MessagePad 130 with Newton 2.0 Operating System
(underlined words link to other gallery photos)

MessagePad 130
Click here for full review of Newton 2.0 Operating System (many photos)

Gallery Commentary

     In March of 1996 at CeBit in Europe, Apple announced/released the MessagePad 130 (MP130). To the casual observer the changes in the transition from MP120 to MP130 are at first invisible. Yet, in a dark room they become quite apparent. The MP130 was the first newton to come with an on-demand backlight. To be more accurate the MP130 has a transflective electrochemical luminescent lighting system (ECL) that you can turn on and off. This backlight used very little power and was first seen in the public on Timex Indiglo watches. I present to you the 'Indiglo Newton.' It's codename was "Dante." Perhaps because of the 'ECL fire' it held inside it. The backlit screen of the MP130 also had a surface that was reasonably rough and felt like paper to the pen (this was compared to the slick ice like writing surface of all previous newtons). Many users became quickly addicted to writing on this more natural surface and couldn't go back to slip-sliding along the glass plate on older newts. This roughed up surface also was designed to reduce the reflection and glare problems that result from staring at a mirror like surface in well lit rooms.

     In addition to backlighting the MP130 had one other extremely attractive property. Increased memory. At first an increase from the 2 MB MP120 to a 2.5 MB MP130 would not seem impressive, yet the increase in 512k was all given to the system heap space and allowed the MP130 to run many applications simultaneously, and surf the World Wide Web with no major memory hassles. NIE the Newton Internet Enabler (TCP/IP stack) runs just fine on MP130's, not so well on the heap memory starved MP120 in comparison. The MP130 also has a 93,000 word dictionary (compared to 15,000 in other newtons) that enables the Paragraph Cursive handwriting recognition engine to be much more accurate. That isn't so important to those of us that already use the flawless Printed recognition engine that is also built in, but worth mentioning none the less. Don't forget that the MP130 had the award winning OS 2.0 in it (Best of Comdex 1996). The MP130 was a very desirable upgrade. OS 2.0 Gallery Commentary is located on the MP120 with 2.0 page.

Original Product Specifications Announcement (1996)


The MessagePad 130 personal digital assistant (PDA) makes your information as mobile as you are. It makes your information easy to communicate and easy to view. The MessagePad 130 runs the award-winning Newton 2.0 operating system, and features user-controllable back-lighting for on-demand use and a nonglare screen that works in any lighting condition. With its additional system memory, the MessagePad 130 offers improved performance with communications solutions such as Internet Protocol (IP) applications and wireless LANs, as well as improved multitasking support.

It has a built-in notepad, to-do list, datebook, telephone log, and address file for organizing personal and business affairs, as well as Pocket Quicken (U.S. only) to help organize personal and business expenses. You can enter information in many ways: as digital ink, printed text, hand-drawn graphics, or with an on-screen keyboard. Improved recognition soft-ware quickly transforms your hand-writing into typed text. There's even an optional external keyboard.

Pen-based navigation and data entry make finding information easy and fast. The MessagePad 130 can receive wireless messages and alphanumeric pages, and can send and receive faxes and electronic mail. It also lets you exchange information with either Mac OS- or Windows-based computers using the included Newton Backup Utility, or optional Newton Connection Utilities and Newton Press software. Your MessagePad 130 can also be customized with software applications that put critical information at your fingertips, no matter where you are.

Built-in organization functions

Built-in communications

Expandable functions

Technical Specifications

Newton Intelligence Newton Recognition Architecture

Newton Information Architecture

Newton Communications Architecture

Intelligent Assistance Architecture

MessagePad Hardware Architecture

Communications capabilities

Size and weight

Operating environment

Power requirements

Computer connectivity requirements

Printer support

Fax machine support