Apple 8 Inch PowerBook

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I like to travel a lot. I need to take a computer with me. Sure, to check email and surf the web but also run power programs like Logic Pro. I don't want a PDA. I'm an Apple Mac user. The Apple 12 inch PowerBook is too big and heavy for me. I've been looking at the x86 and Windows world (size and weight are more important to me than operating system, I'm afraid) and seeing some interesting developments. Very small PCs running Windows XP, called Handtops, are coming on the market . Most of them are actually too small for me. My preference to date is the Sony Vaio U101. Also, Sony can do it!

Then I got thinking why couldn't Apple make a very small PowerBook? So, first we need a low powered processor. I remember Transmeta was meant to be able to emulate other processors but reading around it seems that this maybe never happened. Then I came across a very small PowerPC called GMS P50X "Spider". Satisfied that this was sort of possible I continued to dream.

I want an 8 inch 200 DPI 16:10 touch screen. I want a keyboard as well. That gives us a shape of a small book. I don't want an internal CD/DVD - lucky, because it wouldn't fit anyway. I want the thing to be able to run on AA batteries just in case I'm out the bush somewhere with no mains power. AAs can be recharged by the Sun.

I don't think this is so far from reality. It probably couldn't be possible now but, given advances in technology, I reckon, it'll be possible in 6 months or a year. If Apple isn't interested in building this and we get enough Mac users interested in buying what's to stop us building it ourselves?

Interested in having one? Have a look at the specification below. Feel free to add your own ideas or flesh out the specifications in /Submit. I'll transfer over good ideas to this page. And it'll keep spam to a minimum.


  • Model:

    • Apple 8 Inch PowerBook
  • Features:

    • Touch screen
    • One self contained unit

    • No docking device or port extender

    • No propriety connectors
  • Processor:

    • 1.5ghz FreeScale MPC7447A or 2.0ghz single-core e600/VX (?)
  • Memory:

    • 512 MBytes PC2700 RAM (expandable to 2GBytes)
  • Screen:

    • Diagonal: 8 inches
    • Horizontal Resolution: 1440 pixels
    • Vertical Resolution: 900 pixels
    • Width: 6.78 inches - 172.31 mm
    • Height: 4.24 inches - 107.70 mm
    • Dots Per Inch: 212.26
    • Dot Pitch: 0.12 mm
    • Total Pixels: 1296000
    • Aspect Ratio: 16:10 * Screen should be viewable in portrait or landscape mode.
  • Battery options:

    • Lithium-ion rechargeable * Fits in the space of 8 x AA
    • 8 x AA NiMH rechargeable * Currently AA NiMH are rated at 2500mAh and this will only get better * Useful to have this option of using normal batteries incase mains power is not available to recharge lithium-ion battery * Can recharge AA NiMHs with solar power chargers.
  • Hard disk drive

    • 100 GByte 7200 RPM shock-mounted * An autodetect for when it falls, so that the platters park to prevent head crash.
  • Built-in ports:

    • USB 2.0 x 2
    • Firewire (IEEE1394) x 2 * I suppose it's best to make these both FireWire 800 (IEEE 1394b) ports as you can get 400 to 800 converter cables/connectors.
    • LAN RJ-45 x 1 (10/100/1000BASE-T)
    • Modem RJ-11 x 1
    • Audio input: microphone (plug in power)/optical digital/line (stereo 3.5 mm mini-jack)
    • Audio output: headphone/optical digital/line (stereo 3.5 mm mini-jack)
    • DVI-I output to drive 1920 x 1200 external LCD. * DVI-I to VGA connectors available.
    • DC Power in * Make it a standard connector.
  • Wireless

    • 802.11b/g (AirPort Extreme)
    • Bluetooth
    • GPS
  • Mic

  • Digital Camera

    • 640 x 480 would be OK for video chat
  • Input/output Devices:

  • Keyboard: QWERTY Key
    • Illuminated fiber-optic, backlit keyboard with ambient light sensor
  • Pointing Device: Pointing Stick for touch screen
  • A/C adapter: 100-240V / 50-60 Hz

  • Size:

    • Width: 6.78 inches - 172.31 mm
    • Length: 4.24 inches - 107.70 mm
    • Height: Less than 1.5 inches - 38.1 mm
  • Weight:

    • Less than 2.2 lbs or 1 kg
  • Funky Ideas:

    • Add an iPod interface to the outside so you can access music and such when your PowerBook is closed.
    • Build in a mobile phone - GSM/GPRS and CDMA
  • Implications for OS X: