IBook

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The correct title of this article is iBook. The initial letter is capitalized due to technical restrictions.

Following the success of the iMac and its ongoing hardware simplification strategy, Apple introduced the iBook, a laptop computer targeted to consumer and education market segments. Instead of the common market practice of selling yesterday's professional technology to consumers, Apple originally engineered the iBook as a derivative of its professional laptop computer, the PowerBook G3, adopting several key features that had made it an early market success.

iBook: iMac to go.

File:IBook-original.jpg
Original iBook in "Blueberry". The iBook was also made available in "Tangerine", both "flavors" from the iMac product line of the time.
File:IBook-revfw.jpg
A revision to the iBook brought new colors, directly from the mid-2000 iMac. Colors available were "Graphite", "Indigo" and "Key Lime"

After much speculation, Steve Jobs unveiled the consumer-targeted iBook laptop computer during the keynote presentation of Macworld Conference & Expo, New York on July 21, 1999. The design philosophy was influenced by Apple's consumer desktop, iMac, with a large distinctive shape, and translucent clear and coloured plastics. Its marketing slogan was "iMac to go".

The target audience included young children, so a carrying handle was built into the hinge. Apple touted the durability of the casing by demonstrating someone holding on to the iBook jumping off a height (onto cushions). Like the iMac, the iBook ran a PowerPC G3 chip, and included no legacy Apple interfaces. USB, Ethernet, and modem ports were standard, as was an optical drive. The ports were placed uncovered on the side, as a cover was thought to be fragile. To attract sales to schools, the iBooks had power connectors on the underside of the machine that allowed multiple iBooks to be easily charged on a custom-made rack.

The first iBook was the first mainstream computer ever to be sold with internal wireless networking, with antenna built around the display bezel (note that this original iBook required an optional AirPort card to enable wireless networking). Apple partnered with Lucent in the creation of the iBook's wireless capabilities, setting an industry standard. Apple released the AirPort wireless base station at the same time.

Heated debate was made over just about everything—the aesthetics, features, weight, performance, pricing and so on. The iBook was heftier than the PowerBook of the time, with lower specifications. Long rumoured features of touch-screens, and ultra-long battery life were absent. The iBook was labelled as "clamshell" or "toilet seat" due to the distinctive design. Nevertheless, this version of the iBook, along with many other Macs, could be seen in hit movies and televisions shows.

Despite its drawbacks, the iBook was a sales success. The line continually received processor, memory, and hard disk upgrades. As with the iMac, multiple new colours were introduced; FireWire and video out were added as well.

Models

  • iBook (June 21,1999) - First iBook (Tangerine, Blueberry)
    • 12-inch Active-matrix TFT Display (800x600 max resolution)
    • G3 300 MHz
    • 32/64 MB RAM
    • 3 GB Hard Disk
    • CD-ROM
    • USB, Ethernet
    • Airport (802.11b, optional)
    • Mac OS 8.6
  • iBook SE (February 16, 2000) - Minor addition to existing line (Graphite)
    • 366 MHz
    • Mac OS 9.0.2
    • (Other Specifications Same as iBook)
  • iBook Firewire/SE (September 13, 2000) - Major revision (Graphite, Indigo, Key-lime)
    • 12-inch Active-matrix TFT Display (800x600 max resolution)
    • G3 366/466 MHz
    • 64 MB RAM
    • 10 GB Hard Disk
    • CD/DVD-ROM
    • USB, Firewire, Video Out, Ethernet
    • Airport (802.11b, optional)
    • Mac OS 9.0.4

The original iBook design was discontinued in May 2001, in favor of the new "Dual USB" iBooks.

Expandability/Upgrades

The original iBook's only customer installable parts were additional memory and an AirPort card, via two slots under the easily removed keyboard. No other modifications could be performed in warranty, and no PCMCIA port existed to provide additional expansion capabilities. Complicated procedures and countless screws had to be removed in order to access any internal components, such as the hard disk and optical drive. This limitation still holds true in all iBooks produced today.

Most iBooks shipped with Mac OS 8.6 or 9.0. Support for these iBooks is built into OS X 10.0 through to 10.3.9. OS X 10.4 Tiger requires a Firewire port and DVD drive, restricting it to the late-model iBook SE.

iBook Dual USB (12.1-inch & 14.1-inch)

File:IBook-g4currrent.jpg
The current day iBook G4. The new iBook casing is slimmer and more mainstream, composed mostly of white and light grey plastic on a magnesium frame.
File:IBook-g4current ports.jpg
The current iBook offers several ports on its left side, including a Security Lock, Modem, Ethernet, Firewire, USB, Video Out and Headphone.

A next generation iBook debuted at a press conference in Cupertino on May 1, 2001. Essentially, the machine had been reinvented from the very core, with new features and a new design.

Aesthetically, the former iBook's bold colors and radical (much contested) form-factor were abandoned for a crisp white and slim-line form factor. These smaller machines were lighter, had a higher quality 12-inch LCD screen and largely thought to be a superior design. Apple received industry accolades for brilliant design, which has since been widely copied.

