General Magic Documentary

An important documentary about the origins of many modern technologies, “General Magic,” premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival.  General Magic was founded in 1990 to reinvent telephony, and in 1994 – over a decade before the iPhone – they shipped one of the first smartphones and created a voice assistant.

The visionaries at General Magic included people who were part of the original Mac team and innovators who went on to found eBay, develop Android, and create the iPod, iPhone, and Apple watch.  Along with new interviews, the documentary features footage from the 1990s with Marc Porat, Andy Hertzfeld, Joanna Hoffman, Kevin Lynch, Megan Smith, Tony Fadell, John Sculley, and Steve Jobs.

While no distribution plans have been announced, the trailer is quite compelling.  Additionally, directors Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude were recently interviewed by Leo Laporte on Triangulation.


“Combining rare footage from the early days of General Magic with contemporary stories of the Magicians today, this is the story of one of history’s most talented technology teams.

Featuring members of the original Mac team along with the creators of the iPhone, Android and eBay; these designers, engineers and entrepreneurs saw the future twenty years before it happened and have become huge influencers in the world of technology today.

General Magic, the movie, captures the spirit of those of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, fail better, and ultimately succeed.”

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About the Author

Brian Wiser

Brian is an A.P.P.L.E. Board member and Managing Editor of Call-A.P.P.L.E. magazine. He is a long-time Apple consultant, historian and archivist. Brian designed, edited, and co-produced several books including: "Cyber Jack: The Adventures of Robert Clardy and Synergistic Software", "Synergistic Software: The Early Games", "Nibble Viewpoints: Business Insights From The Computing Revolution", "What's Where in the Apple: Enhanced Edition", and "The WOZPAK: Special Edition" – an important Apple II historical book with Steve Wozniak's restored original, technical handwritten notes as well as a forward from Steve Wozniak and other Apple legends. Brian also co-produced the retro iOS game "Structris." Brian was an extra in Joss Whedon’s movie “Serenity,” leading him to being a producer/director for the documentary film “Done The Impossible: The Fans’ Tale of Firefly & Serenity.” He brought some of the Firefly cast aboard his Browncoat Cruise and recruited several of the Firefly cast to appear in a film for charity. Brian speaks about his adventures at conventions around the country.