Macintosh PowerBook 550c Macintosh PowerBook 550c

Macintosh PowerBook 550c Explained

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.

PowerBook 550c
Source: – PowerBook 550c

Macintosh PowerBook 550c Details

IntroducedMay 30, 1995
DiscontinuedApril 1, 1996
Model Identifier72
Model NumberUnknown
Order NumberM4286J/A
Original PriceUnknown
ColorsDark Grey
Weight6.8 Ibs.
3.084 KG
Dimensions2.3” 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


ProcessorMotorola 68040
Processor Speed33 MHz
Number of Cores1
System Bus33 MHz
Cache8 KB L1

Storage & Media

Storage500 MB
750 MB
Media1 – 1.44 MB floppy


Built-in Memory8 MB
Maximum Memory36 MB
Memory Slots1 – PB 5xx
Minimum Speed70 ns
Interleaving SupportNo


Built-in Display10.4″ color active-matrix LCD
Resolutions640 x 480 8-bit
640 x 400 16-bit


Graphics CardNone
Graphics Memory512 KB
Display Connection1 – Mini-15


Expansion SlotsModem
Type II/III PC Card Bay (Optional)
Hard Drive InterfaceSCSI


Ethernet1 – AAUI-15
SCSI1 – HDI-30
Floppy PortNone
Audio In1 – 3.5-mm analog input jack
1 – Built-in microphone
Audio Out1 – 3.5-mm analog output jack
1 – Built-in speaker
Display1 – Mini-15

Keyboard and trackpad

KeyboardBuilt-in 64-key (U.S.) or 64-key (ISO) 3.0-mm travel keyboard
TrackpadBuilt-in trackpad pointing device


Original OSSystem Software 7.5
Maximum OSMac OS 8.1
FirmwareMacintosh ROM


System BatteryPowerBook 500 Intelligent Battery M1906 (NiMH)
Backup BatteryUnknown
Maximum Continuous Power40 W
Line VoltageUnknown
Power AdapterUnknown

Further Reading and References

Disclaimer: The data presented in this article is under continuous development and has been manually collected from various sources based on their availability. The author of this article may revise this dataset as additional research is conducted and reviewed. Please note that the information is provided “as is” and “as available” without express or implied warranties. The author cannot be held responsible for any omissions, inaccuracies, or errors in the published information. Any warranties relating to this information are hereby disclaimed.

Last updated: August 15, 2023