Watch “Love Notes to Newton” Documentary on the Apple Newton [Video]

Aug 19, 2023 - Leave a Comment

Apple Newton and iPad

If you’re a longtime Apple fan, you may recall the Apple Newton, the Apple PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) that debuted in 1993. It had a pen-input based screen, handwriting to text capabilities, a whimsical and fun user interface (sigh), and many features that we all take for granted and use regularly today on iPhones, iPads, and even Macs. Now, a new documentary film called “Love Notes to Newton”, covers the Apple Newton, its development, interface, quirks, and influences on later tech from Apple and beyond.

Whether you’re a retro Apple fan, you ever had a Newton, merely remember the Newton, or didn’t know it existed but you’re interested in computing history and nostalgia, you’re sure to enjoy this lovely documentary, which we have embedded below.

The description of the documentary on YouTube is as follows:

Love Notes to Newton is a film about what a beloved (but short-lived) pen-based Personal Digital Assistant created by Apple Computer has meant for the people who used it, and the community who adore it.

The Apple Newton was beloved by almost everybody who had one. It came from an R&D group hidden deep within Apple Computer and was developed by people who believed it was the next big leap in computers. In one sense it was the legendary device which coined the term “PDA” in the early nineties, and in the other sense it was a devastating failure which arrived before its time. But something happened after the funeral, Newton lives on, and grassroots support sprang up.

John Sculley, James Joaquin, Steve Capps and others talk about the inspiring vision and the difficulty of achieving it. Then there’ are the fans; Grant Hutchinson, who hosts the lively NewTontalk mailing list out of Calgary, Alberta. There’s Frank Gruendel in Germany, who repairs Newtons, including eMates (the Newton “MacBook”) and is actively involved in repairing and advising others on the maintenance of their Newts, Paul Guyot and Matthias Melcher and the Einstein emulator to allow Newton OS to run on modern machines, and many more.

Watch the full documentary embedded below, or directly on YouTube here:

Even if the Newton did not last particularly long, or survive as it was, it’s very obvious how the development of Newton influenced the iPhone and iPad, and some of the ideas and technologies developed from Newton carried forward decades later for use with the iPad and iPhone.

And, by the way, if you’re a super geek and want to, you can actually run Newton OS on a modern Mac, iPhone, or iPad using Open Einstein, a Newton emulator… yes it’s an old post but Einstein still works!


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, Retro

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