PowerBook G3 (original, 250 MHz, “Kanga,” 1997)

The PowerBook G3/250 is the first Apple laptop to use the G3 processor. It shipped with a 250 MHz G3 processor; contained 32 MB RAM and 2 MB VRAM; used a 5 GB hard drive; and had an internal 20X tray-loading CD-ROM drive. It included “hot-swappable” drive bays—drives could be swapped while the computer was running without restarting—and dual PC card slots. The display was a 12.1-inch color TFT active-matrix display at 800×600 resolution.

The design of the original PowerBook G3 is nearly identical to the PowerBook 3400 that proceeded it. The laptop included the 3400’s notable four-speaker sound system. It shipped with MacOS 8.0 and could be updated to a maximum of MacOS 9.1. Its average weight was 7.5 pounds.

Because of its G3 (third-generation) PowerPC 750 processor that included a backside level 2 cache, the laptop’s performance exceeded that of some desktop systems at the time. When released, its retail price was $5,700.

Source: EveryMac

PowerBook 180c (1993)

The Macintosh PowerBook 180c included a 33 MHz 68030 processor, 4 MB of RAM, either an 80 MB or 160 MB hard drive, and an internal 1.44 MB floppy drive. The “c” in the name indicated that it had an 8.4-inch color active-matrix display capable of displaying 256 colors at 640×480 resolution. This was the first color PowerBook to display a full 640×480 display (previous models displayed 640×400). Due to the upgraded color, the case lid was redesigned (from the PowerBook 180) to accommodate the thicker display.

Aside from the display difference, the PowerBook 180c is nearly identical to the PowerBook 180. The 180c used a trackball and had two rotating feet in the back corners to elevate the keyboard to an angle.

An Apple Developer Note document indicates that the PowerBook 180c and 165c are closely related: “Because the Macintosh PowerBook 180c is identical in most respects to the PowerBook 165c computer, most hardware and software designed for that model will operate without modification on the PowerBook 180c.”

Due to its processing performance and because the PowerBook 180c (and 180) had an external color video port with similar specifications to desktop Macintosh models of the time (e.g., LC III+), it could be connected to an external monitor and replace a desktop computer.

Source: EveryMac, Wikipedia

PowerBook 1400cs/117 (with BookCover collection, 1996)

The Macintosh PowerBook 1400cs/133 featured a 133 MHz PowerPC 603e processor, 16 MB of RAM, a 1.3 GB hard drive and an 8X CD-ROM drive. The color dual-scan display measured 11.3 inches. The PowerBook 1400cs was similar to the PowerBook 1400c, but the “s” in “cs” indicated a higher quality active-matrix display.

The PowerBook 1400 series was the first PowerBook to use an internal CD-ROM drive and stackable memory modules (allowing more RAM to be installed in the limited space inside a laptop). This PowerBook also included a clear cover on the outer case and shipped with pre-printed “BookCovers” to customize the look of each PowerBook. (A matching dark gray cover was also included for those not wishing to customize.)

Although I have previously included other PowerBook 1400-series laptop examples on my blog, I acquired this model complete with its collection of BookCovers. I wanted to document this laptop along with this interesting design feature not used on an Apple laptop before or since.

PowerBook 1400-series laptops shipped with seven different BookCovers by six different designers. Although each BookCover is two-sided, one side of each BookCover includes a design from a featured designer, and the opposite side uses a pattern in one of seven different colors with a similar, but uncredited, design. The cardboard envelope containing the BookCovers provides a brief bio of each of the designers:

Jim Mitchell, Sydney
Jim Mitchell is a New Zealand artist currently living in Sydney. He is one of the main artists working for Mambo Graphics, Australia’s surf and streetwear company through which his style has become widely recognized. Jim also works for a variety of local and international agencies and magazines, and regularly exhibits his paintings and print work.

Brad Holland, New York
One of the best known and most highly acclaimed figures in American Illustration, Brad has led a very prolific and successful career, receiving more medals from the Society of Illustrators than any other artist in the organization’s history. His work includes covers for The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek and The New York Times Magazine. He continues to work, lecture and exhibit throughout the world.

Carlos Segura, Chicago
Carlos Segura was born in Cuba in 1956 and moved to Florida at the age of 9. He began his career in New Orleans, moving up to Chicago in 1980 where he worked for several advertising agencies before founding his own design company, Segura Inc., in 1991. This was followed in 1994 with the birth of T-26, (a new digital type foundry) helping Carlos to establish himself as a leading force in American graphic design.

Michael Bartalos, San Francisco
Michael Bartalos was born in West Germany in 1959 and is of Hungarian ancestry. Since graduating from the Pratt Institute in 1982, he has worked extensively in the graphic arts in the US and Japan. Recent projects include his children’s book, Shadowville, designs for Swatch watches, and the 32-cent Marathon commemorative stamp for the US Postal Service.

David Karam, San Francisco
David Karam is a partner of Post Tool Design, a design studio he established in 1993 with Gigi Biederman in San Francisco. Post Tool, specializing in print, interaction and multimedia design, quickly built up a client list including Warner Records, Colossal Pictures, Sony Music and Swatch Watch and have been featured in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Communication Arts and ID Magazine.

