Mac Format

Graham Barlow remembers Apple’s last, successful, foray into titanium casings


orget its new A17 Pro chip, the new 48-megapixel camera and the new Action button, the real superpower of the new iPhone 15 Pro is its ability to instantly turn your iPhone 14 Pro from being a splendid state-of-the-art pocket-sized supercompu­ter into being a dead weight in your hand in seconds.

It does this by ditching the steel enclosure of the previous model and replacing it with ‘aerospace-grade’ titanium. Titanium just sounds better, doesn’t it? Why settle for steel when you can have titanium? And in four different colours, too!

FThe advantage of titanium is that it’s as strong as steel, but half the weight and therefore it gets used in everything from surgical equipment and implants to the Mars rover. But this isn’t Apple’s first experiment with titanium. Back in 2001, it produced the world’s first titanium laptop, the G4 PowerBook, lovingly known as the ‘TiBook’ because ‘titanium PowerBook’ was just too much of a mouthful.

The TiBook was perhaps the first truly modernlook­ing laptop – not chunky at all, and sporting that space-age grey colour that you see on every MacBook today. In fact, looking back at the 2001 TiBook, you can see that it set the standard for all Apple’s laptops to come.

For instance, it was the first laptop that had the Apple logo on the lid oriented correctly, so that when you opened your laptop people saw the Apple logo staring directly at them on the back, the right way up, not upside down. It had obviously taken Apple a little while to realise that half the fun of owning an Apple product was that it gave you bragging rights over your clunkier PC laptop owning friends. The upside-down logo didn’t look so good…

Sadly, titanium didn’t last as a laptop material, with Apple opting for aluminium casings, which were light, cheaper and more malleable. Also, back in 2001, Apple had no way of colouring the titanium, so it simply painted over it, a fact that can be gleaned by looking up TiBooks on eBay today and seeing how much the paint has flaked off over the years.

Apple has previously used titanium on the Apple Watch, but now titanium is making a comeback on the iPhone. So, my only question is, when can we expect it in a titanium MacBook Pro again, Apple?

 ?? ?? Are we moving towards the announceme­nt of a TiBook Take II?
Are we moving towards the announceme­nt of a TiBook Take II?

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