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In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, there are certain moments that stand out as pivotal turning points. One such moment occurred in the mid-90s when Apple, the trailblazer in innovation, unveiled the remarkable PowerBook 550c. This groundbreaking notebook computer, a jewel in the crown of the Macintosh PowerBook series, not only redefined the portable computing experience but also left an indelible mark on the industry.
Cast your mind back to May 30, 1995, a date etched in the annals of tech history. On this day, Apple unleashed the PowerBook 550c onto the world stage, capturing the imagination of tech enthusiasts and professionals alike. With its cutting-edge specs and a design that pushed boundaries, the PowerBook 550c was destined to make waves.
At the heart of the PowerBook 550c was the 33 MHz Motorola 68040 processor, a marvel of engineering prowess. Paired with this powerhouse was a 10.4″ color LCD display, an 8 MB RAM configuration that was formidable for its time, and storage options ranging from a 500 MB to a 750 MB hard drive. The presence of a 1.44 MB floppy drive was a nod to the transitional phase that computing was undergoing.
In an era where power met portability, the PowerBook 550c struck the perfect balance. Tech aficionados seeking both performance and convenience found their nirvana in this sleek machine.
Regrettably, as with many technological marvels, the PowerBook 550c’s brilliance was fleeting. By April 1, 1996, this visionary creation was discontinued, leaving a void in the tech landscape. However, its legacy endures, speaking volumes about the vision and foresight of Apple’s engineering team.
Fast forward to the present day, and the PowerBook 550c stands as a testament to innovation’s enduring power. Its specifications and design paved the way for future innovations, leaving an unmistakable mark on the trajectory of computing. The 28-year journey has only magnified the significance of this pioneering device.
Notable among the PowerBook 550c’s contributions was the introduction of the trackpad. In an era where the mouse was king, Apple’s audacious move to replace the traditional plastic ball with a responsive pad transformed navigation forever. The trackpad’s debut in the PowerBook 500 series heralded an era of intuitive interaction, one that we take for granted in today’s notebooks.
Moreover, the dual-swappable “bays” were a stroke of genius. The adaptability they offered, from extending battery life with dual batteries to accommodating a PCMCIA adapter, was emblematic of Apple’s commitment to catering to diverse user needs.
It’s worth noting that the Apple PowerBook 550c, a treasure trove of innovation, was a unique gem available exclusively in Japan. This exclusivity further adds to its mystique, reminding us that sometimes, the most profound creations are hidden in plain sight.
As we pay homage to the Apple PowerBook 550c, we’re reminded of the relentless pursuit of advancement that defines the tech world. This relic of a bygone era serves as a bridge between the past and the present, linking the early days of portable computing with our modern age of sleek and powerful devices. The PowerBook 550c was more than a computer; it was a harbinger of change, an emblem of progress, and a herald of the future.
Macintosh PowerBook 550c Details
|Introduced||May 30, 1995|
|Discontinued||April 1, 1996|
|Dimensions||2.3” H x 11.5” W x 9.7” D|
5.84 cm H x 29.21 cm W x 24.63 cm D
PowerBook 550c Tech Specs
|Processor Speed||33 MHz|
|Number of Cores||1|
|System Bus||33 MHz|
|Cache||8 KB L1|
Storage & Media
|Media||1 – 1.44 MB floppy|
|Built-in Memory||8 MB|
|Maximum Memory||36 MB|
|Memory Slots||1 – PB 5xx|
|Minimum Speed||70 ns|
|Built-in Display||10.4″ color active-matrix LCD|
|Resolutions||640 x 480 8-bit|
640 x 400 16-bit
|Graphics Memory||512 KB|
|Display Connection||1 – Mini-15|
Type II/III PC Card Bay (Optional)
|Hard Drive Interface||SCSI|
|Ethernet||1 – AAUI-15|
|SCSI||1 – HDI-30|
|Audio In||1 – 3.5-mm analog input jack|
1 – Built-in microphone
|Audio Out||1 – 3.5-mm analog output jack|
1 – Built-in speaker
|Display||1 – Mini-15|
Keyboard and trackpad
|Keyboard||Built-in 64-key (U.S.) or 64-key (ISO) 3.0-mm travel keyboard|
|Trackpad||Built-in trackpad pointing device|
|Original OS||System Software 7.5|
|Maximum OS||Mac OS 8.1|
|System Battery||PowerBook 500 Intelligent Battery M1906 (NiMH)|
|Maximum Continuous Power||40 W|
Further Reading and References
- Macintosh PowerBook 550c: Technical Specifications – Apple Support
- PowerBook 500 series – Wikipedia
- Macintosh PowerBook 550c Service Source (PDF) – Apple Repair Manuals
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Last updated: August 15, 2023