Apple Macintosh Portable
Announced:September 1989
Price:US$7300 w/ hard drive
Weight:16 lbs
CPU:Motorola 68HC000, 16Mhz
RAM:1 Meg, 9 Meg maximum
Battery:6.5-Volt, 5 amp lead acid (gel type)
Display:10-inch b&w active matrix LCD
640 X 400 pixels
I/O:Built-in trackball.
Ports:Apple Desktop Bus (ADB)
Two serial ports
External SCSI port
External floppy port
Video port
Storage:Internal 1.4Meg 3.5-inch floppy drive
Internal 40 MB SCSI hard drive
OS:Mac OS 6.04

The Mac Portable is Apple's first portable Macintosh computer. Although there were already PC laptops on the market, few were as fast or powerful. The Portable has a 68000 processor running at 16 MHz, comes with 1 MB RAM which can be expanded to 9 MB RAM, has an optional internal 9600 baud modem, and includes a PDS slot (Processor Direct Slot) for direct access to the system processor. This allows for faster and more powerful expansion cards.

The Portable has an active matrix screen, which updates faster, and doesn't have the blurry effect of other early displays. This new and high-tech screen greatly added to the system price.

To the right, you can see the back-lit Macintosh Portable (model M5126), released in 1991. The original Portable screen was not back-lit, and this new version improves readability in both dark and well-lit environments. Unfortunately, it also cuts the battery life in half, to 6 hours maximum on a single charge.

The Portable is powered by an internal lead-acid gel/cell battery, similar to those found in car batteries, which can run from 6 to 12 hours. The trade-off is that the battery adds an entire 2 pounds to the weight of the Portable.

Data storage is on a Conner 40 MB SCSI hard drive. To conserve power, the hard drive can spin down and sleep, but being a SCSI drive, it cost twice as much as other non-SCSI hard drives from the same era.

There was only one problem with the Portable which unfortunately led to its demise, it just wasn't very portable. Being rather large and weighing 16 lbs, few people had the patience to lug it around anywhere, despite all of its great features.

Two years later, in 1991, Apple released the successor to the Macintosh Portable - the Powerbook 100. Designed by Sony from the original Macintosh Portable schematics and blueprints, the new Powerbook 100 is smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the Portable.

One of my Macintosh Portables is an old one, a demonstration unit, for testing prior to production release!

Related Links

  • Low End Mac - Portable
  • Macintosh Portable at Uncle Roger's Classic Computers
  • The Classic Mac Room
  • Washington Apple Pi, Ltd.
  • Woz Homepage

