or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Five years of Apple: 2005 iBook to 2010 MacBook Air
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Five years of Apple: 2005 iBook to 2010 MacBook Air

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Over the last half decade, Apple has radically changed what $999 can buy, with major advancements in the processor power, efficiency, connectivity, size, weight and quality of its entry level notebook.

Five years ago, Apple was selling the iBook G4, a popular entry level notebook that had evolved from the original iMac-inspired iBook from six years prior. The final iBook model was released mid 2005 with 1.33 or 1.42 GHz PowerPC G4 processors.

It came in both 12.1 inch and 14.1 inch versions, with the smaller weighing in at 4.9 lbs (2.2 kg) and the larger version being 5.9 lbs (2.7 kg). Both supplied the same 1024x768 screen resolution. Both models were also 1.35 inches (3.4 cm) thick.

Fast forward to today, and Apple's latest offering is the similarly priced 11.6 inch MacBook Air, which delivers a 1.4 or 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, weighs just 2.3 lbs (1.04 kg) and is only 0.68 inches (1.7 cm) at its thickest, tapering down to 0.11 inches (2.8 mm).




Apple's style of innovation

The entire PC industry has always rapidly adopted new technologies to make computers faster, smaller, and more useful. In some cases, competitors have brought to market technologies that Apple hasn't, ranging from newer or cheaper CPUs to integrated mobile 3G WWAN to fingerprint scanners to SD card readers to BluRay playback; Apple's latest MacBook Air models drop the option of an integrated optical drive completely.

At the same time, Apple has frequently set the model for other PC makers to copy, starting with the original front palm rest notebook design that Apple introduced with the PowerBook back in 1991.



Apple has since led the market with integrated trackballs, trackpads and the latest multitouch trackpads used across its current MacBook lineup, as well as with features like backlit keyboards, sudden motion sensors to protect the hard drive and ambient light sensors to adjust the display.

Apple was also an early adopter of Lithium Ion batteries, USB, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 wireless networking, optical digital audio input and outputs, integrated batteries, and standardized Mini DisplayPort video output. This year, the company became a leading proponent of flash storage as a replacement for conventional hard disk drives, integrating a solid state drive as the only option on its latest MacBook Air models.

The company has often bucked convention, adding FireWire and keeping it while the industry largely rejected the fast, flexible, smart interface in favor of the slower, simpler, and less functional (but cheaper) USB 2.0, although it has recently removed FireWire from its cheapest models, including the MacBook Air.

Apple also dropped separate buttons from its trackpads, making the entire surface a tactile button and supporting the configuration of virtual right and left button clicks in software, while also supporting a variety of multitouch gestures.

Despite its long history of introducing innovative notebook technologies, between 2000 to 2005 Apple's notebook advances largely just mirrored those of PC makers: mostly cosmetic changes with regular updates of faster, newer chips.

When ignoring the 2001 leap from the previous clamshell iBook G3 design to the more conventional iBook design, Apple's entry level iBook made no advancements in size or weight across nearly five years, and continued stuck at the same 1024x768 screen resolution. Then something big happened: the MacBook.

On page 2 of 3: New MacBook technologies of the last five years.

New MacBook technologies of the last five years

While the dramatically thinner and lighter body of the unibody MacBook Air is impressive, Apple's leap from PowerPC to the Intel architecture, initiated in 2006, is also a feat few other platforms have managed to accomplish so smoothly, achieving both backward compatibility with existing software and taking full, unrestricted advantage of the new processor architecture Intel offered.

Thanks to that leap, Apple's latest MacBook Air can also, notably, run Microsoft's Windows 7 natively (in either its 32-bit or 64-bit editions) as well as running 64-bit Mac OS X software.

Beginning with the original MacBook Air in 2008, Apple pioneered an entirely new construction method for notebooks using precision water-etched aluminum unibody frames, which set a high new bar in delivering a strong and rigid yet lightweight shell that was ideal for wicking away heat.

