Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

iBook Turns 20: Watch Steve Jobs Unveil the World's First Notebook With Wireless Internet

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,005
12,545



Upon returning to Apple in the late 1990s, Steve Jobs came up with a 2×2 product grid in an effort to simplify Apple's then-bloated lineup of computers. The grid was split into four quadrants, including a professional desktop, a consumer desktop, a professional portable, and a consumer portable.


Today marks the 20th anniversary of Jobs unveiling the fourth and final product in the grid, the iBook, at the 1999 Macworld Expo in New York City.

Targeted at consumers and students, the iBook easily stood out from other notebooks of its era with its unique clamshell-like design, consisting of hard, translucent plastic casing topped with soft, colorful rubber. Initial colors included Blueberry and Tangerine, with later models available in Graphite, Indigo, and Key Lime.


The original iBook, priced from $1,599, was equipped with a 12.1-inch display with an 800×600 resolution, a full-sized keyboard, and a trackpad. It also featured a retractable handle along its hinge, with Apple calling it an "iMac to go," although it was decently heavy at 6.7 pounds -- even for its time.


Above all, the iBook was the first mass consumer product with support for wireless networking, with the 802.11b standard allowing for speeds up to 11 Mbps. Wireless support was not built in and required purchasing an optional $99 AirPort wireless card and a $299 AirPort base station.

Jobs demonstrated the iBook's wireless networking by walking across the stage with the notebook while loading a website, with the audience erupting in cheers. He then placed it through a hula hoop to prove there were no cables attached.


Memorably, a younger Phil Schiller even jumped from a height while holding the iBook as it wirelessly transferred accelerometer data. Referencing the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, Schiller quipped "this is definitely one small step for man, and one giant leap for wireless networking."


Other tech specs included a 300MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 3.2GB hard drive, 32MB of RAM, ATI Rage Mobility graphics, 10/100 Ethernet, a CD-ROM drive, and up to six hours of battery life. To keep costs down, it had no FireWire port, video out, or microphone, and only one speaker and one USB port.

Apple went on to introduce a redesigned iBook with a more traditional notebook design in May 2001, followed by the white polycarbonate MacBook in 2006, but the original will always be an important part of Apple's history.

Last year, YouTubers iJustine and MKBHD teamed up to unbox an original, sealed iBook:


For more nostalgia:
CNN news article about the iBook from July 21, 1999
CNN interview with Steve Jobs from July 21, 1999
iBook page on Apple.com circa October 1, 1999We invite any readers who still own an iBook to share a photo in the comments section.

Article Link: iBook Turns 20: Watch Steve Jobs Unveil the World's First Notebook With Wireless Internet
 

Bokito

macrumors regular
May 29, 2007
221
579
Netherlands
On my MacBook Pro I just select my phone in the WiFi list, and it connects via my iPhone’s LTE. I don’t even have to take my iPhone out of my pocket.

Yes, but your phone is out of battery in an hour if you do that. At least, that's the experience I have (had) with both my 5s and 7. Besides that a direct connection will be faster and more stable.

Why is it needed with the amount of free wifi that's out there

I rather keep my data private and never want to connect to unprotected networks. 4G is also way faster and more stable in many areas.
 
Comment

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
I remember streaming this announcement from a public library in Trondheim, Norway where I was on a family trip.

It was pretty exciting. The laptop not so much, but the wireless yes.

Those were the days of exciting product announcements. I was at a summer camp when the Cube came out and we weren't allowed to get outside news for the duration of the camp (it was foreign language immersion). So knowing the MacWorld Expo would be coming up I had a friend ready to print out all the web pages from whatever Mac news sites I followed at the time along with the official apple.com product pages. So I first learned about the Cube via contraband mail at summer camp. That was quite an announcement.
 
Comment

weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
5,210
2,655
Yes, but your phone is out of battery in an hour if you do that. At least, that's the experience I have (had) with both my 5s and 7. Besides that a direct connection will be faster and more stable.

Time you replaced your battery, then. I have a old, portable wireless 3G modem and the tiny battery on that is good for 4hrs at least. WWAN cards have fallen out of favour with PC notebooks too. You used to be able to specify one as an option with Lenovo back in the day but I don't think there's much demand for them these days for the reasons already specified.
 
Comment

Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
10,301
4,140
Why is it needed with the amount of free wifi that's out there
Only good for people living in big cities. And as others point out, free wifi is not safe. Also, I don't really think free wifi is “everywhere”, at least in Sydney.
Don’t you have another LTE-capable Apple device that acts as a modem for your laptop anyway?
Based on your logic, we should not need to have iPad with cellular in the first place. But, we have cellular iPads for a decade now. Why? Plus, using iPhone drains the battery faster, believe it or not.
 
Comment

Unregistered 4U

macrumors 68020
Jul 22, 2002
2,153
1,337
Would love to see a product grid for today's line up, but I think we might run out of shapes and dimensions.
And that’s just for the official grid, not counting the systems people WANT to exist. Like the “Mac Pro, but not as powerful because I really like the features, but I don’t have THAT much money”. Or the “Mac mini, but powerful enough to run 4 8k monitors”. Or the “MacBook Pro that’s super thick, with a 17 inch screen and ALL DA PORTS!”

Actually, as far as Mac goes, one thing sticks out, the Mac mini just doesn’t belong and shouldn’t exist.
5E0311F9-A06B-46A6-A2BF-BF92AC8F05B8.jpeg
 
Comment

nexusrule

macrumors 6502a
Aug 11, 2012
554
564
Ah Steve, the only person right now changing the world to the same degree is Elon Musk. So grateful for these incredible dreamers that push progress!

Sure, self-centered authoritarian egotists firmly convinced that the world revolves around them are definitely the dreamers that change the world. After all what else is in need to be changed to make the world better if not making cool tech devices. It’s not like there are wars, hunger, slavery, exploitation, children that die every minute from curable diseases just so that entitled western people can keep their life style and be able to afford their shiny widget.
 
Comment

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,270
And that’s just for the official grid, not counting the systems people WANT to exist. Like the “Mac Pro, but not as powerful because I really like the features, but I don’t have THAT much money”. Or the “Mac mini, but powerful enough to run 4 8k monitors”. Or the “MacBook Pro that’s super thick, with a 17 inch screen and ALL DA PORTS!”

Actually, as far as Mac goes, one thing sticks out, the Mac mini just doesn’t belong and shouldn’t exist.
View attachment 849248

I think it would be easier to split their current into three product categories rather than two.

All in one:

- iMac
- iMac Pro

Desktop:

- Mac Mini
- Mac Pro

Portable:

- MacBook Air
- MacBook Pro

When you look at it that way I don’t think it’s that confusing.
 
Comment

iPhysicist

macrumors 65816
Nov 9, 2009
1,335
977
Dresden
And that’s just for the official grid, not counting the systems people WANT to exist. Like the “Mac Pro, but not as powerful because I really like the features, but I don’t have THAT much money”. Or the “Mac mini, but powerful enough to run 4 8k monitors”. Or the “MacBook Pro that’s super thick, with a 17 inch screen and ALL DA PORTS!”

Actually, as far as Mac goes, one thing sticks out, the Mac mini just doesn’t belong and shouldn’t exist.
View attachment 849248

Mac mini should be far left maybe on the left ordinate, it is also portable and the very entry mac. The iMac pro should be between consumer and pro.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.