Tangerine Fusion

Guide To P1 Features

- 1999.02.24

Apple's upcoming consumer portable, code-named P1, fills the missing "fourth box" of Apple's systems portfolio. The P1 is still about 3 months from its expected introduction, but it has been generating a lot of buzz since early December. Although no details have been confirmed, many Mac experts and people familiar with Mac technological progress have predicted what the P1 will be like. This guide is designed to help you know what to expect.

These illustrations show what the P1 may look like.

Expected Features of the P1

  • Processor: Daughtercard 300 MHz PowerPC G3, probably 66 MHz or 75 MHz system bus, 512 KB backside cache*
  • RAM: 32 MB expandable to 320 MB (probably higher maximum when higher density SDRAM become available)
  • Hard Disk: 2-6GB
  • Media Bay: 20x CD-ROM, likely a 4x DVD option if software MPEG-2 decoding is introduced with QuickTime 4
  • Ports: 1-2 USB, 56k modem may use PCMCIA technology to make the modem card smaller, 10/100 Ethernet, wireless modem probably an option (if available at all)
  • Screen: About 11.5 inches, may be active or passive matrix, 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768 with 24 bit color, uses ATI Portable Rage Pro (64 bit) or 128 (128 bit)** with 4 MB of VRAM
  • OS: Full OS 8.6
  • Battery: Lithium-Ion with built-in Bay-Gen Freeplay wind-up generator/charger to extend the charge of the battery***
  • ROM: New World Open Firmware Net-Bootable (ROM in RAM)
  • Case: Translucent and rugged with appearance resembling PowerBook G3 series, eMate, and iMac
  • Dimensions/Weight: Almost 1" narrower, 3/4" shorter and about 1/3 thinner than the PowerBook 2400, weighs less than 4 pounds with AC adapter, CD-ROM and battery
  • Price: $,1200-1,500

* A stripped down version of the P1 would probably lack a cache.

** Both are pin-compatible, so if it comes with the Rage Pro, an upgrade to the 128 would be easy and inexpensive.

*** This uses a clock spring mechanism that unwinds to power a generator/charger connected to the battery. Bay-Gen also makes wind up radios and flashlights.

Rumored features not expected to be included

  • Touch screen with stylus and screen that folds all the way over to make an electronic tablet. Judged too expensive, especially with the (relatively) large screen size.
  • IrDA port. Omitted from Revision C iMac and new G3 (Yosemite), and probably won't show up on the 101 (Lombard). Therefore, the P1 would have few other computers to connect to. May have been a cost-cutting measure (as it may have been on those other Macs).
  • Built-in FireWire. Will probably be optional on a CardBus card. Because most users won't need FireWire (at least at release time).
  • "Lite" OS 8.6. Reason unsure, might have been: because previous "lite OS" computers (i.e. Newton, eMate) sold poorly, to reduce costs, or because of compatibility problems with OS X.

Some information from MacOS Rumors, O'Grady's PowerPage, and The PowerBook Zone.

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