More subtle advancements over the past five years include the addition of an integrated FaceTime (nee iSight) camera, as well as Apple's use of the new DisplayPort standard, which currently supports an external video output resolution of 2560x1600 on the entry level MacBook Air, via either DisplayPort, DIV/HDMI, or VGA. The 2005 iBook could only officially support 1024x768 output using a VGA cable. A variety of new low end PC notebooks (including Google's new netbooks designed for testing Chrome OS) continue to use VGA output.



On page 3 of 3: The incredible shrinking 'book, Learning from iOS devices.

The incredible shrinking 'book

Other components of the 2005 iBook that contributed to its thickness have also been slimmed down or eliminated, including its optical drive (which has had its usefulness erased through a series of measures, from wireless Disc Sharing to solid state reinstall media to digital media downloads and cloud storage, and in the near future, software downloads through the Mac App Store), its hard drive mechanism (eliminated on the Air in favor of solid state storage), and a variety of electronics that have have been replaced by fewer integrated chips.

Apple's integrated batteries also eliminated the need for space hogging battery pack housing and release mechanisms.





Learning from iOS devices

Apple has also brought inventions from its iOS product line into MacBook designs, including support for iPhone-style headphones with an integrated mic and remote controls. Display construction technologies related to the iPhone and iPad allow the new MacBook Air screen lid to be extremely thin, reducing the girth of the hinge and making the physical catch release button of the iBook unnecessary.

Like all recent MacBook models, the latest MacBook Air models use the integrated batteries that critics originally assailed as limiting; that integrated design has enabled the entire line of MacBooks to set new records in battery life while also delivering long life battery performance that requires fewer dead batteries to end up in landfills.

While greatly improving the conventional notebook across the last five years, Apple has also replaced it in many applications with the even more mobile iPad, which costs half as much as lasts twice as long on a battery charge.

The pace of Apple's technological progress over last five years is particularly impressive when compared to the previous five year period from 2000-2005. This suggests the potential for even faster development in the future, as Apple shares more technologies between the Mac and iPod and iOS devices and as the volume of computers Apple ships continues to grow.
post #2 of 57
I still have a G4 iBook running tiger and still going strong. Feels huge and clunky compared to our 2010 MacBook. Mind you it's still thinner than some of the bricks still on the shelves in PC World.

Having said that I hope Apple don't try and go thinner with the Air. I tried one and it felt somewhat fragile in my hands. Put me off buying one.
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
Reply
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
Reply
post #3 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

I still have a G4 iBook running tiger and still going strong. Feels huge and clunky compared to our 2010 MacBook. Mind you it's still thinner than some of the bricks still on the shelves in PC World.

Having said that I hope Apple don't try and go thinner with the Air. I tried one and it felt somewhat fragile in my hands. Put me off buying one.

G4 ibook was the most reliable laptop I ever had. My macbook pro is of course better but the ibook was a very good value product at the time and oozed quality. I even miss the powermac G5, it was more stable than the intel chip in my recording studio as far as I can remember. Regret selling that...
post #4 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

I still have a G4 iBook running tiger and still going strong. Feels huge and clunky compared to our 2010 MacBook. Mind you it's still thinner than some of the bricks still on the shelves in PC World.

Having said that I hope Apple don't try and go thinner with the Air. I tried one and it felt somewhat fragile in my hands. Put me off buying one.

You need not be concerned about any perceived fragility that you believe the MBA has. Structurally, it's a tank. I recently retired my 2008 MBA with the new 13" MBA and it is just as sturdy and solid as my original one. The aluminum construction is strong, does not flex, and I'm totally happy with the unit's quality.

It's the PC-makers with their cheap plastic housings that you should really be concerned with. At least Apple cares about what's on the outside as well as what's in the inside.
post #5 of 57
Am I the only one that noticed and is amused that they used a mockup picture of the unibody macbook pro instead of an actual photo? Me thinks the person responsible searched the web and found a photo they THOUGHT was of the actual product . Most obvious: The optical drive is on the front.
post #6 of 57
The MacBook Air 11.6-inch is great, but a much lighter (400 to 600 g) and smaller (pocketable, or almost) Mac is also needed. Whatever form factor (clamshell, slider or tablet). To carry always with you. Always. It is not for heavy work, but for other tasks, including Keynote and PowerPoint presentations. Because for that you need a Mac. The iOS devices are not compatible with files created on Mac or created on Windows. Thus, a truly pocketable Mac is needed to carry it in the pocket, purse or bag.
post #7 of 57
Yes, it's amazing that computers are getting smaller and more powerful.
post #8 of 57
impressive article
post #9 of 57
Yes an interesting article to see how Apple has advanced over the years.
Buy I have a most important question, where are the trolls and how will spin this as a negative.
post #10 of 57
These are DED articles I like.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

