PowerBook G4

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PowerBook G4 (aluminum)
PowerBook redjar.jpg
Aluminum PowerBook G4 (15.2")
Developer Apple Computer, Inc.
Type Laptop
Discontinued January 10, 2006
CPU PowerPC G4, 400 MHz–1.67 GHz
Predecessor PowerBook G3
Successor MacBook Pro

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.[1]

Titanium PowerBook G4[edit]

PowerBook G4 (Titanium)
15-inch-titanium-powerbook.jpg
Titanium PowerBook G4 (nicknamed TiBook)
Developer Apple Computer inc.
Type Laptop
Release date January 9, 2001
Discontinued September 16, 2003
CPU PowerPC G4, 400 MHz–1 GHz

The first generation of the PowerBook G4 was announced at Steve Jobs' MacWorld Expo keynote on January 9, 2001. The two models featured a PowerPC G4 processor running at either 400 or 500 MHz, housed in a titanium-clad case that was just 1 inch (25 mm) deep. This was 0.7 inches (18 mm) shallower than the G4's predecessor, the PowerBook G3. The G4 was among the first laptops to use a screen with a widescreen aspect ratio. It also featured a front-mounted slot-loading optical drive.[2] The notebook was given the unofficial nickname "TiBook", after the titanium case and the PowerBook brand name;[3] it was also sold alongside the cheaper iBook.

Industrial design[edit]

The initial design of the PowerBook G4s was developed by Apple hardware designers Jory Bell, Nick Merz, and Danny Delulis.[4] The ODM Quanta also helped in the design.[citation needed] 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.

Quality issues[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Display issues[edit]

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.

Models[edit]

Component PowerBook G4
Model Jan 7, 2001 (Mercury) [5][6] Oct 16, 2001 (Onyx) April 29, 2002 (Ivory) Nov 6, 2002 (Antimony)
Model identifier PowerBook3,2 PowerBook3,3 PowerBook3,4 PowerBook3,5
Display
(widescreen)
15.2 TFT matte LCD display, 1152×768 15.2 TFT matte LCD display, 1280×854
Processor 400 MHz or 500 MHz with 1 MB backside L2 cache 550 MHz or 667 MHz with 256 KB backside L2 cache 667 MHz or 800 MHz with 256 KB backside L2 cache and 1 MB backside L3 cache 867 MHz or 1 GHz with 256 KB backside L2 cache and 1 MB backside L3 cache
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
Graphics ATI Rage 128 with 8 MB of SDRAM ATI Radeon with 16 MB of SDRAM ATI Radeon 7500 with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM ATI Radeon 9000 with 32 MB or 64 MB of DDR SDRAM
AGP 2x AGP 4x
Hard drive 10 GB or 20 GB
Optional 30 GB
20 GB or 30 GB
Optional 48 GB
30 GB or 40 GB at 4200 rpm
Optional 60 GB at 5400-rpm
40 GB or 60 GB at 4200 rpm
Ultra ATA/66
Optical Drive
Slot-Loading
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
Connectivity Optional AirPort 802.11b
10/100 BASE-T Fast Ethernet
56k V.90 modem
Optional or Integrated Airport 802.11b
Gigabit Ethernet
56k V.90 modem
Optional or Integrated Airport 802.11b
Gigabit Ethernet
56k V.92 modem
Peripherals 2x USB 1.1
1x Firewire 400
PC Card I/II
Built-in stereo speakers
Audio output mini-jack
2x USB 1.1
1x Firewire 400
PC Card I/II
Built-in stereo speakers
Audio input mini-jack
Audio output mini-jack
Video out VGA DVI
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[edit]

PowerBook G4 (Aluminum)
PowerBook G4 17.jpg
Aluminum PowerBook G4 (17")
Developer Apple Computer
Type Laptop
Release date January 7, 2003
Discontinued February 28, 2006 (15")
April 24, 2006 (17")
May 16, 2006 (12")
CPU PowerPC G4, 867 MHz – 1.67 GHz

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.

Industrial design[edit]

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.

