Apple Introduces the Newton

Newton MessagePadAugust 3, 1993

Apple introduces the Newton MessagePad, one of the world’s first Personal Digital Assistants (PDA). The term PDA was first used by Apple CEO John Scully in 1992. While a commercial failure, the Newton platform set the bar for future PDA designs. But perhaps the most important advancement the Newton offered to the technology industry was the development of the ARM processor architecture. Apple partnered with and invested heavily in the fledgling architecture to power the Newton devices, acquiring 43% of Advanced RISC Machines, Ltd. in the process. The ARM architecture has been the foundation of most of the world’s mobile devices since that time, including all versions of the Apple iPhone and iPad and now the M series processors for the Macintosh. Incidentally, in 1998 Apple began selling much of their ownership interest in ARM, reportedly generating around $1 billion through 1999. This gave Apple some much needed cash to carry them through their darkest days and into their turnaround to become the world’s most valuable company.