The MacBook Air 11.6-inch is great, but a much lighter (400 to 600 g) and smaller (pocketable, or almost) Mac is also needed. Whatever form factor (clamshell, slider or tablet). To carry always with you. Always. It is not for heavy work, but for other tasks, including Keynote and PowerPoint presentations. Because for that you need a Mac. The iOS devices are not compatible with files created on Mac or created on Windows. Thus, a truly pocketable Mac is needed to carry it in the pocket, purse or bag.

I think Keynote for iPad is pretty impressive already. Although I have to admit, that there are still some issues with compatibility between Keynote files generated with Mac OS vs. iOS. But remember It's just the beginning. wait 1 or 2 rounds of major updates for the iOS Keynote and I am convinced you will have to search hard to find residual compatibility problems. But in my personal opinion they did a very good job in porting Keynote to the iPad.
post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

You need not be concerned about any perceived fragility that you believe the MBA has. Structurally, it's a tank. I recently retired my 2008 MBA with the new 13" MBA and it is just as sturdy and solid as my original one. The aluminum construction is strong, does not flex, and I'm totally happy with the unit's quality.

It's the PC-makers with their cheap plastic housings that you should really be concerned with. At least Apple cares about what's on the outside as well as what's in the inside.

Agreed. My 11" air feels as sturdy as my 13" MBP unibody.
Hard-Core.
Reply
Hard-Core.
Reply
post #13 of 57
Course they still sell the plastic Macbook for $999 for some messed up reason, as if the price of a macbook can't be cheaper than $1000.

They should either ditch it or lower its price, cause it isn't worth the same compared to that Macbook Air.
post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

Course they still sell the plastic Macbook for $999 for some messed up reason, as if the price of a macbook can't be cheaper than $1000.

They should either ditch it or lower its price, cause it isn't worth the same compared to that Macbook Air.

Double the CPU speed at the same price point.
4x the mass storage at the same price point.
Integrated GBE for those who need wired connectivity (costs extra in MBA).
Integrated optical storage for those who need it (costs extra in MBA).
Double the wireless productivity time between battery charges.

The two products are designed to appeal to different types customers -- those who desire the ultimate in mobility at the expense of some capability, versus those who require more capability but still at an entry-level price point.
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by sprockkets View Post

Course they still sell the plastic Macbook for $999 for some messed up reason, as if the price of a macbook can't be cheaper than $1000.

They should either ditch it or lower its price, cause it isn't worth the same compared to that Macbook Air.

I don’t get the reasoning here. The $999 MacBook has a 13” display, 2.4GHz CPU, 250GB storage, CD/DVD drive, more ports, and 10 hour battery. The $999 MacBook Air has an 11” display, 1.4GHz CPU, 64GB storage, no optical drive, less ports and a 5 hours battery. Each has their own tradeoffs that will suit different users.

Personally, I have no use for an ODD, don’t care for a HDD as a boot drive, but like the larger display and longer battery life and see the 13” MBP as a better deal for a few hundred more so the MacBook becomes a non-starter for me in comparison to the 13” MacBook Pro… but that’s only my preference.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The pace of Apple's technological progress over last five years is particularly impressive when compared to the previous five year period from 2000-2005. This suggests the potential for even faster development in the future, as Apple shares more technologies between the Mac and iPod and iOS devices and as the volume of computers Apple ships continues to grow.