  • Partial History of the Apple Computer Corporation

    • 1973: Stephen Wozniak joins HP.
    • 1976: Wozniak proposes that HP create a personal computer. He is rejected.
    • 1976: March - Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs finish work on a computer circuit board, that they call the Apple I computer.
    • 1976: April - Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak form the Apple Computer Company, on April Fool's Day.
    • 1976: July - The Apple I computer board is sold in kit form, and delivered to stores by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Price: US$666.66.
    • 1976: August - Steve Wozniak begins work on the Apple II.
    • 1976: October - Wozniak remains at HP, but is soon convinced that he should leave and join Apple Computer.
    • 1976: December - Steve Wozniak and Randy Wigginton demonstrate the first prototype Apple II at a Homebrew Computer Club meeting.
    • 1977: March - Apple Computer moves from Jobs' garage to an office in Cupertino.
    • 1977: April - Apple Computer delivers its first Apple II system, for $1295.
    • 1977: May - 10 months after its introduction, 175 Apple I kits have sold.
    • 1978: Apple Computer begins work on an enhanced Apple II with custom chips, code-named Annie.
    • 1978: Apple Computer begins work on a supercomputer with a bit-sliced architecture, code-named Lisa.
    • 1979: June - Apple Computer introduces the Apple II Plus, with 48KB memory, for US$1195.
    • 1979: September - Apple Computer sells 35,000 Apple II computers for the fiscal year.
    • 1979: October - 2.5 years after the introduction of the Apple II, 50,000 units have been sold.
    • 1979: Apple Computer begins work on "Sara", the code name for what will be the Apple III.
    • 1980: May - Apple Computer introduces the Apple III. Price ranges from US$4500 to US$8000.
    • 1980: September - Apple Computer sells over 78,000 Apple II computers during the fiscal year.
    • 1980: Apple Computer ships the first Apple III units in limited quantity.
    • 1980: Apple Computer begins project "Diana", which would become the Apple IIe.
    • 1981: September - Apple Computer introduces its first hard drive, the 5MB ProFile, for US$3499.
    • 1981: Apple Computer officially reintroduces the Apple III, with improved software and a hard disk.
    • 1982: Sales of Apple II Plus to date: 45,000.
    • 1982: Sales of all Apple II systems to date: 750,000.
    • 1982: Apple Computer becomes the first personal computer company to reach US$1 billion in annual sales.
    • 1982: Franklin Computer Corp. unveils the Franklin Ace 1000, the first legal (at the time) Apple II clone.
    • 1983: January - Apple Computer officially unveils the Apple Lisa computer. Its initial price is US$10,000. During its lifetime, 100,000 units are produced.
    • 1983: January - Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIe for US$1400.
    • 1983: June - The one millionth Apple II is made.
    • 1983: June - Apple Computer begins shipping the Lisa.
    • 1983: June - Video Technology introduces the Laser 3000, an Apple II workalike microcomputer.
    • 1983: June - Unitronics shows the Sonic, an Apple II workalike microcomputer.
    • 1983: July - Apple Computer officially begins marketing the Lisa computer.
    • 1983: December - Apple Computer introduces the redesigned Apple III as the Apple III+, for US$3000.
    • 1983: December - Apple unveils the new Macintosh to the press.
    • 1983: Franklin shows an operating Franklin Ace 1200 Apple II compatible for US$2200.
    • 1984: January - Apple releases a new version of the Lisa computer, the Lisa 2. It uses all new software, as well as the Macintosh operating system.
    • 1984: January - Apple Computer's Steve Jobs introduces the Apple Macintosh.
    • 1984: April - Apple Computer unveils the Apple IIc, priced at US$1300.
    • 1984: April - Apple Computer retires the Apple III and Apple III+, with only 65,000 units sold in total (90,000 made).
    • 1984: May - Apple Computer announces that 70,000 Macintosh computers have been shipped in the first 100 days since its announcement.
    • 1984: September - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh 512K for US$3200.
    • 1984: November - The 2 millionth Apple II computer is sold.
    • 1984: Apple sells the 250,000th Macintosh system.
    • 1985: January - Apple Computer officially renames the Lisa the Macintosh XL.
    • 1985: March - Apple Computer introduces the Apple Enhanced IIe.
    • 1985: April - The Macintosh XL (formerly called Lisa) is dropped from Apple Computer's product line.
    • 1986: January - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh Plus. Price is US$2600.
    • 1986: April - Apple Computer discontinues the original Macintosh and the Macintosh 512K.
    • 1986: April - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh 512K Enhanced, for US$2000.
    • 1986: July - Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh XL.
    • 1986: September - Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIGS, with the Apple 3.5 drive, for US$1000.
    • 1987: January - Apple Computer introduces the Apple Platinum IIe.
    • 1987: March - Apple Computer introduces the open architecture Macintosh II, US$3900.
    • 1987: March - Apple Computer makes its 1 millionth Macintosh personal computer.
    • 1987: March - Apple Computer introduces the expandable Macintosh SE for US$2900.
    • 1987: March - Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh 512K Enhanced.
    • 1987: Apple Computer begins shipping the Macintosh II.
    • 1988: September - Apple Computer introduces the Apple IIc Plus for US$1100.
    • 1988: September - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh IIx computer, base price is US$7770.
    • 1989: January - Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh SE/30, US$6500.
    • 1989: September - Apple Computer announces the Macintosh Portable, for US$6500.
    • 1989: September - Apple Computer announces the Macintosh IIci, for about US$8700.
    • 1991: February - Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh Portable.
    • 1991: October - Apple Computer introduces the Powerbook line of notebook computers..
    • 1992: October - Apple Computer dicsontinues the Powerbook line.
      Source: Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers

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