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The Apple Newton MessagePad 120 made a surprise cameo in the third season of 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 images of the modified Newton props on Twitter Thursday.
Tech advances faster in 1990s @forallmankind_ alt-history! All us @Apple nerds had a blast creating (& playing with) our modified Newton's removable camera & video calls! Props even fit an #iPhone 12 Pro Max inside. The #Newton POV angles in the show were #shotoniphone #Apple pic.twitter.com/wASQcG7Qw9— Ben McGinnis (@bengmcg) June 23, 2022
In the series, the Newton MessagePad was used for video calls between actors. At least one person was also seen handling digital messages.
According to McGinnis, the modified Newton have a removable camera for video calls. The actual props themselves fit an iPhone 12 Pro Max inside of them, which allowed 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 ran its own proprietary operating system, Newton OS, and most were based on an ARM 610 RISC processor.
Apple eventually killed off the Newton family as a whole in 1998 shortly after Steve Jobs returned to the company. During its run, however, it did not support video calling or the other advanced features seen on the show. McGinnis explained that "tech advances faster in [the show's] 1990s."
"For All Mankind" is an alternate history of the space race — imaging if the competition between nations never ended. The first season kicked off in the late 1960s, the second season focused on the 1980s, and the last season has progressed into the 1990s.