • Handle telephony needs with assistance for intelligent auto dialing (DTMF or modem dialing)
    • Receive and store wireless messages using optional Messaging Card
    • Use NewtonMail to exchange electronic mail with other Newton MessagePad users, as well as with Windows-based and Macintosh computer users with an optional modem
    • This service may not be available in all countries
  • Size and Weight:
    • Height: 7.25 in. (184.75 mm)
    • Width: 4.50 in. (114.3 mm)
    • Depth: .75 in. (19.05 mm)
    • Weight: .9 lb. (0.4 kg)
  • Operating Environment:
    • Temperature: 32 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (+0 to +40 degrees Celsius)
    • Storage temperature: -4 to 117 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to +60 degrees Celsius)
    • Relative Humidity: 20 percent to 90 percent noncondensing


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