Magazine article Online

Power Macintoshes in Two Sizes

Magazine article Online

Power Macintoshes in Two Sizes

Article excerpt

Power Macintoshes In Two Sizes

Guy Kawasaki, the president of Acius, Inc. and former Macintosh Software Evangelist at Apple Computer, Inc., enjoys telling people that the product development cycle here at Apple begins with a very important first step: designing a T-shirt for the team working on the new project. It is also a favorite practice when products are finally shipped, or when a new version of software is ready. I think you get the idea . . . there are many reasons at Apple for giving away T-shirts. The latest one was presented to all the members of Apple Products division at the end of the fiscal year and lists all the 38 software and hardware products introduced during 1989.

There were few products from Apple that had been anticipated for a longer time than the Macintosh Portable. This column is devoted to the new portable member of the Macintosh family and to the fastest CPU made by Apple, the Macintosh IIci.


Portable computers represent the fastest growing segment of the personal computer market. Infocorp estimates that world-wide shipments of portables will grow 38% from 1988 to 1989, and 66% from 1989 to 1990. In 1988, portable computers accounted for 7% of the total personal computer units sold world-wide. Portable sales approached $4.18 billion of the $55.1 billion personal computer market. By 1990, portable sales are expected to account for 13% of the personal computer market.

The Macintosh Portable is designed to provide all the functionality of other Macintoshes, but in a small, battery-operated package. The screen display is very high quality and works well in a variety of environments. Users have the same consistent interface, software compatibility, and high performance as other Macintosh computers.

The 3.5" FDHD (floppy drive-high density) is standard and offers the Portable owner the flexibility to read and write on 400KB, 800KB, and 1.4MB Macintosh disks, and read Apple PRO-DOS files, and MS-DOS disks as well. With that disk capacity you won't need to haul around as many floppies. Other standard features include 1MB of RAM, composed of 80-nanosecond static RAM chips for speed and low power consumption. Using Apple or third-party products you can expand the RAM to 9MB.

The central processor is the Motorola 68000 CMOS chip which consumes one-fifth the power of a regular 68000 or 68030 chip. It is very fast too, running about twice the speed of a Macintosh SE. I use a Macintosh Plus at home and a Mac II at work. In all the operations I tried, the portable was much faster than the Plus and seemed about as fast at the Mac II. We don't normally work by timing ourselves; the subjective feeling of how fast a task is performed is more important, and the portable seemed very quick indeed.

It comes with a battery pack good for six to 12 hours, a power adaptor for AC connections, a removable keyboard, mouse, and trackball which can be positioned to the left or right of the keyboard. Accountants (who will be heavy users of this model) and others can also use an optional keypad. All this fits into a padded carrying case which also has space for papers and disks.



One of the important design goals was to cut down on power consumption whenever possible, to give the user more time between recharges. Macintosh users are accustomed to having personalized settings, and how much power you save can be changed by using the Power Manager. The Power Manager uses a special chip with its own RAM and ROM; it monitors the system usage and power consumption, and can put the system or its components in a temporary state of "rest" or "sleep". When battery power becomes low, the Power Manager displays messages and advises users of the most appropriate action. During the "sleep" mode, power to the components or the system are turned off. Any currently open files are retained in memory. …

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