The Rumor Mill

Apple, Nintendo Collaborate on MacBoy

- 2000.02.10

2/10/2K: First there was the iMac-colored GameBoy. Now, if our usually unreliable sources are on the mark, Apple is working with Nintendo to produce MacBoy, a handheld game machine that will play GameBoy and GameBoy Color games - and run some Mac games as well.

The compact MacBoy will sport a 640 x 480 pixel backlit TFT display capable of up to 24-bit video. Using the latest LCD technology from IBM for 123 pixels per inch, the MacBoy screen will measure 5.2 inches wide by 3.9" tall - or vice versa, if the machine is switched to portrait mode.

Powered by a 300 MHz and containing a Nintendo ASIC that fully emulates GameBoy Color, the new device will have a cartridge slot for GameBoy games. MacBoy also has exactly the same controls as the GameBoy, so users won't have to relearn a thing - except for getting used to the larger screen.

The MacBoy is actually two parts - the screen rotates 90° while the control buttons remain at the bottom. It's a very impressive, robust, and simply clever design.

The computer itself will contain 64 MB of memory, a 3.2 GB 2.5" hard drive, and Apples NewWorld ROMs. It will be a full Power Mac, albeit a small one. And in addition to the GameBoy controls, there will also be a stylus for onscreen manipulation, IR connectivity, and a pair of USB ports for addition of a keyboard, mouse, CD-ROM, printer, or other USB device.

But it doesn't stop there.

MacBoy Meets Palm OS

Although Apple has been rebuffed in its attempts to purchase Palm and Handspring, 3Com's Palm division has been more than happy to license the Palm OS to Apple. So it's also appearing on the MacBoy!

The 300 MHz MacBoy will have no trouble emulating the Palm, right down to IR beaming of files between it and other Palm OS hardware. Best of all, Apple and Palm have teamed up to provide several new screen formats with full color support: 320x240, 240x320, 640 x 480, and 480x640.

However, users should keep in mind that the 123 pixel per inch resolution of the MacBoy could make use of small text very difficult. Maybe there will be an after-market for magnifiers, just as there is for the GameBoy.

Finally, the whole thing will run on four AAA batteries for up to ten hours (using hard drive sleep).

Windows CE, your days are numbered. Apple has the perfect product for the gamer, the business executive, and the hardware geek who just wants something really cool he can pull out of his (large) pocket.

Sources expect the MacBoy to ship on 1 April 2000 at a price in the $250-300 range.

- Anne Onymus

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