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(1) (newton) A unit of force in the MKS system. It is the force required to accelerate one kilogram by one meter per second squared.

(2) A set of mobile computing technologies from Apple introduced in 1993 with its MessagePad personal digital assistant (PDA). The ARM-based MessagePad included handwriting recognition, an infrared port for local data transfer and a fax/modem for email and faxes. Although the MessagePad was the name of the device, it was commonly called the "Newton." The handwriting technology was often criticized for not being up to par; however, proponents of the device claimed it worked well if the user had the patience to train it properly.

The Newton eMate
In 1997, Apple offered the educational market a Newton-derived portable computer called the "eMate 300." Also using an ARM processor, the eMate had a full-size keyboard that was housed in a case similar in design to the iBook laptop, which was introduced two years later.

A Five-Year Reign
In 1998, Apple stopped production of Newton products due to competition from Palm PDAs, which were becoming popular. Apple folded the Newton, Inc. subsidiary back into the company after having spun it off a year earlier to specialize in the PDA niche. Some of the components of the Newton handwriting technology made their way into the Mac OS X operating system a few years later. See PDA and ARM chips.

Apple's MessagePad
More commonly known as the "Newton," which is the technology behind the MessagePad, this handheld unit pioneered the PDA. (Image courtesy of Apple Inc.)

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