CUPERTINO, Calif. — June 20, 1994 — From today, traveling the much discussed Information Superhighway could actually begin to make sense for people who want to keep in touch, stay informed and be entertained. Apple Computer, Inc. has launched eWorld, its innovative, informative, powerful yet easy to use online service which includes eWorld for Macintosh and NewtonMail, eWorld’s messaging service for Newton. eWorld for Macintosh is an ‘online town square’ which provides a global electronic mail system together with news, information and other services from around 100 partners such as Reuters America Inc., Tribune Media Services, ZiffNet/Mac and Inc. Magazine Online.
— Opening paragraph of the June 1994 Apple press release
Fourteen years ago, on March 31, 1996, eWorld was ultimately shut down after less than two years since its introduction.
I wasn’t an eWorld subscriber, yet I remember the phenomenon fondly. I believe it was another Apple creation with potential, but the high costs of the service (and perhaps Apple’s lack of belief, too) prevented it from really taking off. Too bad it was just discontinued without being morphed into something that could survive on the Web, Apple could have taken advantage of the faithful eWorlders’ sense of community to expand it online and pioneer today’s social networks, for instance. But I guess it was not the right timeframe for Apple, not in its best of shapes financially. (By the way, in Owen W. Linzmayer’s Apple Confidential 2.0, pag. 239, it is said that then-Apple CEO Spindler promised to change eWorld into an Internet-based service).
Here are some resources to give you a clearer picture of eWorld:
- The Wikipedia entry, which is not that bad.
- Scott Converse’s eWorld page, containing the Apple press releases about the launch and the discontinuation of the service, plus some nice eWorld screenshots and lost graphics.
- The eWorld off world tour website — many dead links here, you’ll probably have better luck running it through the WayBack Machine.
- Sonny Hung’s eWorld Flickr set, with screenshots provided by Andre Lipinski.
- The Unofficial eWorld Farewell Web Site.
- The eWorld That Was And Wasn’t, an essay written by Chris Christensen, the Newton developer who wrote the eWorld email code on the Newton.
- Download the eWorld Tour application (BinHex format). This should still work on a classic Mac with Macromedia Director installed.
OK then, time to disconnect. So long, eWorld…