The iBook's design, along with elements from its sister product, the PowerBook G4 are currently used in Apple's entire product matrix. With a few exceptions, white polycarbonate is used in consumer lines such as iMac, eMac and iBook, while anodized aluminum is used for professional products like the Power Mac G5 and PowerBook G4.

The iBook design has stayed largely the same since then. A 14-inch model was added to the existing 12-inch models on January 07, 2002 during Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

Later, a PowerPC G4 chip and slot loading optical drives were added on October 23, 2003—finally ending Apple’s use of the G3 chip. Today, Apple's laptop/portable product line (still) only consists of the iBook and PowerBook G4.

Models

  • iBook Dual USB (May 1, 2001) - Second Generation iBook
    • 12-inch Active-matrix TFT Display (1024x768 max resolution)
    • G3 500 MHz
    • 64 or 128 MB RAM
    • 10 GB Hard Disk
    • CD/CDRW/DVD/Combo
    • USB 1.1, Firewire, Video Out, Ethernet
    • Airport (802.11b, optional)
    • Mac OS 9.1
  • iBook Dual USB Late 2001 (October 16, 2001) - Minor revision
    • 600 MHz
    • 15 GB Hard Disk (most models)
    • Mac OS X 10.1
    • (Other Specifications Same as Dual USB)
  • iBook 14-inch (January 7, 2002) - New model, larger 14-inch display
    • 14-inch Active-matrix TFT Display (1024x768 max resolution)
    • 256 MB RAM
    • (Other Specifications Same as Dual USB Late 2001)
  • iBook Mid 2002 (May 20, 2002) - Minor revision
    • 600/700 MHz
    • Mac OS X 10.1
    • (Other Specifications Same as 14-inch)
  • iBook Early 2003 (April 22, 2003) - Minor revision
    • 800/900 MHz
    • Mac OS X 10.2
    • (Other Specifications Same as Mid 2002)
  • iBook G4 (October 22, 2003) - Major revision, processor switch
    • 12-inch or 14-inch Active-matrix TFT Display (1024x768 max resolution)
    • G4 800/933/1000 MHz
    • 256 MB RAM
    • 30/40/60 GB Hard Disk
    • Slot-load Combo (CD-RW/DVD-ROM)
    • USB 2.0, Firewire 400, Video Out, Ethernet 10/100
    • Airport Extreme (802.11g, optional)
    • Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther"
  • iBook G4 Early 2004 (April 19, 2004) - Minor revision
    • G4 1.0/1.25 GHz
    • Slot-load SuperDrive (DVD-R) Built to Order Option
    • (Other Specifications Same as iBook G4)
  • iBook G4 Late 2004 (October 19, 2004) - Minor revision
    • G4 1.2/1.33 GHz
    • 30/60/80 GB Hard Disk
    • Slot-load Combo (DVD/CD-RW)/SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Standard
    • (Other Specifications Same as iBook G4 Early 2004)
    • The three models are: M9623LL/A (12-inch, 1.2GHz, combo drive), M9627LL/A (14-inch, 1.33GHz, combo drive), M9628LL/A (14-inch, 1.33GHz, super drive)
    • Apple originally shipped this with Mac OS X 10.3 Panther but with the release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, all current iBooks ship with the more up-to-date operating system.
  • iBook G4 Mid 2005 (July 26, 2005) - Minor revision
    • M9846LL/A: 1.33GHz; 12-inch display; 40GB hard disk; Slot-Load Combo Drive DVD-ROM/CD-RW
    • M9848LL/A: 1.42GHz; 14-inch display; 60GB hard disk; Slot-Load SuperDrive DVD±RW/CD-RW
    • Both models now feature: 512MB memory (expandable to 1.5GB); ATI Mobility Radeon 9550 graphics processor with 32MB video RAM; Sudden Motion Sensor (parks the hard drive head if the iBook is dropped); scrolling trackpad; Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
    • (Other Specifications Same as iBook G4 Late 2004)

Expandability/Upgrades

For customer installable parts such as an AirPort (wireless) card or additional memory, installation into an iBook is rather easy, as the keyboard is designed to easily open with two spring-loaded latches that may also be locked with screws if so desired. This does give the keyboard a "spongy" effect if the user types with heavy hands though.

The current iBook enclosure, however, is also notable for being difficult to open. To replace or even access the hard drive, about thirty screws need to be removed. For comparison, most recent Wintel laptop form factors allow removal of a hard drive caddy after removing one or two screws. PB FixIt offers a set of FixIt Guides for the iBooks that provide instructions with pictures covering how to get to any internal component. Each guide also includes a screw guide that lists the different types of screws and where they go.

Quality issues

In late November 2003, a number of iBook users started to report a display problem with their laptops [1]. At one point, a group of users [2] even sought to file a class action suit against Apple. In response to the problem, in January 2004, Apple initiated the "iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program" [3]", which covers any expense of repairing "affected iBooks for three years"—essentially an extended warranty for the affected products. According to users reporting problems and Apple, products manufactured during May and April 2003 have problems with their main logic board. The program has since been applied to other similar problems in Apples hardware range.

External links


Template:Apple hardware since 1998

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