Alu­minium Power­book G4

Mac Format - - APPLE CLASSICS -

At the risk of sound­ing like that movie trailer guy, in a world of dark­ness the G4 Power­book changed ev­ery­thing. The PC lap­tops around me were black-clad hunks of junk. The G4 Power­book looked like it had come from a su­pe­rior civil­i­sa­tion. Photographs don’t do it jus­tice: it’s one of those de­signs that you re­ally needed to see in the metal. It was (still is) an as­ton­ish­ingly beau­ti­ful com­puter, and its DNA is vis­i­ble in to­day’s Mac­Book Pros and Airs.

This was the first OS X-only lap­top (the ti­ta­nium one could boot into OS 9) and the last Pow­erPC model: the Mac­Book Pro was an In­tel af­fair. It wasn’t per­fect – third-party RAM tended to be flaky and the bat­ter­ies were a lit­tle on the ex­plodey side – but it was still pretty won­der­ful.

I took my Power­book ev­ery­where. I used it in record­ing stu­dios and on ra­dio shows, wrote mil­lions of words on it and took it to meet its rel­a­tives in US Ap­ple Stores. It even ap­peared on TV a few times, as I pre­tended to type on it dur­ing news items about hack­ing. At the time it was the most ex­pen­sive com­puter I’d ever bought, but noth­ing I’ve bought be­fore or since de­liv­ered quite as much bang for my bucks. And then it went bang – or rather, “bleu­urgh.” After years of ded­i­cated ser­vice, first as my work com­puter and then as the fam­ily com­puter, my daugh­ter de­cided to re-en­act The Ex­or­cist. I wasn’t there, and by the time I found out about it the vomit had har­dened to the point where no hu­man-de­signed im­ple­ment could even put a dent in it. Like Han Solo in car­bonite, the G4 Power­book was locked solid in baby car­bonara. It’s been like that ever since, and I miss it ter­ri­bly. I’m sure that if I’d told it that I loved it, it would have replied like just Han: “I know”.

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