Macintosh Portable

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Mac Portable /w trackball and bagThe $6500 Mac Portable released in late 1989 was Apple's first attempt at creating a portable Mac OS-compatible computer. Though there had been PC laptops for years before, the Portable had many new advances in mobile computing. The Portable had a 68000 processor running at 16 MHz, which was quite powerful for a laptop at the time. It came with 1 MB RAM, which could be expanded to 9 MB RAM, though never offered by Apple, a 9600 baud modem, and had a non-stnadard PDS slot (ethernet, graphics, etc.). It also had an Active Matrix screen, which didn't have the blurry display of conventional displays. In fact, the display was crispy clear, and looked beautiful when used in daylight. The Portable did have problems with dark rooms though, until a 1991 upgrade added backlighting. Another excellent new feature was the battery. The Portable came with a Lead-acid gel/cell battery, similar to those found in car batteries, that could run a anywhere from 6 -12 hours! This is unheard of even today, as you it is hard to get even 2 hours of usage from today's PowerBook batteries. The Portable also included a 40 MB SCSI HD manufactured by Conner. The HD could spin down and sleep, but sacrificed price for performance, costing twice as much as a desktop HD of the same size. It supported to internal hard drives, and an external one. There was only one problem with the Portable, which unfortunately led to its demise; it just wasn't portable. Weighing in at 12 lbs., few people had the patience to lug it around anywhere, despite all of its great features. This philosophy turned the machine into an equivalent Mac SE with batteries, and became another disappointment for Apple. As usual though, Apple would get it right on its second try with the PowerBook line.

Code Names: Laguna, Riviera, Malibu, Esprit, Guinness. Backlit version: Aruba, Love Shack, Mulligan.

Processor: Motorola 68000 processor running at 16 MHz.
Memory: came with 1 MB RAM, expandable to 9 MB.
Drives: 1.4 MB SuperDrive floppy drive. Also included was a Conner 40 MB SCSI HD, and an expansion bay for more hard drives.
Expansion: 1 non-standard PDS slot.
Ports: ADB and serial ports, and a built-in 9600 baud modem.
Battery: Lead-acid, lasts anywhere from 6-12 hours if used correctly.
Weight: 16 pounds.

Operating Systems:
Mac OS: comes with System 6.04, supports System 6.04-7.01, 7.1, 7.11 Pro, 7.5-7.51, 7.53-7.55.

On the market for: 1 year, 5 months.

Interesting Facts:
The Mac Portable was not really the first mobile computer to use the Mac OS. People were known to carry their Mac 128k's, Pluses, and SEs under their arms or in carrying cases. There was also the DynaMac, released in 1987. Spun off Alan Kay's theoretical Dynabook, the DynaMac used a Mac Plus ROM in a laptop case. There were problems with the display though, since LCD screens at the time were very blurry and hard to read in most light, and the cursor on the screen would rarely keep up with the movement of the mouse.

Resources and Related Links:
The Mac Portable entry at Richard Kilpatrick's defunct "Apple Retro".
Picture also from Apple Retro.