Vintage Prototype Macintosh Portable M5120 Shown Off in New Photos

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Apr 12, 2001
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It's always interesting to get a look back at Apple's past, especially when it comes to prototype devices that were never actually released to the public, so we thought we'd share some photos of a restored Macintosh Portable M5120, sent to us by Sonny Dickson.


Unlike the launch version of the Macintosh Portable, which was sold in the late 1980s in a beige color, this model is a prototype made from a clear plastic material. It's been restored and it is one of only six that are known to exist.


When it was released, the Macintosh Portable was priced at $7,300 and it was the first Mac powered by a battery. Despite the name, the Macintosh Portable weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds, but it was still more transportable than standard computers of the era.


There are no screws in the Macintosh Portable and it was designed to be taken apart with just the hands, a feat not possible with current laptop computers. It featured a 9.8-inch black and white active matrix LCD display, 9MB SRAM, a 1.44MB floppy disk drive, a typewriter-style keyboard, and a trackball setup that allowed the trackball to be positioned at either the left or the right.


A hinged design let the display be closed up over the keyboard when not in use, reminiscent of more modern laptop designs, and there's a built-in handle. The battery inside was a lead-acid battery, which, when the machines were launched, was able to last for approximately 8 to 10 hours.


Apple sold the Macintosh Portable alongside the Apple IIci, and it never really caught on due to its high price tag. After launching it in 1989, Apple made one followup version, the Macintosh Portable M5126, but it was discontinued just six months later, with Apple nixing the Portable line entirely in 1991.


After the Macintosh Portable was discontinued, Apple moved on to the PowerBook, which came out later that year.

Article Link: Vintage Prototype Macintosh Portable M5120 Shown Off in New Photos
 

carrrrrlos

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2010
578
716
PNW
This is so epic! Love how there’s - what looks like - a 9Volt battery plugged in and running it.
 

guzhogi

macrumors 68030
Aug 31, 2003
2,936
796
Wherever my feet take me…
An iPhone weighs about a 1/40 of this and is *100.000 times as fast, how times have changed....:)


*If not more
My first computer was a Mac LC with 4 MB of RAM, 40 MB hard drive, and a Motorola 68020 CPU. Today, I can get a MicroSD card that can hold 10,000x as much information, easy 100x faster, but less than 1/100 the space of the hard drive.
 

jdiamond

macrumors 6502a
Dec 17, 2008
503
325
Funny how things come around again! This is about the same weight as my old 17" MacBook Pro. And my current laptop only has 6MB of SRAM. And now MacBook Pros again cost $7,300! But, yeah, nothing can touch that old battery life.
 

jdiamond

macrumors 6502a
Dec 17, 2008
503
325
I was going to look at all the ports, but I was wrong - it seemed to have less ports than I thought. :(
Looks like it has: A DB-19 port for an external floppy drive, and HDI-15 port for an external monitor (NICE!), and ADB port (serial bus), a DB-25 SCSI (had a lot of those in the old days), a security lock, and a power adapter port. That seems like it, although you could daisy chain the SCSI and the ADB ports to attach a lot more to it.
 
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konqerror

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2013
802
1,470
16 pounds! but at least got all those ports unlike the modern generations! Those were the times!!
Not at all. All of those ports were device specific and, except for SCSI and ADB, you only got exactly one device per port. No equivalent to a USB hub.

Let's look at the ports. Most of them were Apple proprietary or at least Mac-specific: analog video, power, ADB, 2 Serial, Floppy. Only analog audio and SCSI was non-proprietary (and even then SCSI was rare in the PC world).

Except for video and power, most are handled by USB today, and all of them are replaced by USB-C. What is handled by one typical USB-C dock connection today, would be 5 separate cables (ADB, printer, modem, power, video)
 
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swester

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2010
178
467
Pretty awesome with that translucent case. But i'm pretty skeptical about that claim of running 8-10 hours off battery.
 
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justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
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Home is everywhere and nowhere.
I just have one question, how in the world has that case not yellowed in the last 30 years?
Maybe because it has been restored...

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Unlike the launch version of the Macintosh Portable, which was sold in the late 1980s in a beige color, this model is a prototype made from a clear plastic material. It's been restored and it is one of only six that are known to exist.