Keiji Ito, Tokyo
Born in Tokyo in 1958, Keiji Ito is one of Asia’s leading editorial and advertising illustrators, as well as an new and innovative stage and poster designer. His paintings have been exhibited in numerous shows internationally since 1989. He works out of his Tokyo studio, LopLop Design Inc. and is the author and illustrator of three books: Ninifuni, Datecraft 1994 Timescape and Klin Klan.

I remember using my own PowerBook 1400 for a few years while I was teaching and I designed my own custom BookCovers. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to locate any of my original BookCover designs.

Source: EveryMac

MacBook Air 11-inch (2014)

This MacBook Air 11-inch featured a 22-nm Haswell 1.4 GHz Intel Core i5 processor. It included 4 GB or 8 GB of memory and 128 GB or 256 GB of flash storage. This was the smallest of Apple’s MacBook Air line of laptops measuring 0.11 to 0.68 inches and weighed 2.3 pounds. It included a 720p FaceTime HD webcam, a backlit full-size keyboard, and an 11.6-inch widescreen TFT LED backlit active-matrix glossy display (1366×768).

Wireless connectivity included 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, while ports included analog audio out, one Thunderbolt port, and two USB 3.0 ports.

A previous version of the MacBook Air 11-inch nearly identical except for a slower processor and less available RAM and flash storage.

In my role as Assistant Superintendent for Technology & Innovation, I led the teams that managed nearly 4,500 of these laptops over a five-year period (2014–19). At the time, all high school students in the school district were issued a MacBook Air 11-inch and students used the same model for their 4-year high school career. Apple stopped manufacturing this laptop in 2018 and the high school switched to the iPad Generation 6.

Source: EveryMac.com

Studio Display (original, 1998)

The original Apple Studio Display (LCD), was introduced along with the Power Macintosh G3/300 DT and MT, two powerful (at the time) beige G3 towers. Uncharacteristically, the original Studio Display did not match the beige towers, but the design was quite futuristic at the time with translucent dark blue plastics. The Studio Display was released just months before the original iMac which would also use translucent plastics. 

There are three versions of this display in three different colors. The original was dark blue. The next version was blueberry and white, and the final version was graphite and white.

The original Studio Display requires System 7.5 or later. It has a 15.1-inch active-matrix LCD display on an adjustable stand with ADB and S-Video in ports. This display was Apple’s first to begin the transition between CRT and flat-panel screens. It supported 1024×768 resolution and weighed 12.1 pounds.

This model is made with translucent white and graphite plastics. This version and the and blueberry/white model matched the G3 and G4 towers available at the time.

Source: EveryMac.com

PowerBook G3 500 (MHz) (“Pismo,” 2000)

The PowerBook G3 500 was a member of the PowerBook FireWire family and referred to by its codename, “Pismo.” It featured a 500 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 128 MB of RAM, a 12.0 GB or 20.0 GB hard drive, and a tray-loading 6X DVD-ROM drive. The screen was a 14.1-inch TFT active-matrix color display.

Although the PowerBook G3 shares a case that is similar to the “Lombard” PowerBook G3 models that came before them (with a bronze keyboard), the “Pismo” PowerBooks used a faster logic board, a faster hard drive, and faster graphics. Pismo PowerBooks also supported optional AirPort (802.11b), and included dual FireWire ports.

This laptop cost $3,499 when it was released.

Source: EveryMac.com

PowerBook G3 Series (233 MHz) (“PDQ,” 1998)

The PowerBook G3 Series was Apple’s second PowerBook G3 line. The different PowerBook G3 Series models used internal codenames and this laptop was referred to as “PDQ” (Pretty Darn Quick).

The PowerBook G3/233 (“PDQ,” Late 1998) featured a 233 MHz PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 32 MB of RAM, 4 MB of SGRAM for video, a 2.0 GB hard drive, and a 20X tray-loading CD-ROM drive. The screen was a 14.1-inch TFT active-matrix color display.

The case was a two-tone black design with both a hard plastic and a rubberized finish. The case was the same as the “Wallstreet” PowerBook that preceded it and included dual hot-swappable bays which could both hold batteries or expansion modules (the left used a a 3.5-inch bay and the right used a 5.25-inch bay). 

While the “PDQ” PowerBook G3 Series had a fast processor and performed well for the time, the “PDQ” moniker described the simplification of its production process by offering one screen size instead of three and, therefore, solved supply issues “Pretty Darn Quick.”

Source: EveryMac.com

PowerBook 540 (1994)

The PowerBook 500 series laptops introduced the “trackpad” to the Macintosh: the cursor followed the movement of your finger on a pad rather than spinning a plastic trackball with your finger. The trackpad has proven to be a revolutionary input device and has been used since in most notebooks. The PowerBook 500 series also introduced the idea of dual-swappable bays that could be used to hold either one battery and a PCMCIA adapter or two batteries.

The Macintosh PowerBook 540 featured a 33 MHz 68LC040 processor, 8 MB or 12 MB of RAM, and a 240 MB hard drive. The screen was a 9.5-inch grayscale active-matrix display.

The PowerBook 540 was similar to the PowerBook 520 that was being offered at the same time, but the PowerBook 540 had a faster processor and a higher quality active-matrix display.

Source: EveryMac.com