The third season of For all mankind is now available on Apple TV+, and this time the sci-fi drama is set in the 1990s with a billionaire looking to explore Mars. In the very first two episodes of this season, some viewers noticed that a very old Apple product made a cameo appearance on the show – the Newton MessagePad.
But more than just putting a Newton MessagePad into the show, the creators went further than that. Since we are talking about a sci-fi drama, they came up with the idea of having the characters use the Newton for video calls. Of course, that was never possible with the real Newton in the 90s, but it sure is nice to see what a primitive version of FaceTime could have been.
Ben McGinnis, one of the producers of For all mankindshared on Twitter how they shot the scenes where the Newton MessagePad was used for video calls.
According to McGinnis, the team has created a special Newton-based case that fits an iPhone 12 Pro Max. They also invented a fake accessory that is basically an external webcam that plugs into the Newton MessagePad. While some of the scenes show the classic Newton interface, those with video calls were made using an iPhone.
“The #Newton POV angles on the show were #shotoniphone,” McGinnis says.
What is Newton?
For those unfamiliar, Newton MessagePad was a personal digital assistant released by Apple in 1993. The device was controlled by a stylus and had handwriting recognition capabilities so that users could easily take notes. Newton had smart features like a built-in calculator, calendar, and even an email client.
The device was introduced by then-Apple CEO John Sculley during the time Jobs was fired from the company. Well-known former Apple design chief Jony Ive, who joined the company in 1992, worked on the second-generation Newton MessagePad – which was more compact and featured a redesigned stylus with a round shape.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1998, he discontinued the Newton MessagePad. Despite all of the Newton’s problems, some people believe it was ahead of its time as it can be considered a very early prototype that led to the idea of the iPhone and iPad.
Product placement in For all mankind
Unsurprisingly, the Apple TV+ shows have a lot of product placement from Apple. Pretty much all of the characters use iPhones, iPads, Macs, and AirPods all the time. However, since For all mankind set in the past, Apple had to wait for the show’s timeline to emerge before putting any product placement on it.
But Newton isn’t the first Apple device to make a special cameo appearance in For all mankind† Season two saw several characters working with Apple II computers. Apple has yet to renew For all mankind for a fourth season. But if so, I’m sure we’ll see iPods in space.
You can watch now For all mankind on Apple TV+.
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