Amen. It's a virtuous circle. It's hard to believe the iPad only came out in April. They are getting faster and faster. Could Apple cause the technological singularity?
post #17 of 57
This is a pointless fluff piece.
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
Reply
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
Reply
post #18 of 57
Article said:
"The pace of Apple's technological progress over last five years is particularly impressive when compared to the previous five year period from 2000-2005. This suggests the potential for even faster development in the future, as Apple shares more technologies between the Mac and iPod and iOS devices and as the volume of computers Apple ships continues to grow."

Or it actually shows how awful things were in the PowerPC era as Apple was stuck w/chips that weren't getting faster. I don't think we'll see a strictly faster pace in 2011-2015 (compared with the rest of the tech world) based on what we saw comparing the first and 2nd halves of this decade*.


*For the nitpickers, yes I'm aware the decade was technically 2000-2009
post #19 of 57
With respect, Apple has just ridden the wave of component manufacturers. Yes, Apple got better at designing motherboards. But the miniaturization of power supply, improved batteries, cheapening of flash memory has less to do with Apple "innovations" and more with the supplier community that actually performs most of the R&D.

The Macbook Air is a triumph tho... beautiful. It puts the toy iPad to shame every single day IMHO... especially the 4GB RAM one, which can replace desktop duties for quite a while
post #20 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

This is a pointless fluff piece.

The differences between those 2 laptops look objective to me.
post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

This is a pointless fluff piece.

Fluff piece, in that its a basic history of Mac notebook line without anything controversial to argue over? Then I agree.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

You need not be concerned about any perceived fragility that you believe the MBA has. Structurally, it's a tank. I recently retired my 2008 MBA with the new 13" MBA and it is just as sturdy and solid as my original one. The aluminum construction is strong, does not flex, and I'm totally happy with the unit's quality.

It's the PC-makers with their cheap plastic housings that you should really be concerned with. At least Apple cares about what's on the outside as well as what's in the inside.

Thanks for the feedback on that. A few other forum members have reassured me it's well built as well. I'll have take another look.
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
Reply
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
Reply
post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

These are DED articles I like.

Me too!
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
Reply
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
Reply
post #24 of 57
90s were so ugly....
post #25 of 57
Thanks for the nice retrospective!

One quibble though: Your photo of a 'Powerbook 100' is actually a Powerbook 140.

An easy way to tell is to look at the brightness and contrast controls. The Powerbook 100 had two circular dials, the 140 had two horizontal sliders and the Powerbook 170 (active matrix) had a single brightness slider.
post #26 of 57
What's amazing is my 2006 MacBook pro still is thinner and plenty powerful compared to most PC laptops out there. One inch thick baby!
post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gxcad View Post

Am I the only one that noticed and is amused that they used a mockup picture of the unibody macbook pro instead of an actual photo? Me thinks the person responsible searched the web and found a photo they THOUGHT was of the actual product . Most obvious: The optical drive is on the front.

Yes, I noticed that. You would have thought the Apple.com website would have been a good source for a picture of a current device.
post #28 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

Article said:
I don't think we'll see a strictly faster pace in 2011-2015 (compared with the rest of the tech world) based on what we saw comparing the first and 2nd halves of this decade*.

*For the nitpickers, yes I'm aware the decade was technically 2000-2009

The decade would actually be 2001-2010 just as 2001 was the beginning of the new millenniumnot 2000. The last century was the 20th century; it ended in 2000.
post #29 of 57
I just want to know how many 11 MacBook Airs (remembering the taper!) would fit into a Mac Portable:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

I still have a G4 iBook running tiger and still going strong. Feels huge and clunky compared to our 2010 MacBook. Mind you it's still thinner than some of the bricks still on the shelves in PC World.

Having said that I hope Apple don't try and go thinner with the Air. I tried one and it felt somewhat fragile in my hands. Put me off buying one.

Better viewing angle than some of the latest Dells too! My friend got a Dell less than a year ago and Im shocked at how you basically cant see the screen if youre standing above it (say, if youd been working on the floor and stand up).
post #30 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by kfury View Post

Thanks for the nice retrospective!

One quibble though: Your photo of a 'Powerbook 100' is actually a Powerbook 140.

An easy way to tell is to look at the brightness and contrast controls. The Powerbook 100 had two circular dials, the 140 had two horizontal sliders and the Powerbook 170 (active matrix) had a single brightness slider.

