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Apr 22, 2018

General Magic is a nostalgic film about the ‘90s startup that imagined the smartphone

Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Silicon Valley is stereotypically full of arrogant geniuses single-handedly forging the future, including Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and many more. But the ‘90s startup General Magic, as portrayed in a new eponymous documentary, was a team of gentle visionaries in the right place at the wrong time.

General Magic is sometimes credited with trying to invent the iPhone in the 1990s. The startup spun off from Apple with the intent of designing a smartphone-like device known as the Pocket Crystal, but it collapsed as its incredibly ambitious project ran...

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