Aluminum PowerBook G4 (15.2")
|Developer||Apple Computer, Inc.|
|Discontinued||January 10, 2006|
|CPU||PowerPC G4, 400 MHz–1.67 GHz|
The PowerBook G4 is a series of notebook computers that were manufactured, marketed, and sold by Apple, Inc. (then Apple Computer, Inc) between 2001 and 2006 as part of its PowerBook line. It uses the PowerPC G4 processor, initially produced by Motorola and later by Freescale, after Motorola spun off its semiconductor business under that name in 2004. The PowerBook G4 had two different designs: one enclosed in a titanium body with a translucent black keyboard and a 15-inch screen; and another in an aluminum body with an aluminum-colored keyboard, in 12-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch sizes.
Between 2001 and 2003, Apple produced the titanium PowerBook G4; between 2003 and 2006, the aluminum models were produced. Both models were hailed for their modern design, long battery life, and processing power. When the aluminum PowerBook G4s were first released in January 2003, however, only 12-inch and 17-inch models were available. The 15-inch retained the titanium body until September 2003, when a new aluminum 15-inch PowerBook was released. In addition to the change from titanium to aluminum, the new 15-inch model featured a FireWire 800 port, which had been included with the 17-inch model since its debut nine months earlier.
The PowerBook G4 line was the last generation of the PowerBook series, and was succeeded by the Intel-powered MacBook Pro line in the first half of 2006. The latest version of OS X any PowerBook G4 can run is Mac OS X Leopard, released in 2007.
Titanium PowerBook G4
Titanium PowerBook G4 (nicknamed TiBook)
|Developer||Apple Computer inc.|
|Release date||January 9, 2001|
|Discontinued||September 16, 2003|
|CPU||PowerPC G4, 400MHz–1GHz|
The first generations of the PowerBook G4 were announced at Steve Jobs' keynote at MacWorld Expo in January 2001. They featured a PowerPC G4 processor running at either 400 or 500 MHz. They were just 1 inch (25 mm) deep, 0.7 inches (18 mm) shallower than their predecessor, the PowerBook G3. They were among the first laptops to use a widescreen aspect ratio.The PowerBook G4 Titanium also featured a front-mounted slot-loading optical drive. The notebook was given the nickname "TiBook", a blend of the words titanium, the material used for the computer's case, and the brand name PowerBook, the name of the computer.
The initial design of the PowerBook G4s was developed by Apple hardware designers Jory Bell, Nick Merz, and Danny Delulis. The ODM Quanta also helped in the design. The new machine was a sharp departure from the black plastic, curvilinear PowerBook G3 models that preceded it. The orientation of the Apple logo on the computer's lid was switched so it would 'read' correctly to onlookers when the computer was in use. PowerBook G3 and prior models presented it right side up to the computer's owner when the lid was closed. Apple's industrial design team, headed by British designer Jonathan Ive, converged around a minimalist aesthetic—the Titanium G4's design language laid the groundwork for the Aluminum PowerBook G4, the MacBook Pro, the Power Mac G5, the flat-screen iMac, the Xserve, and the Mac mini.
The hinges on the Titanium PowerBook display are notorious for breaking under typical use. Usually the hinge (which is shaped like an L) will break just to the left of where it attaches to the lower case on the right hinge, and just to the right on the left hinge (where the right hinge is on the right side of the computer when the optical drive is facing you). When the 667 MHz and 800 MHz "DVI" Powerbooks were introduced, Apple changed the hinge design slightly to strengthen it. At least one manufacturer began producing sturdier replacement hinges to address this problem, though actually performing the repair is difficult as the display bezel is glued together. In addition some discolouration, bubbling or peeling of paint on the outer bezel occurred, notably around the area where the palm would rest while using the trackpad. This appeared on early models but not on later Titanium PowerBooks.
