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The significance of the Apple Newton badges

Badge - Apple Newton Message Pad

Image: Badge - Apple Newton Message Pad

Source: Museum Victoria

The Newton badges were obtained at an Apple trade show in Sydney in 1993. Apple flew several committee members of the Victorian Macintosh User Group from Melbourne to Sydney for an Apple conference being held at the same time as the trade show. This allowed them to savour the atmosphere of the trade show.

The badges were prized items, symbolising this extraordinary brand new product. The Newton was reputed to be a breakthrough in computing, a technological advance the likes of which had not been seen for some years. Unbelievably, the Newton could read your handwriting, intelligently anticipate with whom you were making an appointment in its diary and transfer data wirelessly to another Newton (or computer).

At the show, the Newton was revealed from its packaging as if it were Christmas morning! We were riding on the crest of a wave in a boom in electronic gadgetry. The badges were truly badges of honour, and were worn to signify who had been to the show and had seen, yea even touched the new Newton. Hype was in the air, possibly at a level not again seen until the release of the iPhone in 2007.

Two VMUG committee members purchased the new Newton message pad. Amongst the excitement and hubris of the event these two achieved a new status on the return flight back to Melbourne by transferring data via infrared. They would have liked to claim to be the first 'to do it' at 30,000 feet!

The Victorian Macintosh User Group subsequently changed its name to Internet Macintosh User Group.

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