General Magic

General Magic is a documentary about a business that Forbes described as the “greatest dead company in Silicon Valley.” It is a tale of how great vision and epic failure changed the world as we now know it.

General Magic

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Samuel Beckett

General Magic


Spun out from Apple in 1990 to create the ‘next big thing’, General Magic shipped the first handheld wireless personal communicator in 1994. From the first smartphones to social media and e-commerce, the ideas that now dominate the tech industry and our day-to-day lives were born at General Magic.


But this was before the Web, before 3G, before Google, before the mobile phone was ubiquitous. The world was not ready in 1994 to hold the world in its hands. And though General Magic died, those concepts and the people who pioneered them went on to change almost everything.

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 teams

Each one of these exceptional Magicians worked together on the vision of anywhere, anytime communication, led by Marc Porat – the visionary CEO who in 1989 had the right idea but the wrong timing.



General Magic

It’s 2015. The iPhone 6s has just been released. A digital revolution is underway in Washington. eBay sell a quarter of a billion dollars worth of goods every day. And anywhere, anytime communication is now on our wrists.

Each of these incredible world changing feats has been shaped by a Magician.

The legacy of General Magic was not carried forth by its founders to a successful future. 
Instead, it was the apprentices who went on to change the world again. Each Magician took the vision and the lessons learnt at General Magic and went on to found eBay, Android, the iPod and iPhone and eventually, instil change at the White House.
General Magic is a story that captures the spirit of any of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, fail better, and ultimately succeed.

| The Cast

General Magic

Marc Porat

The visionary with the right idea and the right pitch but the wrong timing and the wrong execution.

General Magic

Andy Hertzfeld

The Yoda of our story, one of the world’s greatest software engineers and the man forever putting the new first.

General Magic

Joanna Hoffman

The truth teller who famously stood up to Steve Jobs. Courageous about confronting reality and speaking truth to power.

General Magic

Bill Atkinson

The creative luminary and technological artist who wanted postcards to fall from the sky.

General Magic
General Magic

Megan Smith

The humanitarian and brilliant young engineer who now operates at the centre of the world stage.

General Magic

Tony Fadell

The apprentice who worshipped then surpassed, who saw the cracks and witnessed his gods become mortal.

General Magic

John Sculley

The benefactor who gave his blessing, then launched the Newton without a word to the Magicians.

General Magic

Steve Jobs

The ghost and exile, whose spirit and rebellion haunt this story.

General Magic

Coming in 2017

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