Quality issues[edit]

Some owners have experienced failure of the lower memory slot on some of the 15" models, with the typical repair being the replacement of the logic board. Apple had started a Repair Extension Program concerning the issue,[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.".[citation needed]

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.[10]

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.[11][12] 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.)[13] 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.

Models[edit]

Component PowerBook G4
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)
Model identifier PowerBook6,1 (12")
PowerBook5,1 (17")
PowerBook6,2 (12")
PowerBook5,2 (15")
PowerBook5,3 (17")
PowerBook6,4 (12")
PowerBook5,4 (15")
PowerBook5,5 (17")
PowerBook6,8 (12")
PowerBook5,6 (15")
PowerBook5,7 (17")
PowerBook6,8 (12")
PowerBook5,8 (15")
PowerBook5,9 (17")
Order 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
Display 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 with 256 KB of L2 backside cache (12")
1 GHz with 1 MB of L3 backside cache (17")
1 GHz (12" and 15")
1.25 GHz (15")
1.33 GHz with 512 KB of L2 backside cache (17")
1.33 GHz (12" and 15")
1.5 GHz with 512 KB of L2 backside cache (15" and 17")
1.5 GHz (12")
1.67 GHz (15" and 17") with 512 KB of L2 backside cache
Memory 256 MB (two 128 MB) of 266 MHz PC-2100 DDR SDRAM (12")
512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SDRAM (17")
256 MB (two 128 MB) of 266 MHz PC-2100 DDR SDRAM (12")
256 MB (two 128 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SDRAM (15")
512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SDRAM (17")
256 MB (two 128 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SDRAM (12")
512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SDRAM (15" and 17")
512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SDRAM 512 MB (two 256 MB) of 333 MHz PC-2700 DDR SDRAM (12")
512 MB of 533 MHz PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM (15" and 17")
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce4 Go 420 with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM (12")
NVIDIA GeForce4 Go 440 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM (17")
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM (12")
ATI Radeon 9600 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM (15" and 17")
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM (12")
ATI Radeon 9700 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM (15" and 17")
Optional ATI Radeon 9700 with 128 MB of DDR SDRAM
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM (12")
ATI Radeon 9700 with 64 MB or 128 MB of DDR SDRAM (15" and 17")
NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM (12")
ATI Radeon 9700 with 128 MB of DDR SDRAM (15" and 17")
AGP 4x
Hard drive 40 GB or 60 GB at 4200 rpm 40 GB at 4200 rpm or 60 GB or 80 GB at 5400 rpm 60 GB, 80 GB, or 100 GB at 5400 rpm 80 GB, 100 GB or 120 GB at 5400 rpm
Ultra ATA/100
Optical Drive
Slot Loading
CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive or DVD-RW SuperDrive (12")
DVD-RW SuperDrive (17")
CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive or DVD-RW SuperDrive (12" and 15")
DVD-RW SuperDrive (17")
DVD-RW SuperDrive (12")
DVD-RW DL SuperDrive (15" and 17")
Connectivity Optional or Integrated AirPort Extreme 802.11b/g
10/100 BASE-T Ethernet (12") or Gigabit Ethernet (15" and 17")
56k V.92 modem
Bluetooth 1.1
Integrated Airport Extreme 802.11b/g
10/100 BASE-T Ethernet (12") or Gigabit Ethernet (15" and 17")
56k V.92 modem
Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
Peripherals 2x USB 1.1
1x Firewire 400
1x Firewire 800 (17")
PC Card I/II (17")
Built-in stereo speakers
Audio input mini-jack
Audio output mini-jack
2x USB 2.0
1x Firewire 400
1x Firewire 800 (15" and 17")
PC Card I/II (15" and 17")
Built-in stereo speakers
Audio input mini-jack
Audio output mini-jack
2x USB 2.0
1x Firewire 400
1x Firewire 800 (15" and 17")
PC Card I/II (15" and 17")
Built-in stereo speakers
Audio input mini-jack (12" and 15") or Analog/optical digital audio input mini-jack (17")
Audio output mini-jack (12" and 15") or Analog/optical digital audio output mini-jack (17")
2x USB 2.0
1x Firewire 400
1x Firewire 800 (15" and 17")
PC Card I/II (15" and 17")
Built-in stereo speakers
Audio input mini-jack (12") or Analog/optical digital audio input mini-jack (15" and 17")
Audio output mini-jack (12") or Analog/optical digital audio output mini-jack (15" and 17")
Video out Mini-VGA (12") or DVI (17") Mini-DVI (12") or DVI (15" and 17")
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”