Yes, not only that but the PowerBook 100 was mostly irrelevant. In most history or timelines, people put the 100 at the beginning, but in reality the PowerBook 140 and 170 were developed first, all though all three were announced and released at the same time. The 140 and 170 were game changers and sold very well, but the Sony designed PowerBook 100 lacked the floppy drive and other features which resulted in it being a failure.
post #31 of 57
I think it is a good article because it is good to reflect from time to time. On the hardware side the rate of progress from 2005 is impressive, especially considering the often voiced complaints Apple is somehow abandoning the Mac. That is a reflection of Apple's position today and its ability to invest. I do think on the software side though on the Mac the rate of progress has slowed down.

In 2000 we were running Mac OS 9:


And in 2005 we had the landmark release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger:


And we enter 2011 with 2007's Leopard polished up a bit:


If you ignore aesthetics and the GUI, a lot of core technologies went in between 2000-2005. And the development of Mac OS X from 2001 (Jaguar) to 2003 (Panther) was just incredible given Apple's position at the time.
post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by fleet View Post

The decade would actually be 2001-2010 just as 2001 was the beginning of the new millenniumnot 2000. The last century was the 20th century; it ended in 2000.

So the 1980s started in 1981? 2000 was the end of a second set of 1000 years so yes, 2001 was the beginning of the next millenium, but decades start in the 0 not the 1.
post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by columbus View Post

If you ignore aesthetics and the GUI, a lot of core technologies went in between 2000-2005. And the development of Mac OS X from 2001 (Jaguar) to 2003 (Panther) was just incredible given Apple's position at the time.


Yes, that is why I said recently the progress since 2007 or so has been limited. AAPL is doing many things, but progress in GUI for computers has ground to a standstill, pretty much. As have iLife, etc.

The progress in 2000-2003 was so fast, it was clear Apple was on a perfectionistic roll. I bought stock then.
post #34 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

So the 1980s started in 1981? 2000 was the end of a second set of 1000 years so yes, 2001 was the beginning of the next millenium, but decades start in the 0 not the 1.


Assuming Mr. Christ died at moment 0, and "1" signified the first anniversary of his death, the first decade was over on new year's eve of the year 10. Exactly 10 years had passed. Similarly, 2000 years had passed (in simplified terms) on New Year's Eve, 1999-2000.

So, all the nerdy "experts" on this failed second grade math... they're wrong, and the general public is right, IMO. The 2010s began about 11.33 months ago.
post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

Assuming Mr. Christ died at moment 0, and "1" signified the first anniversary of his death, the first decade was over on new year's eve of the year 10. Exactly 10 years had passed. Similarly, 2000 years had passed (in simplified terms) on New Year's Eve, 1999-2000.

So, all the nerdy "experts" on this failed second grade math... they're wrong, and the general public is right, IMO. The 2010s began about 11.33 months ago.

I think A.D (and by association C.E.) references Jesus birth.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #36 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

Assuming Mr. Christ died at moment 0, and "1" signified the first anniversary of his death

Nope... there was no year zero. For some bizarre reason they started counting at 1.
post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Nope... there was no year zero. For some bizarre reason they started counting at 1.

Crazy how they started the 1st year at 1. It seems so random.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #38 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Crazy how they started the 1st year at 1. It seems so random.

I suppose it makes sense if they were labelling the years instead of counting them, if you get my drift.
post #39 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think A.D (and by association C.E.) references Jesus birth.

Birth of Christ:Collector's Edition?
post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I suppose it makes sense if they were labelling the years instead of counting them, if you get my drift.

There have plenty of jokes about it. Something like...

"What year is this?"
"Negative 4"
"Negative 4? What happens at zero?"
...


Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

Birth of Christ:Collector's Edition?

LOL Something like that.

A.D. Specifically refers to Christ'd birth, but most of the world isn't Christian, so Current Era and Before Current Era were created to be more universal, even though the yer hasn't changed. I'm sure Wikipedia has a lot more and better info.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Current Mac Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Five years of Apple: 2005 iBook to 2010 MacBook Air