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Lot #3038
Apple eMate 300 Prototype - Apple's Only Touchscreen Laptop

Rare prototype of the eMate 300—Apple's only touchscreen laptop

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Estimate: $10000+
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Rare prototype of the eMate 300—Apple's only touchscreen laptop

Circa 1997 prototype of the Apple eMate 300, a Newton OS–based PDA in a laptop-style form factor, targeted at the education market and designed for use in classrooms. The device is housed in a playful translucent blue-green molded plastic casing with 6.8-inch grayscale touchscreen that folds up, revealing standard QWERTY keyboard with a stylus fitted above. Labeled on the bottom: "A2015, Prototype. Not For Resale," with a note that it has not yet been approved by the FCC. The unit lacks the white "eMate 300" and "Newton" text on the case as seen on the retail version. In fine condition.

Although Jobs axed the Newton line in 1998, he had a special fondness for the eMate and had initially expected to continue its development, writing: 'The Emate has a bright future.' Ultimately, however, he realized that the organization's entire focus had to be dedicated to extending the Macintosh operating system. When discontinuing development of the Newton platform, the company issued a statement: 'Apple is committed to affordable mobile computing, pioneered by the eMate, and will be serving this market with Mac OS-based products beginning in 1999.' One of the most unique-looking Apple products of its time, the eMate's curvaceous clamshell form factor—and colorful translucent casing—anticipate the later designs of the iMac G3 (1998) and iBook (1999), two of Apple's great commercial successes spearheaded by Steve Jobs upon his return to the company. Apple prototypes are rare in the marketplace, and the eMate 300 represents an important step in the evolution of Apple's portable devices.

Provenance: History of Science and Technology, Bonhams, November 3, 2021.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Steve Jobs and the Apple Computer Revolution
  • Dates: #690 - Ended March 21, 2024