The video cable is routed around the left side hinge. With heavy use this will cause the cable to weaken. Many owners have reported, via the internet, display problems such as random lines or a jumbled screen; although few have replaced just the video cable to successfully resolve this problem. There is also a backlight cable that might fail, and tinkerers will generally try replacing either or both cables before buying expensive LCDs.
|Model||Jan 7, 2001 (Mercury) ||Oct 16, 2001 (Onyx)||April 29, 2002 (Ivory)||Nov 6, 2002 (Antimony)|
|15.2″ TFT matte LCD display, 1152×768||15.2″ TFT matte LCD display, 1280×854|
|Processor||400 MHz or 500 MHz PowerPC G4 with 1 MB backside L2 cache||550 MHz or 667 MHz PowerPC G4 with 256 KB backside L2 cache||667 MHz or 800 MHz PowerPC G4 with 256 KB backside L2 cache and 1 MB backside L3 cache||867 MHz or 1 GHz PowerPC G4 with 256 KB backside L2 cache and 1 MB backside L3 cache|
|Graphics||ATI Rage 128 with 8 MB of SDRAM, AGP 2×||ATI Radeon with 16 MB of SDRAM, AGP 4×||ATI Radeon 7500 with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM||ATI Radeon 9000 with 32 MB or 64 MB of DDR SDRAM|
|Hard drive1||10 GB or 20 GB Ultra ATA/66
Optional 30 GB
|20 GB or 30 GB Ultra ATA/66
Optional 48 GB
|30 GB or 40 GB Ultra ATA/66 at 4200 rpm
Optional 60 GB at 5400-rpm
|40 GB or 60 GB Ultra ATA/66 at 4200 rpm|
|Memory||128 MB (two 64 MB) or 256 MB (two 128 MB) of PC100 SDRAM||128 MB (two 64 MB) or 256 MB (two 128 MB) of PC133 SDRAM||256 MB (two 128 MB) or 512 MB (two 256 MB) of PC133 SDRAM|
|AirPort||Optional||Optional or Integrated 802.11b|
|Internal Slot-Loading Drive3||2x DVD-ROM||2x DVD-ROM
Optional 24x CD-ROM read, 8x CD-R write, 8x CD-RW write
|8x DVD read, 8x CD-R write, 24x CD-R read||8x DVD read, 8x CD-R write, 24x CD-R read or 1x DVD-R write, 6x DVD read, 8x CD-R write, 24x CD read|
|Connections||2 x USB 1.1|
|1 x FireWire 400|
|1/8" audio output||1/8" audio output/input|
|10/100 Fast Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Battery||50-watt-hour removable lithium-ion||55.3-watt-hour removable lithium-ion||61-watt-hour removable lithium-ion|
|Maximum Operating System||Mac OS X 10.4.11 “Tiger” and Mac OS 9.2.2||Mac OS X 10.5.8 “Leopard”|
Aluminum PowerBook G4
Aluminum PowerBook G4 (17")
|Release date||January 7, 2003|
|Discontinued||February 28, 2006 (15")
April 24, 2006 (17")
May 16, 2006 (12")
|CPU||PowerPC G4, 867MHz–1.67GHz|
In 2003 Apple introduced a new line of PowerBook G4s with 12, 15, and 17-inch screens and aluminum cases (prompting the new moniker "AlBook"). The new notebooks not only brought a different design to the PowerBook G4 line but also laid down the foundation for Apple’s notebook design for the next five years, replaced initially in January 2008 by the MacBook Air and the subsequent MacBook and MacBook Pro redesigns in October. The 15" titanium model was still available until September 16, 2003, when the Aluminum model replaced it. Notably, the 12" model brought a welcome return to the Apple subnotebook configuration, conspicuously lacking in their product line since the discontinuation of the PowerBook 2400 in 1998. While the titanium PowerBook G4s were capable of running Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X operating systems, the aluminum PowerBook G4s could only boot in Mac OS X from startup. Both series of machines could run Mac OS 9 in Classic mode from within Mac OS X.
