Patrick Scoble’s New Toy

Update 2 – OK, it’s back.  No clue why it was unavailable for a while/

Update – don’t know why the video disappeared. I am trying to find out.

Robert Scoble sent me the link to this video a few minutes ago. It shows his son playing with an Apple Newton – one in a clear plastic case (rare).

The Newton came from my collection, and was actually given to me by Bruce Hughes – someone I worked with for a lot of years. I gave it to Robert last week so he could surprise his son.Back in the mid 1990’s we worked for a company called Digital Ocean. We took Newton’s and fed them steroids (actually, we did a hell of a lot of re-engineering). We added backlighting, GPS, Wireless LAN, and more. An old news clip is below.

I’m just glad to have it in the hands of someone that will appreciate it.

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 3, 1995–Digital Ocean Inc. today unveiled a new Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), named Tarpon, that integrates Apple Computer’s Newton MessagePad technology with Digital Ocean’s wireless connector, the Grouper, while adding many new innovations such as backlighting, a waterproof ruggedized case, a single integrated powerful battery, and support for RS-232 inputs.

In addition, Tarpon supports forms-based data entry, voice communications and plug-in capabilities for wireless LAN (915 MHz or 2.4 GHz modules), wireless WAN, and Global Position System (GPS). It is compatible with off-the-shelf and third party Newton software. Tarpon will ship 2Q of 1995. Pricing is expected to be $3,000.

Tarpon was developed for industries such as medical, maintenance, service and manufacturing. Tarpon’s RS-232 port provides connections to input devices such as laser scanners, digital cameras, as well as output devices such as printers.

Tarpon’s voice capabilities include full duplex bi-directional voice communication over WLAN 300-3000 Hz bandwidth.

The initial Tarpon product line will also include an optional communications server that allows a remote Tarpon to collect or retrieve real-time information from the server.

Tarpon’s communications server supports metropolitan or wide-area networks, which enable Tarpon to remain continuously connected to a remote server. Tarpon provides a wireless transmission range of up to 800 feet. Greater distances can be achieved with the use of Digital Ocean’s Starfish Ethernet Access Point, which features microCellular roaming, or by using a higher output dual density antenna.


  1. @Patrick – well, the clear Newton went to a Patrick, any way 🙂

    I have some other Newtons around here somewhere – just not sure which ones or how many. At least a half dozen, I would think. I’ll try to find them.

  2. Patrick says:

    Oh man, if I had known you had a clear Newton lying around, I would have been knocking on your door the last time I was in San Antonio… Are there any other fun Apple collectables lurking in your collection that I should know about…?

  3. @Paul – not many. Just about the time we started getting volume contracts Steve Jobs returned to Apple and killed the Newton. And our business.

  4. How many of those things did you guys actually sell?