It’s always interesting to get a look back at Apple’s past, especially when it comes to prototype devices that were never actually released to the public, so we thought we’d share some photos of a restored Macintosh Portable M5120, sent to us by Sonny Dickson.
Unlike the launch version of the Macintosh Portable, which was sold in the late 1980s in a beige color, this model is a prototype made from a clear plastic material. It’s been restored and it is one of only six that are known to exist.
When it was released, the Macintosh Portable was priced at $7,300 and it was the first Mac powered by a battery. Despite the name, the Macintosh Portable weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds, but it was still more transportable than standard computers of the era.
There are no screws in the Macintosh Portable and it was designed to be taken apart with just the hands, a feat not possible with current laptop computers. It featured a 9.8-inch black and white active matrix LCD display, 9MB SRAM, a 1.44MB floppy disk drive, a typewriter-style keyboard, and a trackball setup that allowed the trackball to be positioned at either the left or the right.
A hinged design let the display be closed up over the keyboard when not in use, reminiscent of more modern laptop designs, and there’s a built-in handle. The battery inside was a lead-acid battery, which, when the machines were launched, was able to last for approximately 8 to 10 hours.
Apple sold the Macintosh Portable alongside the Apple IIci, and it never really caught on due to its high price tag. After launching it in 1989, Apple made one followup version, the Macintosh Portable M5126, but it was discontinued just six months later, with Apple nixing the Portable line entirely in 1991.
After the Macintosh Portable was discontinued, Apple moved on to the PowerBook, which came out later that year.