The aluminum PowerBook G4 was designed by Apple's Vice President of Industrial Design, Jonathan Ive, and used a radically different design from the preceding titanium models. The most obvious change was the use of aluminum, not titanium, to manufacture the body. The keyboard, which was originally black, was changed to match the color of the body. Additionally, the aluminum keyboard was backlit on the 17" model and on one of the 15" models. The design was considered superior to most other notebooks when it debuted in 2003, and consequently, it made the PowerBook G4 one of the most desirable notebooks on the market. The external design of Apple's professional laptops continued to remain similar to the aluminum Powerbook G4 until the Spotlight on Notebooks event on October 14, 2008.
Some owners have experienced failure of the lower memory slot, with the typical repair being the replacement of the logic board. Apple had started a Repair Extension Program concerning the issue, but it has been noted that some models displaying the issue have not been included. This leaves certain PowerBook G4 owners with only a maximum of 1 GB of RAM to use instead of a full 2 GB.
Apple previously had a Repair Extension Program to fix the "white spot" issue on its 15" PowerBook displays.
There has also been a rash of reports concerning sudden and pervasive sleeping of 1.5 and 1.67 GHz models known as Narcoleptic Aluminum Powerbook Syndrome. Symptoms include the PowerBook suddenly entering sleep mode, no matter what the battery level is or if it is plugged in. One cause is the ambient light sensing, and associated instruction set coding, with possible keyboard backlight and sleep light issues accompanying the so-called "narcolepsy". Another cause is the trackpad heat sensor monitoring the trackpad; system logs report "Power Management received emergency overtemp signal. Going to sleep.".
To correct this, service groups will often replace the logic board or power converter, but the actual fix (depending on the model) for the first cause is to replace or remove the left or right ambient light sensors; and for the second cause, disconnect, remove, or replace the heat sensor, or the entire top case which holds the trackpad heat sensor. Alternatively, there are reports which detail success in removing certain sensor kernel extensions or rebuilding the kernel using the Darwin Open Source project after commenting out the relevant
sleepSystem() call; though permanent solution of the sleep issue in this manner is little documented.
The 1.67 GHz model may suffer from manufacturing or design defects in its display. Initial reports pointed to this only being a problem with type M9689 17" PowerBooks introduced in Q2 2005, but then this problem was also seen in displays replaced by Apple Service Providers in this period (e.g. because of the bright spots issue). The devices were the last 17" models shipped with the matte 1440×900 pixel low resolution display. After many months of usage, the displays may show permanently shining lines of various colors stretching vertically across the LCD. Often this will start with 1-pixel wide vertical lines being "stuck" in an "always-on" mode. Various sites have been set up documenting this issue. and a campaign seeks to get Apple to acknowledge that a defect exists. Posts regarding this in Apple forums have been heavily censored. There has been no official word from Apple on the issue.
On May 20, 2005, Apple recalled 12 inch iBook G4, and 12 and 15 inch PowerBook G4 batteries (model number A1061, first 5 characters HQ441 – HQ507 for the iBook, model # A1079, serial # 3X446 – 3X510 for 12" PowerBook, model # A1078, serial # 3X446 – 3X509.) They were recalled due to short-circuiting which caused overheating and explosion. The batteries were made by LG Chemical, in Taiwan and China. Apple has removed the recall from its website, but it is possible to get a new one by calling them.
