RetroMacCast

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A Conjectured History of the Lime Green iBook

The fact that this, the Clamshell iBook is so adored is a testament to the fervor and passion Apple has created within it's legions of devotés. The Clamshell iBook is a wonderfully carved slice of technology. Those who have never held and operated one probably look upon it's presence with curiosity. It holds no substantial similarity to any other laptop created by Apple. It's off-spring, the ubiquitous iBook "Dual USB", carried over only the durable white plastic skin. It's only real cousin is the eMate made with a similar clamshell enclosure. The diminutive eMate gave birth to the idea of a latch-less enclosure that Apple would hope to use in a standard size laptop.

And so it went, in the late 1990's, as Apple Inc. was selling a handsome black and curvaceous Powerbook named Lombard, engineers were busy trying to fit the new G4 processor chip into a laptop. Steve Jobs wanted it to be something, as he loves to call it, "insanely great". The hope was to revolutionize it's Powerbook line with the same "clamshell" design of the discontinued eMate. A two toned charcoal and purple-ish pewter latch-less G4 Powerbook like no one had ever seen. Incorporating firewire, a faster BUS speed and the new Airport wireless WIFI card.

Things weren't going too poorly either. The shell was solid and the form was attractive. It was a solid durable design. Too durable. The faster G4 processor, however, was a hotter chip than the G3 Processor. More ventilation was needed for it's Altivec Velocity enhanced speed. Slowly, it was becoming apparent the Clamshell Powerbook was going to be unable to accommodate the G4 chip. There was no getting around the heat. Design had forsaken ventilation. One possible solution would have been placing a fan in the right place. But this was not an option for Jobs. Going back to his Macintosh in 1984, he has always abhorred fans. Consequently, a quiet but hot line of computers.

So, one solution became delightfully reasonable. Put a G3 chip into the laptop, call it the iBook and start from scratch on a new Powerbook G4 design. From all this, what do we get? Well, we get first the last G3 Powerbook... Pismo. Pismo was a Lombard with all the comfort and style that the Clamshell G4 Powerbook was to get. Firewire, Increased Bus Speed and Airport. It also spawned the Titanium G4 Powerbook... thin and thin. But it also gives us this... the most coveted and sought after iBook Clamshell - The Lime Green iBook. A laptop with so much passion and unapologetic vanity that it sets the user apart from all others. That's a little history... equal parts conjecture, fact and opinion.

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