PowerBook G3 1997 PowerBook G3 1997

Original PowerBook G3 Explained

The year was 1997, and Apple was about to unveil a revolutionary piece of computing history — the Apple PowerBook G3. Fast forward to 2023, and the PowerBook G3 stands as a classic, with a legacy that continues to captivate Mac enthusiasts worldwide.

On November 10, 1997, Apple introduced the world to the PowerBook G3 (Kanga), a notebook computer that would redefine portable computing. Boasting a 250 MHz PowerPC 750 G3 processor, a 12.1-inch color LCD display, 32 MB of RAM, a 5 GB hard drive, a 1.44 MB floppy drive, and a tray-loading 20x CD-ROM drive, the PowerBook G3 set new standards for power and portability in its time. It was a tool embraced by professionals, artists, and students alike, offering the robustness and flexibility needed to tackle a variety of tasks.

The Original PowerBook G3 marked a pivotal moment as the first PowerBook to utilize the “Third-Generation” (G3) PowerPC 750 processor. This innovation brought forth a new “backside” level 2 cache, pushing the boundaries of what was expected from a notebook. Surpassing the performance of many desktop systems, the G3 processor placed the PowerBook G3 in a league of its own.

Despite being on the market for less than 5 months, the Kanga (as the first PowerBook G3 was fondly called) was not without significance. It served as a stopgap system, enabling Apple to release G3 PowerBooks earlier while preparing for the groundbreaking PowerBook G3 Series. Although quickly deprecated, the Kanga found favor among users for its compatibility with interchangeable expansion bay modules, batteries, and peripherals from previous PowerBook models.

The PowerBook G3’s reign, however, was short-lived. On March 14, 1998, Apple discontinued the PowerBook G3, making way for newer and more improved models. Despite its brevity, the PowerBook G3 left an indelible mark on the world of computing. It was Apple’s most quickly deprecated PowerBook, but its impact resonated far beyond its discontinuation.

Original PowerBook G3 Prototype
Source: flickr.com – Original PowerBook G3 Prototype

Fast forward to today, and the PowerBook G3 celebrates its 26-year anniversary. The legacy lives on through its iconic design, powerful hardware, and innovative features. The Kanga may have been replaced, but its influence can be traced to subsequent Apple products’ evolution. The PowerBook G3, though discontinued, remains a classic that many still hold dear, showcasing Apple’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of technology.

The PowerBook G3’s impact on the computing world cannot be overstated. Its compact size, powerful specifications, and groundbreaking design paved the way for future innovations. The Kanga’s smaller dimensions, compared to subsequent PowerBooks, and its lasting influence are evident in the continued adoration of Mac fans worldwide.

The PowerBook G3’s influence extends beyond its time, inspiring countless other products in the tech industry. Its success laid the groundwork for future Apple laptops, setting a precedent for power, portability, and sleek design. Even as we embrace cutting-edge technology today, the PowerBook G3 serves as a reminder of the pivotal moments that shaped the trajectory of modern computing.

The Apple PowerBook G3 remains a timeless classic in the world of computing. Its brief but impactful existence, innovative features, and enduring legacy make it a symbol of Apple’s commitment to pushing boundaries. As we celebrate 26 years since its launch, the PowerBook G3 stands as a testament to the evolution of technology and continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Mac enthusiasts around the globe. Though the PowerBook G3 may have been discontinued, its impact on the world of computing will never fade away.

Powerbook G3 Kanga
Source: powerbuch.ch – Powerbook G3 Kanga

Original PowerBook G3 Details

IntroducedNovember 10, 1997
DiscontinuedMarch 14, 1998
Model Identifier313
Model NumberM3553
Order NumberM5993LL/A
Original Price$5,700
ColorsDark Grey
Weight7.5 Ibs.
3.401 KG
Dimensions1.9” H x 10.5” W x 8.4” D
6.09 cm H x 29.21 cm W x 24.13 cm D

PowerBook G3 Tech Specs


ProcessorPowerPC 750 G3
Processor Speed250 MHz
Number of Cores1
System Bus50 MHz
Cache64 KB L1
512 KB backside L2
CoprocessorBuilt-in FPU

Storage & Media

Storage5 GB
Media1 – 1.44 MB floppy
1 – 20x CD-ROM Tray-loading


Built-in Memory32 MB
Maximum Memory160 MB
Memory Slots1 – PowerBook G3
Minimum Speed60 ns
Interleaving SupportNo


Built-in Display12.1″ Color TFT Active-matrix Display
Resolutions800 x 600


Graphics CardNone
Graphics Memory2 MB
Display Connection1 – HDI-15
Display ModesNone
External ResolutionNone


Expansion Slots2 – Type II or 1 – Type III PC Card
Hard Drive InterfaceATA
Bays1 – 5.25-inch bay


Infrared1 – 1.152 Mbps
ADB1 – External
1 – Internal for Trackpad
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
4 – Built-in speakers
Display1 – HDI-15
Security Slot1 – Kensington cable lock

Keyboard and trackpad

KeyboardBuilt-in Full-size 77-key (U.S.) or 78-key (ISO) incl. 12 function and 4 arrow keys
TrackpadBuilt-in Solid-state trackpad (Tap, double-tap, and drag)


Original OSMac OS 8
Maximum OSMac OS 9.1
FirmwareMacintosh ROM


System Battery47 Wh Lithium-Ion (M4895)
Backup Battery7.2 V 60 mAh NiMH (922-2692)
Battery Life2-4 hours
Maximum Continuous Power45 W
Line Voltage100-240 V AC
Power Adapter45 W AC (M4895)

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: December 17, 2023