General Magic (2018)

100% – Critics
82% – Audience

General Magic Storyline

The ideas that dominate the tech industry and our day to day lives were born at a secretive Silicon Valley start-up called ‘General Magic’, which spun out of Apple in 1990 to create the first handheld personal communicator (or “smartphone”). The film combines rare archival footage with powerful honesty from the “Magicians” today, reflecting on the most influential Silicon Valley Company no one has ever heard of. Featuring legendary members of the original Macintosh team, along with the creators of the iPod, iPhone, Android and eBay.—SHOWTIME

General Magic Photos

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General Magic Movie Reviews

Gave one star because of the music.

Production team please take a note, this nice documentary was completely ruined by the noisy music. Please remix it again.

How The Company That Invented The Concept of a Smart Phone Failed

I never heard of General Magic yet the product first envisioned by this company that crashed and burned goes with me and, likely, you every day. This is why I have to say this documentary tells a fascinating and important story. The story of how a device now a part of the entire civilized world had a difficult birth. This is the story of a spin-off from Apple called General Magic. A company with the core right ideas that came to be the smart phone over a decade ahead of the explosion of the first iPhone finally defined the dream. The two guys who were closely linked to both the iPhone and the Android open source phones were right there in the beginning at General Magic. It is heartbreaking General Magic folded before their grand idea became the most ubiquitous personal device the world has ever seen.

There’s a lot to digest here. Things like mind-blowing ideas before all the technologies needed to realize it was even close to fruition. The way peripheral forces, like the explosion of the internet, disrupt, information/communication/ entertainment at a mind-boggling pace (i.e. the original General Magic device was only for an AT&T closed network which, perhaps, was it’s only major conceptual pitfall). And, the pain and resilience of people who put it all on the line only to be defeated yet have to continue on. This is a story of the intersection of humanity, business, and technology in a kind of battle for the win. Fortunately most of the human element of the failed General Magic rose again, some quite spectacularly. Who knew this defunct and virtually unknown company’s story was so compelling? It is and I highly recommend this documentary. What General Magic dreamed up is likely with you at virtually all times. If in only the realm of a grand vision they hit the ball out of the park. BTW, don’t worry about the sometimes low quality of visuals and sound as it’s mostly not a big problem as some comments seem to deduct points for.

Worst sound mixing I’ve ever encountered.

This was almost unwatchable because of the loud music drowning out everything people said. I would have rated it 8/10 if it didn’t have any music (which didn’t serve any purpose) but as it is I can only give it 3/10.