Apple Newton MessagePad. Released in 1993. John Sculley, the CEO of Apple in the early nineties, coined the phrase Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) to describe the Newton MessagePad. The handheld device appeared less than a year later, featuring an ARM 610 processor ambling along at 20MHz, 640K of RAM and a 336 x 240 display. This device helped mark the beginning of the PDA era.