The Apple Newton eMate 300 - A Personal Digital Assistant

Apple Newton eMate 300

By Fengyuan Zhang
April 30, 2020

What was the first personal digital assistant (PDA) device that Apple ever produced for the education market? If you said the Apple Newton eMate 300, you would be right! Released in 1997, the eMate was designed specifically for students and teachers.1  Compared with other laptops or personal computers of the same period, its price was cheaper ($799), which allowed more people to start their "PDA" experience.2

When I first picked up the eMate at the Media Archeology Lab, I noticed its dark green  plastic shell.  3  The external part of the design looked like a toolbox; it protected the hardware from chemical erosion and physical hit.

The Newton's hand-writing recognition system was user-friendly and useful. As a product which targeted the education market, the function of the eMate was nearly perfect: students and teachers could use it to write notes, finish writing assignments and calculate the answers to engineering questions using its formula application.It included almost all of the academic functions of the current iPad, but did not have entertainment applications. 4

If you are interested in the personal digital assistant part of American computing history, the eMate 300 is a great place to start.


  1. Newton eMate 300, The Apple Museum,

  2. Wikipedia, eMate 300,

  3. Media Archeology Lab, University of Colorado Boulder,

  4. Newton eMate 300 features and function, Michigan State University,