The Project “Gemini” clamshell iBook

B S Magnet

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 5, 2018
336
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don’t read my status message
This opened iBook clamshell has turned up today [note to mods: this is not my auction], and it got me to look into at what project Gemini was.

Then I found a short video clip [content note: music] demonstrating the Assistive Touch Technologies Gemini (basically, a clamshell iBook iPad), and it all came back to me.

Years and years ago, I remember reading an article about this aftermarket option and thinking it was a brilliant re-visioning of something which could make outstanding use of the outer shell and handle without it needing to be a traditional laptop. As a dedicated tablet, it pre-dated most of the 2000s Toshiba tablets, many of the Thinkpads with touch screens, and obviously everything Apple did, post-Newton.

In this item, it appears that what Assistive Touch Technologies did was re-route and dedicate the sole USB bus port to function as the touch-capacitive input on a purpose-built LCD with that layer (likely the rearmost layer of the LCD sandwich, as with the Boe-Hydis and Toshiba-Matsushita LCDs). Also, it does appear how not only is the external USB port sealed off, but also the audio-in/composite video port, as I'm guessing inserting something into there may have thrown off the very particular configuration which ATT prepared for their product.

I'm pasting the pics here for posterity, as the only other mention I can find on here of a Gemini was from 2008, also of an auction (for a key lime Gemini, no less!), and there are no pics preserved from that instance. What makes this one worth saving is it offers a rare chance to see how the inner workings were arranged.



[This is also instructive for me personally, as I work out the plans on how to re-route the USB to an internal USB 2.0 hub (and then have one of the hub's ports routed back out to the external port, leaving it still-functional while the internal ports can be put to use for nano-sized Bluetooth and 802.11n (WPA2) adapters (as well as an audio-in port).]

Also, it was hard to ignore this listing without the seller throwing shade at a… certain polka-dot schemer in the form of:

upload_2019-3-5_18-47-0.png


They're mostly correct, although there are Rev. C clamshells both with and without that mark.
 
Last edited:

ScreenSavers

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2016
752
495
Bloomingdale, GA
Also, it was hard to ignore this listing without the seller throwing shade at a… certain polka-dot schemer in the form of:

View attachment 824908

They're mostly correct, although there are Rev. C clamshells both with and without that mark.
I actually wrote to him and told him thanks for writing that. I’m so tired of the eBay ads that say “RARE PVT!” Like Apple would sell prototypes...

I’d love to get my hands on one of those Gemini iBooks though.
 

AshleyPomeroy

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2018
11
17
England
As a dedicated tablet, it pre-dated most of the 2000s Toshiba tablets, many of the Thinkpads with touch screens, and obviously everything Apple did, post-Newton.
The very first ThinkPad, released back in 1993, was a tablet. The first convertible laptop-tablet ThinkPad was released back in 1994:
https://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:360P

From what I remember there was a burst of tablet laptops around the time of the Newton circa 1993 or so, either running PenPoint or a version of Windows 3.1 (e.g. the Compaq Concerto), then a second burst in 2002-2003 running Windows XP Tablet Edition (e.g. the HP TC1000), then a third burst in 2007-2008, running XP again. I've always wanted an X61T but not enough to actually pay for one.

I have no idea if they still make convertible laptop tablets. On each occasion they attracted a certain amount of press and then died off because they were a bad idea that didn't work very well. The TC1000 was clever, one of the few that could actually be split into two halves and carried around as a tablet, but on the whole they were bum slops. I used to have a HP TC4400 and it was essentially the worst of both worlds, either a bulky tablet with hot air vents or a laptop with a wobbly screen.
 
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