Today marks the 20th anniversary of the original release of the Macintosh Portable — the first truly untethered Mac, thanks to its internal battery.
There’s a quote attributed to Steve Jobs: “Do not trust a computer that you cannot lift.” The original compact desktop Macs were offered with an optional carrying case, and some pioneer Mac-users did lug them around, but analogous to the tiny Mac mini today, they couldn’t be considered truly portable due to the necessity of a wall-current umbilical.
The Mac Portable development project was launched in 1986, not long before Steve Jobs’ departure from Apple (s aapl), and the product was first released for sale on September 20, 1989. It was featured on the cover of the November 1989 edition of MacUser magazine, which called it “by far the most complex piece of machinery devised by sale by Apple computer.”
While it incorporated a laptop-style foldable form factor with a front-mounted carry handle/lockdown lever, the Mac Portable weighed only about a pound less than contemporaneous Mac Compact desktops — a hefty 16 pounds, due partly to it having a robust lead-acid battery. It wasn’t cheap either, selling for a likewise heavyweight $6,500 — or $7,300 with an optional hard drive. Read More about Milestone: 20th Anniversary of Portable Mac Era