Poor Man’s Newton: MessagePad emulator on your Classic Mac


Apple’s HyperCard stack-based programming tool continues to astound me. This time, it’s the Poor Man’s Newton – a HyperCard stack that lets you muck around with Newton-like features on your Classic Mac desktop.

Download a copy off UNNA, open up the stack, and bam – a fun Newton OS emulator that uses HyperCard buttons, input fields, and drawing tools.


While it lacks the handwriting recognition of the real Newton OS, Poor Man’s Newton does let you store contacts and scribbles, and search your PMN database. Says the creator, Joseph Guy Cicinelli:

Poor Man’s Newton is a HyperCard stack that contains address and telephone information and generally behaves like Apple’s new Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), the Newton MessagePad. If you are like me and you can’t afford to buy one of these high tech tools, here is your chance to own a virtual one that can used on your Macintosh.

At the time, cost was a real issue. These days you can find a quality working Newton for $30-$100 on eBay. But Poor Man’s Newton? That’s free.

You don’t get the full MessagePad experience. PMN’s “Dates” functionality only shows a calendar – you can’t save appointments or reminders. If it did, Poor Man’s Newton could serve as a stripped-down version of Claris Organizer (also available at UNNA, for Mac OS 9 and older).


Poor Man’s Newton offers a few other functionality items: unit conversions, a telephone number dialer, and plenty of printing and sorting options to keep a well-organized contacts list.

The HyperCard stack itself dates to a few years after the OMP was release (above), but it holds up remarkably well after all these years. It sweeps away everything else on your Mac desktop, acting as a distraction-free, Einstein-like app for those without a Newton ROM or a bunch of free time.

Super fun to play with if you have access to a Classic environment, Poor Man’s Newton is very small (at 1 MB) and very affordable (free!) – and you don’t need a version of HyperCard to run it.

One comment.

  1. whare/link to download the emulator

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