Following a discussion on the NewtonTalk mailing list covering various reported sightings of alternately colored eMates, I remembered an image showing one that was pink. Well, I managed to locate it amongst the digital debris on my hard drive. Not only does this image show the jolly Gil Amelio next to a traditionally green eMate, but by golly if there isn’t both pink and purple pieces of hardware on display as well.
Photo by Seth Resnick
I received the following response from Ronan, the owner of the site where I original found this image. Read on.
“I can’t remember when that picture was taken but I believe that it was before they went into production and these were ‘concept’ designs. Basically they were just empty shells as some guy working on the newton prject told me when I first posted the picture to a newton newsgroup, He also said Apple never made a pink eMate. I’ll try and have a look for that picture & emails and send it onto you. I dont have any larger one & dunno what website I took it from.”
You have got to love the inhabitants of the NewtonTalk list. Carsten Lemmen passed this little bit of detective work along. Ah, ha! It was from a MacWeek article covering a Macworld expo after all. And the mystery man has been identified as the Frank Casanova, one time manager in Apple’s Advanced Technology Group.
“I located a small version of this picture at:
This web site was not available when I tried today, but I’ve save it and the photo is marked with “Photo © 1996 MacWeek Dr. Gil Amelio and Frank Casanova at MacWorld Expo Boston”. A larger version at my Newton Pages (German only) at:
I don’t remember where I found it.”
Carsten Lemmen sent me a follow up message to his previous note along with a copy of the Japanese page that contained the photograph. This page was part of the Hong Kong Newton User Group site, which seems to have disappeared into the void of a portal called Netvigator.
“I found the page and created a PDF (Acrobat Reader) document to send it to you as one file. Here is it.”
HKNUG eMate Review Adobe Acrobat PDF 90 KB
After seeing some of my posts on NewtonTalk, Dan O’Donnell stumbled upon this page and offered a few additional thoughts regarding Frank Casanova and the pink eMate:
“You ask for more info if anyone has it — what I have isn’t particularly useful, but it might add a bit. The guy on the right who is holding the eMate is Frank Casanova, who under Amelio was the head of the Advanced Technology Group (ATG). This group invented many important technologies over the years at Apple (QuickTime, speech technology, etc.), and Frank Casanova was a power user and vocal proponent of Newtons. I saw him give a speech and demo at a 1-day show at the Los Angeles International Airport Marriot Hotel that was just astounding, and much of it involved his new Newton MP2000 and a Ricochet modem…”
“When Jobs ousted Amelio in 1997 one of the first things he did was kill the ATG (as well as Customer Phone Support, Human Interface Group, Quality Control). Casanova got a job at MetaCreations (no longer in existence) and moved to Carpinteria.”
“The last I heard he got a job again at Apple — apparently Jobs has forgiven Casanova for his relationship with Amelio. So if you’re really interested you might try to track down Frank Casanova and ask him about those multicolored eMates. He’s an extremely bright guy, and undoubtedly will remember them.”
After reading Dan’s message, I decided to try another Google search specifically for Frank Casanova. Lo and behold, I came across am archived copy of the original MacWeek article that includes the Seth Resnick photo as shown above. The article is dated August 7th, 1996 and includes this tasty little quote:
“The presentation also included innovative hardware designs, most of which Casanova said are not destined to become products. The exception was a clamshell-shaped PowerBook with a built-in handle. ‘You will hear a lot more about this, such as when it will be sold, later,’ Casanova said.”
This demonstration of what would obviously be the eMate, makes it sound as though it was going to be targeted as a PowerBook variation. The world just wasn’t ready for the iBook — yet. Maybe if the eMate had been pitched to consumers and not just at education, the story would have been different.
Well, good golly if this doesn’t just change everything. I took Dan O'Donnell’s suggestion and shot off a quick email to Frank Casanova (the less corporate-looking fellow with the long hair) last week to see if he could shed any light on the picture in question. Here's what he had to say.
“The eMate I’m seen holding was actually red. Our Industrial Design Group was starting to experiment with colored plastics at that time. As you know, the production eMate was a dark, but translucent, green.”
“In my role as Director of the Advanced Systems Lab in our Advanced Technology Group, I’d asked the ID group to build me a few units for prototyping purposes. They asked if I’d mind if they were in different colors so they could experiment a bit, I didn’t mind and they build three systems… purple, red and orange.”
“Hope this helps.”
Does this help? Does this help? Heck, it blows the doors off the entire color conspiracy theory. Pink eMate? Forget it. Now I need to find me a red one!
As I find any additional information regarding the eMate, I’ll post it here. In the meantime, if you think you might be able to help, I’m all ears.
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Copyright © 1996-2015 Grant Hutchinson