Apple RISC’uet and… wins

August 25, 1995, when a large concourse of people, Apple has unveiled the next generation of the most popular in the time range of portable computers in the world. The novelty was full of innovation, and seemed doomed to success…

PowerBook 5300, and all its modifications, is one of the leading positions in the top ten of the worst Macs in history. He, among other things, for many years serves as the basis for the allegations that the benefits of RISC architecture in General and PowerPC in particular, no more than a myth created by companies, which had to do with him.

In fact, RISC processors are radically superior to their CISC counterparts, it is a reality, and today’s CISC processors that are not inferior to RISC processors the present day of anything, really, inside, has long been almost the same RISC processors. It’s a hybrid.

PowerPC 603e with clock frequencies in the 100 and 117 MHz, the ability to three hours to run in offline mode (on the battery), the architecture of the modules that can be connected without turning off the computer, and many of its features, looked incredibly attractive.

Among the modules were very different, for example, a ZIP drive (it’s not what you thought it was a family of disk drives on floppy disks with a capacity from 100 to 750 Megabytes), an infrared communication port, and the like. With time appeared on the market the modules supporting high-speed (at the time) Ethernet, with a powerful graphics card, with support for external displays and much more.


Big trouble

The most known issue with the PowerBook 5300, due to which this model of PowerBook has become the most popular computer in history, which was written a record number of abusive articles, was its lithium-ion batteries. I would say, not even these batteries, and not even the defective batch (released by Sony), and another attempt by Apple to stand apart in their advancement compared to other “boring” companies.

The second mistake was the lack of computer architecture, which is more than impressive clock speed of processor is very good, almost did not give him special advantages in performance compared to PowerBook’AMI 68040 with their 33 Megahertz.

In fact, if the company is really someone took over and delved into the details and trivia on the main directions of its activity, this disaster would not have happened. And PowerBook’and was probably the most important and successful activity of the Apple. The fact that one of the “trump card” PowerBook’s 500-series that preceded the PowerBook 5300 was the possibility of replacing the standard 68000 on 68LC040 or PowerPC 603e, and in the latter case, this problem has already manifested.

Upgrades from the company’s Newer Technology, even based on the PowerPC 603e accelerated to an almost incredible at the time of clock frequency 183 MHz, gave a disappointingly small gain in performance.

The problem was studied, the conclusions made, but it was lightly ignored, and the computer with it was carelessly released into the cruel critical world. Someone decided, apparently, that his and buy.

However, those lucky ones with the PowerBook 5300c instance, little reason to complain was not. This machine was a colleague, she honestly pulled Batareinaya pull of two hours and a half, and with quite reasonable speed completely rebuilt the project more than decent size, on the table under the Apple trees during our large gatherings.

The programme of review and replacement battery at the “safe and weaker” somehow passed us.

All the other problems with the 5300 was… completely insignificant. It was more than a decent machine, and its modification 5300ce with TFT colour monitor with a resolution of 800×600 pixels in spite of all shortcomings and defects, in the opinion of impartial experts, was the world’s best laptop at the time.

Little trouble

When the computer model is a success and sold huge circulations, its minor shortcomings are criticized, they are written about in reviews, but no unpleasant consequences for her fate, as a rule, has. But the company that produces this source of income the subject of legitimate pride, there is great opportunity in one of the days to roll out to the market corrected modification, correcting these problems that the engineers are not too easy.

But if the computer on which you spent a lot of money, because something ceases to be sold, little troubles turn into something like a basin with a cement that is Chicago (and not only) mafia used to reliably send its unwanted people to the bottom of the Great Lakes.

5300 have no such troubles were few. The size of the expander was too small to accommodate a CD/ROM. Apple, according to witnesses, knew about the problem, and developed the ultra-compact CD/ROM drive, for 5300 and following models, but the company’s management, all of a sudden, suddenly showed a strong will, and this project was closed and all its members dismissed.

Perhaps they were guilty of the plight of the PowerBook 5300.

There were other small problems, meticulous reviews which were written not without a vindictive pleasure, but they don’t deserve mention.

No matter what

No matter what, PowerBook 5300 and its modifications were sold not as bad as you would think. They had sold nearly three hundred thousand copies. Hardly at that time at least one other model laptops sold in such quantities.

The most successful in the mid-90s PowerBook’s 500 series sold a total of twice.

Development 5300 more than paid off.

But Apple has lost something very important. If early in the fall of 1995, the company had a different head, though, John sculley or Gil Amelio, the consequences of the disaster with batteries would at least significantly weaken.

Steve jobs, I think, could turn it into a disaster for competitors. If he, in his style, spoke about the essence of the perfect Apple risky step, about what possibilities this move opens up…

But alas, Steve at that time was far away, engaged with very different problems.

To be continued

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