Feeds

The forgotten, fat generation of Mac Portables

Long before the Air, there was Lord Lard Ass

Security for virtualized datacentres

Big battery, small hard drive

The Portable was powered by a 5-watt lead acid battery that weighed 2.7 pounds (1.2kg) — heavier than a new 11.6-inch MacBook Air, which weighs in at 2.3 pounds (1.06 kg).

In a futher indication of how times have changed, you could buy 11 MacBook Airs for the price of one Portable, when prices are adjusted for inflation, and still have a decent chunk of change left over for the rest of your holiday shopping.

Battery life ranged from six to 10 hours, depending (obviously) on hard-disk usage and other factors. You could also set your drive to power itself down after a period of inactivity — a somewhat novel feature at the time.

Also, the system would drop from 16MHz to 1MHz after being idle for 15 seconds, then pop back to 16MHz when it sensed activity. Screen brightness, of course, wasn't a battery-life factor, seeing as how the original Portable didn't have a backlight — but when backlighting did appear in a later model, reports were that it cut battery life in half.

Apple Macintosh Portable: lead-acid battery

Shown next to an AA cell, the battery was 'Assembled in Mexico' during those pre-Foxconn years (click to enlarge)

One advantage of the Portable's battery, in those pre-lithium days, was that lead-acid batteries had no "memory effect" — which could not be said of their follow-on tech, nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries, which would "remember" the level at which they were last recharged, and "learn" not to hold a full charge if not properly drained.

One distinct disadvantage of the Portable's battery system, however, was that its battery was in line with its power supply. As a result, if the battery were fully drained, power couldn't get to the Portable's guts, and the damn thing wouldn't boot.

Apple Macintosh Portable

Twenty-one years ago, 40MB was plenty (click to enlarge)

You could choose to configure your Macintosh Portable with one or two 1.44MB "SuperDrive" floppies, or one floppy and a 40MB Conner CP-3045 3.5-inch hard drive with a 28-millisecond access time. By way of contrast, you can now buy a MacBook with a 7200rpm 2.5-inch drive with an average seek time in the 12ms range and a capacity of 500GB.

We'll do the math for you: it'd take 12,500 Macintosh Portable hard drives to equal the storage space in that MacBook drive.

New hybrid storage solutions

Next page: Display's the thing

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
The Apple Watch and CROTCH RUBBING. How are they related?
Plus: 'NostrilTime' wristjob vid action
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.