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The Apple Newton MessagePad 120 made a surprise cameo in the third season of the Apple TV+ series “For All Mankind,” and one of the show’s producers has shed some light on how the TV prop was used.
Ben McGinnis, a producer at Tall Ship Productions and part of the team behind “For All Mankind,” shared behind-the-scenes footage of the modified Newton props on Twitter on Thursday.
In the series, the Newton MessagePad was used for video calls between actors. At least one person was also seen processing digital messages.
According to McGinnis, the modified Newton has a removable camera for video calls. The actual props themselves fit into an iPhone 12 Pro Max, allowing actors to use the front-facing camera for video calls.
The Apple Newton itself was released in 1993 as a personal digital assistant (PDA) device with handwriting recognition and an included stylus. It had its own operating system, Newton OS, and most of them were based on an ARM 610 RISC processor.
Apple eventually killed the entire Newton family in 1998, shortly after Steve Jobs returned to the company. During run, however, it didn’t support video calling or the other advanced features featured on the show. McGinnis explained that “technology is advancing faster in” [the show’s] the nineties.”
“For All Mankind” is an alternate history of the space race – imagine competition between nations never ended. The first season started in the late 1960s, the second season focused on the 1980s, and the final season continued into the 1990s.