|Model||Jan 7, 2003 (Rev A)||Sep 16, 2003 (Rev B)||April 19, 2004 (Rev C)||Jan 31, 2005 (Rev D)||Oct 19, 2005 (Rev E)|
|Order #s||M8760LL/A, M8793LL/A||M9007LL/A, M9008LL/A, M8980LL/A, M8981LL/A, M9110LL/A||M9183LL/A, M9184LL/A, M9421LL/A, M9422LL/A, M9462LL/A||M9690LL/A, M9691LL/A, M9676LL/A, M9677LL/A, M9689LL/A||M9691LL/A, M9969LL/A, M9970LL/A|
(15″ and 17″ widescreen)
|12.1″, TFT LCD display, 1024×768|
|N/A||15.2″, TFT LCD display, 1280×854||15.2″, TFT LCD display, 1440×960|
|17″, TFT LCD display, 1440×900||17″, TFT LCD display, 1680×1050|
|Processor||867 MHz PowerPC G4 with 256KB of L2 backside cache or 1 GHz PowerPC G4 with 1 MB of L3 backside cache
867 MHz PowerPC G4 only on 12″ model
|1 GHz, 1.25 GHz, or 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4 with 512 KB of L2 backside cache||1.33 GHz or 1.5 GHz PowerPC G4 with 512 KB of L2 backside cache||1.5 GHz or 1.67 GHz PowerPC G4 with 512 KB of L2 backside cache
1.67 GHz PowerPC G4 only on 15″ and 17″ models
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce4 Go 420 with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM or NVIDIA GeForce4 Go 440 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM||NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM or ATI Radeon 9600 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM||NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM or ATI Radeon 9700 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM
Optional ATI Radeon 9700 with 128 MB of DDR SDRAM
|NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM or ATI Radeon 9700 with 64 MB or 128 MB of DDR SDRAM||NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM or ATI Radeon 9700 with 128 MB of DDR SDRAM|
|Hard drive1||40 GB or 60 GB Ultra ATA/100 at 4200 rpm||40 GB Ultra ATA/100 at 4200 rpm or 60 GB or 80 GB Ultra ATA/100 at 5400 rpm||60 GB, 80 GB, or 100 GB Ultra ATA/100 at 5400 rpm||80 GB, 100 GB or 120 GB Ultra ATA/100 at 5400 rpm|
|Memory||256 MB (two 128 MB) of 266 MHz PC-2100 DDR SO-DIMM SDRAM or 512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SO-DIMM SDRAM||256 MB (two 128 MB) of 266 MHz PC-2100 DDR SO-DIMM SDRAM or 256 MB (two 128 MB) or 512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 SO-DIMM DDR SDRAM||256 MB (two 128 MB) or 512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SO-DIMM SDRAM||512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SO-DIMM SDRAM||512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR or 533 MHz PC2-4200 DDR2 SO-DIMM SDRAM (two SO-DIMM slots support up to 2GB)|
|AirPort Extreme||Optional or Integrated 802.11b/g||Integrated 802.11b/g|
|Internal Slot-Loading Combo drive[c]||8× DVD read, 24× CD-R, and 10× CD-RW recording
(12″ model only)
|8× DVD read, 24× CD-R, and 10× CD-RW recording
(12″ and 15″ models only)
|Internal Slot-Loading SuperDrive3||2× DVD-R write, 6× DVD read, 8× CD-R write, 4× CD-RW write||2× DVD-R write, 8× DVD read, 16× CD-R write, 4× CD-RW write||4× DVD-R write, 8× DVD read, 16× CD-R write, 4× CD-RW write||8× DVD±R (Dual Layer) write, 4× DVD±RW write, 6× DVD± read, 24× CD-R write, 10× CD-RW write|
|Connections||2 USB 1.1||2 USB 2.0|
|Mini-VGA or DVI||Mini-DVI or DVI|
|1 FireWire 400 (plus 1 FireWire 800 on 15″ and 17″)|
|Bluetooth 1.1||Bluetooth 2.0|
|Battery||47-watt-hour removable lithium-ion (12")
55-watt-hour removable lithium-ion (17")
|47-watt-hour removable lithium-ion (12")
46-watt-hour removable lithium-ion (15")
58-watt-hour removable lithium-ion (17")
|50-watt-hour removable lithium-ion (12" and 15")
58-watt-hour removable lithium-ion (17")
|Maximum Operating System||Mac OS X 10.5.8 “Leopard”|
One major factor that led to the discontinuation of the PowerBook G4 was Apple's inside experimentation of the PowerPC G5 for the company's next line professional-grade notebooks at that time. The G5 powered (and powers) Apple's now-discontinued Power Mac G5 and iMac G5 computers. However, the G5 proved to be too power-hungry and heat-intensive to use in a notebook form factor. The stalling development of the G5 is also said to be another main reason for Apple's transition from PowerPC to Intel processors.
