Apple eMate 300
The Apple eMate 300 was a personal digital assistant developed for the education market and first launched in March 1997. This was a low-cost laptop running on the Newton operating system, selling for $800 US. Both the eMate and Apple’s Newton product line was discontinued, however, less than a year later, in February 1998.
The eMate 300 had a green-colored translucent durable case designed for intense use in classrooms. The keyboard was also dark green-colored similar to that of PowerBooks of the same era. Different-colored eMate prototypes were produced for show only and were never offered on the market.
The eMate 300 featured a 480×320 resolution 16-shade grayscale display with a backlight, a stylus pen, full-size keyboard, infrared port, and standard Mac serial/LocalTalk ports. Its power came from built-in rechargeable batteries, which lasted up to 28 hours on a full charge. In keeping a low price profile, the eMate 300 did not share all the features of its Newton equivalent, the MessagePad 2000. The eMate used a 25 MHz ARM 710a RISC processor and had considerably less memory than the MessagePad.
The eMate 300 did, however, feature an internal memory expansion slot. Companies like Newertech produced both ROM and internal memory cards for the eMate. Most cards expanded the data bus from 16 bits to 32 bits, as well as providing additional DRAM (program memory), and flash (storage). When a card is installed, internal DRAM is disabled, but the internal flash RAM is combined with the flash on the card.
In addition to an expansion slot, the eMate also features a single non-CardBus PCMCIA slot, used for a number of different cards, including modems, Ethernet cards, wireless cards, Bluetooth cards, and flash memory.
The eMate’s unusual design eventually influenced the first iBook series, which also featured durable plastic casing with a handle. The iBook, launched in 1999, offered a broader range of features than eMate and also used MacOS, allowing it to run more software. The first iBook featured a 300 MHz PowerPC G3 processor compared to eMate’s 25 MHz ARM 710a RISC processor.
Image Caption: Photograph of an Apple Newton eMate 300. Credit: Ryan Schultz./Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)