This article written by The Apple Gazette has been floating around the internet lately. I found it rather interesting. The author took the time to rehash the evolution of Apple portable computers. Beginning with the inception of the Macintosh Portable and finishing with the MacBook/Pro you’ll get a feel for how Apple has continually tried to push the envelope.
Apple has routinely made market firsts with their laptops, all of which took place in the 90’s. Here are some of the most notable firsts.
- 1991 - PowerBook 100: The keyboard was placed close to the display, leaving room for palm rests and the trackball.
- 1994 - PowerBook 500: Built in Ethernet, and a trackpad.
- 1996 - PowerBook 1400: Built-in: CD-Rom drive.
- 1997 - PowerBook 3400: PCI architecture, EDO memory, and a 64-bit wide internal bus.
- 1999 - iBook “Clamshell”: Designed and sold with internal wireless networking.
1989 to 1991 is considered to be the first ‘Golden Days’ of apple, which was coined by MacAddict magazine. Following the ‘Golden Days’ was a big slump between 1991 and 1997. During this slump Apple was not profitable and wouldn’t be until Steve Jobs revived the company in 1998 with the iMac.
That being said, I’m really surprised that nearly all of Apples market firsts in the mobile sector took place during the companies slump. Where as the original ‘Golden Days’ and Apple’s current success has produced nearly no notable portable computing market firsts. Maybe, coming to market later with new technology is better? It definitely worked with the iPod and time will tell how it comes into play with the iPhone and iTV. As we all know, Apples recent success with consumer electronics has been due to ‘reinventing’ current technologies.