After awaiting a new professional-grade notebook to replace the G4, on January 10, 2006, Apple released the 15" MacBook Pro, its first Intel-based notebook. A 17" version of the MacBook Pro followed on April 24, 2006. The new "MacBook Pro" name was given to the new series of notebooks after Apple changed the portable naming schemes from 'Power' for professional consumers (and 'i' for consumers), in favor of including "Mac" in the title of all computer lines, with the suffix "Pro" denoting a pro product. Finally, on May 16, 2006, the 12" PowerBook G4 and the G4 iBook were discontinued and replaced by the 13.3" MacBook, ending the whole PowerBook line.
However, a replacement for the 12" subnotebook form factor (i.e. the 12" PowerBook G4) was not immediately forthcoming; the MacBook Air, released in 2008, served as an indirect replacement while the 13" MacBook Pro released in 2009 is the direct replacement for the 12" PowerBook G4.
Timeline of portable Macintoshes
- "Apple Previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard to Developers" (Press release). Apple Inc. June 9, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
- Jary, Simon (January 10, 2001). "MW Expo: Titanium G4 PowerBook stunner". Macworld UK. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- Schlender, Brent (May 14, 2001). "Steve Jobs The Graying Prince Of a Shrinking Kingdom Older and smarter, the CEO whipped his company back into the black. Is Apple on the verge of big things, or is it becoming perfectly irrelevant?". CNN. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- "The Next Wide Thing". Business Week. May 2009.
- PowerBook G4 400 (Original - Ti) Specs (PowerBook G4, M7952LL/A, PowerBook3,2, M5884, 1854) @ EveryMac.com
- PowerBook G4 500 (Original - Ti) Specs (PowerBook G4, M7710LL/A, PowerBook3,2, M5884, 1854) @ EveryMac.com
- About the PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.67/1.5GHz) Memory Slot Repair Extension Program
- narcoleptic powerbook cured | knit1, spin1
- What can be done about a "narcoleptic" Powerbook G4? | Answerbag
- java: PowerBook narcolepsy issue hack
- AppleInsider | Apple retail preps for iPhone, 17-inch PBG4 defect, EU deadline
- 17-inch PowerBooks starting to see new vertical-line screen defects? - Engadget
- "CPSC, Apple Announce Recall of iBook and PowerBook Computer Batteries". CPSC. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- WWDC 2005 Steve Jobs Keynote
- "Apple Introduces MacBook Pro". Apple. January 10, 2006. Retrieved April 11, 2010.
- "Apple Introduces 17-inch MacBook Pro". Apple. April 24, 2006. Retrieved April 11, 2010.
- Cantrell, Amanda (May 16, 2006). "Apple launches Intel-based MacBook". CNN. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- Cohen, Peter (January 15, 2008). "Apple introduces MacBook Air". Macworld. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Ackerman, Dan (June 8, 2009). "New Apple MacBooks demystified". CNET. Retrieved April 11, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to PowerBook G4.|
- Apple - Support - PowerBook G4
- Video of Jobs launching PowerBook G4 Titanium at Macworld 2001
- Video of Jobs launching PowerBook G4 Aluminum at Macworld 2003
- PowerBook G4, EveryMac.com
- 15" Alu Powerbook G4 Narcolepsy Ambient light sensor-sleep issue repair
- Alu G4 Disassembly
PowerBook G3 (14 inch)
PowerBook 2400c (12 inch)
January 7, 2001