This week, Apple celebrated the 35th birthday of the Apple II, its very first machine, and it's safe to say the company has come a long, long way since then. This week, another Apple relic has cropped up on eBay to remind us just how far Cupertino has come, particularly in the last 15 years. Back in 1997, well before the names iPhone and Siri meant anything to anyone, Apple launched the eMate 300 personal assistant. The product was discontinued after less than a year on the market, so unless you're a dyed-in-the-wool Apple fan, chances are you don't have one.
However, thanks to the wonders of eBay and one man's junk being another man's treasure, an eMate 300 is now on sale on the auctioning site. Carrying a buy-it-now price of $8,499.99, the laptop hasn't generated a significant amount of buzz just yet, but we're sure someone will want this little piece of Apple history.
The eMate 300 packed a backlit 480x320 16-shade grayscale display complete with stylus, a full-sized keyboard, a 25MHz ARM 710a RISC processor and integrated rechargeable batteries, which lasted a whopping 28 hours on one charge. The model on sale is a pre-production prototype with a clear case. The seller, Maple Ridge Auction, says fewer than six of these prototypes were produced. The entire thing ran on Apple's Newton operating system.
While the eMate 300 might seem a bit of a dud, especially when you consider the fact that it was killed off before Apple managed to get all of the promised colors out the door, it can take credit for one thing: It eventually led to Apple's iBook laptop, which featured a similar durable plastic case as well as a handle.