Discontinuation[edit]

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.[14] The stalling development of the G5 is also said to be another main reason for Apple's transition from PowerPC to Intel processors.[15]

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.[16] A 17" version of the MacBook Pro followed on April 24, 2006.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19][20]

Timeline of portable Macintoshes

Mac Pro Power Mac G5 Power Mac G4 Power Macintosh G3 Power Macintosh Compact Macintosh MacBook MacBook MacBook Air iBook G4 iBook G4 iBook (white) iBook (white) iBook PowerBook 2400 PowerBook Duo PowerBook Duo PowerBook Duo PowerBook Duo PowerBook Duo PowerBook Duo PowerBook Duo iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS iPhone 3G iPhone (original) iPad 2 iPad (original) iPod Touch iPod Touch iPod Touch iPod Touch Apple Newton MacBook Pro MacBook Pro MacBook Pro MacBook Pro MacBook Pro PowerBook G4 PowerBook G4 PowerBook G4 PowerBook G4 PowerBook G3 PowerBook 3400 PowerBook G3 PowerBook 1400 PowerBook 5300 PowerBook 190 PowerBook 500 PowerBook 500 PowerBook 500 PowerBook 150 PowerBook 180c PowerBook 165 PowerBook 145b PowerBook 180 PowerBook 165c PowerBook 160 PowerBook 145 PowerBook 170 PowerBook 140 PowerBook 100 Macintosh Portable

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Apple Previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard to Developers" (Press release). Apple Inc. June 9, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008. 
  2. ^ Jary, Simon (January 10, 2001). "MW Expo: Titanium G4 PowerBook stunner". Macworld UK. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "The Next Wide Thing". Business Week. May 2009. 
  5. ^ PowerBook G4 400 (Original - Ti) Specs (PowerBook G4, M7952LL/A, PowerBook3,2, M5884, 1854) @ EveryMac.com
  6. ^ PowerBook G4 500 (Original - Ti) Specs (PowerBook G4, M7710LL/A, PowerBook3,2, M5884, 1854) @ EveryMac.com
  7. ^ About the PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.67 / 1.5 GHz) Memory Slot Repair Extension Program
  8. ^ https://www.apple.com/support/powerbook/displayprogram/
  9. ^ narcoleptic powerbook cured | knit1, spin1
  10. ^ java: PowerBook narcolepsy issue hack
  11. ^ AppleInsider | Apple retail preps for iPhone, 17-inch PBG4 defect, EU deadline
  12. ^ 17-inch PowerBooks starting to see new vertical-line screen defects? - Engadget
  13. ^ "CPSC, Apple Announce Recall of iBook and PowerBook Computer Batteries". CPSC. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  14. ^ WWDC 2005 Steve Jobs Keynote on YouTube
  15. ^ http://www.macworld.com/article/46961/2005/09/intelvsamd.html
  16. ^ "Apple Introduces MacBook Pro". Apple. January 10, 2006. Retrieved April 11, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Apple Introduces 17-inch MacBook Pro". Apple. April 24, 2006. Retrieved April 11, 2010. 
  18. ^ Cantrell, Amanda (May 16, 2006). "Apple launches Intel-based MacBook". CNN. Retrieved September 20, 2012. 
  19. ^ Cohen, Peter (January 15, 2008). "Apple introduces MacBook Air". Macworld. Retrieved January 21, 2008. 
  20. ^ Ackerman, Dan (June 8, 2009). "New Apple MacBooks demystified". CNET. Retrieved April 11, 2010. 
General

External links[edit]

Preceded by
PowerBook G3 (14 inch)
PowerBook 2400c (12 inch)
PowerBook G4
January 7, 2001
Succeeded by
MacBook Pro