PowerBook G4 PowerBook G4

Original PowerBook G4 Explained

In the fast-paced world of technology, milestones are often marked by innovations that reshape the landscape. In January 2001, Apple made such a mark with the introduction of the original PowerBook G4 also known as “PowerBook G4 Titanium”. This sleek and powerful notebook computer not only pushed the boundaries of performance but also laid the groundwork for future Apple devices.

Unveiled at Steve Jobs’ MacWorld Expo keynote on January 9, 2001, the PowerBook G4 was a departure from its predecessor, the PowerBook G3. Boasting a titanium-clad case merely one inch deep, the G4 was a symbol of Apple’s commitment to cutting-edge design. The iconic front-mounted slot-loading optical drive and widescreen aspect ratio were among its groundbreaking features. The unofficially named “TiBook” became a symbol of elegance in the laptop world.

The PowerBook G4’s initial design, crafted by Apple hardware designers Jory Bell, Nick Merz, and Danny Delulis, showcased a shift toward minimalism. Jonathan Ive, head of Apple’s industrial design team, played a pivotal role in setting the aesthetic tone for future Apple products. The PowerBook G4’s design language not only influenced subsequent PowerBook models but also left an indelible mark on the MacBook Pro, Power Mac G5, iMac, Xserve, and Mac mini.

The Original Titanium PowerBook G4 was not just about looks; it was a powerhouse of performance. Featuring PowerPC G4 processors with Velocity Engine running at up to 500 MHz, a 15.2-inch mega-wide display, and a slot-loading DVD-ROM drive, it outperformed Pentium III-based notebook systems by up to 30 percent. Weighing a mere 5.3 pounds and housed in a one-inch thick Titanium enclosure, it set a new standard for portability and power.

PowerBook G4 Early 2001
Source: sixcolors.com – PowerBook G4 Early 2001

Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, described the Titanium PowerBook G4 as the “most revolutionary portable computer ever created.” Its features, including 5 hours of battery life, made it a supercomputer on the go. With a range of cutting-edge specifications, such as up to 256 MB of SDRAM (expandable to 1 GB), AGP 2X Rage Mobility 128 graphics, and built-in connectivity options like USB, FireWire, VGA, and S-video output, the PowerBook G4 catered to both professionals and consumers.

The PowerBook G4’s mega-wide display and rapid PowerPC G4 processors positioned it as the ultimate system for portable video editing. Whether using the preinstalled iMovie 2 or the professional-grade Final Cut Pro, users could seamlessly edit videos on the go. The integration of Apple’s iTunes software also allowed users to manage their digital music collections effortlessly.

The PowerBook G4 Early 2001 was AirPort ready, reflecting Apple’s commitment to wireless connectivity. With a built-in slot for the AirPort Card and integrated antennas, users could experience untethered internet access at speeds up to 11 megabits per second. The AirPort solution showcased Apple’s forward-thinking approach to networking.

Despite its advanced features and initial acclaim, the PowerBook G4 had a brief stint in the market. Discontinued just nine months after its launch in October 2001, the Original PowerBook G4 left a lasting impression. Reviews at the time praised its weight, wider screen, and Velocity Engine but critiqued aspects like hard drive replacement difficulty and battery life.

Today, over 23 years since its introduction, the PowerBook G4 Early 2001 stands as a nostalgic reminder of Apple’s innovation. Though succeeded by later models, its impact on the computing industry remains profound. The reviews, both positive and critical, reflect the nuanced reception of a device that dared to redefine what a laptop could be.

The Original Titanium PowerBook G4 was a trailblazer that left an indelible mark on the history of mobile computing. Its sleek design, powerful performance, and forward-thinking features set the stage for future innovations in the Apple ecosystem. While the PowerBook G4 had a short lifespan, its legacy continues to resonate with enthusiasts and industry observers alike, reminding us of a time when a laptop wasn’t just a device but a symbol of innovation and progress.

PowerBook G4 Titanium
Source: massmadesoul.com – PowerBook G4 Titanium

PowerBook G4 Titanium Details

IntroducedJanuary 9, 2001
DiscontinuedOctober 16, 2001
Model IdentifierPowerBook3,2
Model NumberM5884
EMC1854
Order NumberM7952LL/A (400 MHz)
M7710LL/A (500 MHz)
Original Price$2,599
$3,499
ColorsTitanium
Weight5.3 Ibs.
2.404 KG
Dimensions1” H x 13.4” W x 9.5” D
2.54 cm H x 34.03 cm W x 24.13 cm D

Original PowerBook G4 Tech Specs

Processor

ProcessorPowerPC 7410 G4
Processor Speed400 MHz
500 MHz
Architecture32-bit
Number of Cores1
System Bus100 MHz
Cache64 KB L1
1 MB backside L2

Storage & Media

Storage10 GB
20 GB
Media1 – 6x DVD-ROM (Slot-loading)

Memory

Built-in Memory128 MB
256 MB
Maximum Memory1 GB
Memory Slots2 – PC-100 3.3V 144-pin SO-DIMM
Minimum Speed10 ns
Interleaving SupportNo

Display

Built-in Display15.2″ Color TFT Display
Resolutions640 x 480
720 x 480
800 x 600
896 x 600
1024 x 768
1152 x 768 (native)

Graphics

Graphics CardATI Rage Mobility 128
Graphics Memory8 MB
Display Connection1 – VGA
1 – S-Video
Display ModesDual display extended and video mirroring
External ResolutionNone

Expansion

Expansion Slots1 – Single Type I or II
Hard Drive InterfaceUltra ATA/66 (ATA-5)
BaysNone

Connections

Wi-FiAirPort Card 802.11b (Optional)
Ethernet10/100BASE-T (RJ-45)
Modem56k
BluetoothNone
Infrared1 – 4 Mbps
ADB1 – Internal for Trackpad
FireWire1 – 400 Mbps (6W total power)
SCSINone
USB2 – 12 Mbps
Audio In1 – Built-in microphone
Audio Out1 – 3.5-mm analog output jack
2 – Built-in 20mm speakers
Display1 – VGA
1 – S-Video
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)

Software

Original OSMac OS 9.1
Later OSMac OS X 10.1.1
Maximum OSMac OS X 10.4.11
FirmwareMacintosh ROM
Bundled SoftwareNone

Power

System Battery50 Wh Lithium-Ion (M8244G/A)
Backup BatteryPowerBook G4 Backup Battery (922-4361)
Battery LifeUp to 5 hours
Maximum Continuous PowerUnknown
Line Voltage100-240 V AC
Power AdapterPowerBook G4 Power Adapter (M8243LL/A)

Further Reading and References

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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: January 22, 2024