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Home / Technology / iBook turns 20: See Steve Jobs reveal the world's first notebook with wireless internet

iBook turns 20: See Steve Jobs reveal the world's first notebook with wireless internet



When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in the late 1990s, he developed a 2 × 2 product matrix to simplify Apple's then bloated computer portfolio. The grid was split into four quadrants, including a professional desktop, a consumer desktop, a professional portable, and a consumer portable.



Today marks the 20th anniversary of Jobs's unveiling of its fourth and final product, the iBook, at Macworld Expo 1999 in New York City.

Designed for consumers and students alike, the iBook sets itself apart from other notebooks of its time with its unique, shell-like design, which consists of a tough, translucent plastic case with soft, colorful rubber. The initial colors included Blueberry and Tangerine. Later models are available in Graphite, Indigo and Key Lime.



The original iBook for $ 1,599 was equipped with a 12.1-inch display with a resolution of 800 × 600, a full-size keyboard and a trackpad. It was also equipped with a retractable handle on the hinge, which was referred to by Apple as "iMac to go", although he even had a decent weight of 6.7 pounds for the time.



First and foremost, the iBook was the first mass consumer product to support wireless networks. The 802.11b standard allowed speeds of up to 11 Mbps. Wireless support was not integrated and required the purchase of an optional $ 99 AirPort Wireless Card and $ 299 AirPort Base Station.

Jobs demonstrated the iBook's wireless networking by running the notebook across the stage while a website was loading, and the audience cheered. Then he took it through a hula hoop to prove that no cables were connected.



Remarkably, a younger Phil Schiller even jumped from height while clinging to the iBook while wirelessly transmitting accelerometer data. Referring to the 30th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 11 Schiller joked: "This is definitely a small step for humans and a big step for wireless networking."



Other technical specifications included a 300MHz PowerPC G3 processor, a 3.2GB hard drive, 32MB of RAM, ATI Rage Mobility graphics, 10/100 Ethernet, a CD-ROM drive, and a Battery life of up to six hours. To keep costs down, there was no FireWire port, no video out, no microphone, just a speaker and a USB port.

Apple introduced a redesigned iBook with a more traditional notebook design in May 2001, followed by the white polycarbonate MacBook in 2006, but the original will always be an important part of Apple's history.

Last year, YouTubers iJustine and MKBHD teamed to unpack an original, sealed iBook:



For more nostalgia:

We invite all readers who still own an iBook to share a photo in the comment section.


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