25 Years of Mac

Macintosh History

2001: OS X, Titanium PowerBook, Spotted iMacs, Faster Power Macs, White iBooks, and the iPod

Dan Knight - updated 2008.02.04 - Tip Jar

At Macworld Expo in January 2001, Steve Jobs unveiled the first Macs to pass the 500 MHz mark. The 'Digital Audio' Power Mac G4 moved to a 133 MHz system bus. CPU speeds of 466 and 533 MHz were immediately available; the 667 and 733 MHz models would be out in a month or so.

These Power Macs used new versions of the G4 processor: the 7410 low power CPU in the slower models and the high performance 7450 in the faster ones. They also had one more PCI slot than earlier AGP Power Macs (at the cost of one bank of memory - 1.5 GB was the maximum RAM in the Digital Audio models), and all but the slowest model shipped from the factory with Nvidia GeForce 2 MX graphics cards in the 4x AGP slot.

Jobs also announced the first DVD burning solution for under $5,000 - the G4/733 includes a SuperDrive that can read and write various CD and DVD formats, including DVD-R, which can be played back in many consumer DVD players. Apple's iDVD software, included with the SuperDrive, made creating DVDs a simple process.

PowerBook G4Speed is nice, but for a lot of Mac users the high point of the Expo was the new titanium PowerBook G4 (quickly nicknamed the TiBook). Just one inch thick, the 5.3 pound TiBook included a "mega-wide" 1152 x 768 pixel screen. The new PowerBook was available for order immediately and began shipping by the end of January. Available in 400 and 500 MHz speeds, the TiBook has room for up to 1 GB of RAM. Low End Mac was one of the first sites to receive and review the new PowerBook.

Jobs announced that Mac OS X would be available on March 24 - and would come installed on new Macs beginning in July.

In other software news, iTunes 1.0 was released.

Flower What?

Apple dropped the next bombshell in February, speed-bumping the iMac from 350-500 MHz in 50 MHz steps to a trio of models at 400, 500, and 600 MHz. The top two models included CD-RW drives and two new color schemes: Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian. Throughout the industry, the question was, "What is Apple thinking?"

February also saw the Power Mac G4 start shipping in 667 and 733 MHz configurations.

Mac OS X

After years and years of waiting for the "next generation" Mac operating system, Apple shipped Mac OS X on March 24. The introduction of OS X 10.1 on Sept. 25 marked a big improvement in performance and the reintroduction of some "classic" Mac feature. By the end of the year, OS X had been further updated to version 10.1.2.

New iBooks

iBookOn May 1, Steve Jobs unveiled the dual USB iBook (a.k.a. iceBook), which became available mid-May. The new iBook was nearly 2 pounds lighter, measurably smaller, and $200 less expensive than the older clamshell models - all while bumping speed to 500 MHz, putting 1024 x 768 pixels on a 12.1" screen, and giving the consumer four different optical drive options: CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, and a Combo (CD-RW/DVD-ROM) drive.

The new iBook came in one speed and one color. The only feature missing compared with the old model was the handle, but it gained a second (much needed!) USB port. At under five pounds, the missing handle didn't seem to matter much.

Apple Goes Retail

Apple opened the first two retail Apple Stores on May 15 and had 26 at the end of the year. Today there are over 200 in the US alone.

New Power Macs

Apple introduced a new look for the Power Mac G4 with the release of the 'Quicksilver' models on July 18. The new Power Macs reached a new level of power with an 867 MHz single CPU model and an 800 MHz dual G4 machine. The 867 MHz Quicksilver is the oldest Mac officially supported by Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard".

More New 'Books

On October 16, Apple bumped the iceBook to 600 MHz, although it left a 500 MHz CD-ROM model in the line as an entry-level machine. Apple replaced the 400 MHz and 500 MHz Titanium G4 with faster versions - one at 550 MHz (still on a 100 MHz bus) and the other running at an impressive 667 MHz (on a 133 MHz bus). These models received one more improvement in December when Apple made the DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo drive standard instead of DVD-ROM.

1G iPodEnter the iPod

Apple promoted a special October 23 unveiling as "Not Macintosh", and hardly anyone had a clue that Apple would introduce a device that would propel them to the top spot in a market where Apple had no experience whatsoever.

The first iPod stored 1,000 songs on a tiny 5 GB hard drive in a device that fit into your pocket, and Mac users didn't quite know what to make of it. It was most definitely not Macintosh, and it integrated perfectly with Apple's iTunes software. The original iPod used FireWire to connect and was only supported on Macs.

Over time the iPod took the industry by storm. Windows support would be a big part of that equation,but that's a story for another year.

Next - 2002: G4 iMacs, eMac, iPod for Windows, MDD Power Macs, and Mac OS X 10.2

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