Interview from 1988 about the Macintosh Portable leak shows how far Apple leaks have evolv...

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A clip from a local news program discussing the then-unreleased Macintosh Portable has been unearthed and uploaded to YouTube, with the news item from 29 years ago serving as a reminder that Apple leaks are certainly not a new phenomenon, and are largely easier to spread now than ever before.




The news item centers around the leak of a 160-page internal document for the Macintosh Portable that was acquired by Macintosh Today, the clip discovered by Fast Company reveals. In the clip, news anchors identified as Pete Wilson and Suzanne Saunders Shaw of San Francisco's KGO interviewed Macintosh Today editor David Bunnell, revealing the document was acquired by a freelance journalist working for the magazine via someone "associated with Apple."

Unlike current rumor and leak reports that reveal information about potential future products, the video steers clear of details relating to the unreleased Apple hardware, with the anchors instead discussing with Bunnell about how the leak was a security risk for Apple, and how it could affect the company. Wilson suggests the leak gives competitors "an advantage in planning their own new products," allowing them to plan ahead to combat Apple's later release.





"I really don't think it hurts them, because people are not able to create clones of the Macintosh. There is no clone of the Macintosh, so how this may help an Apple competitor is beyond me," said Bunnell in response. Instead, Bunnell insists it could help Apple as it's "such an exciting product," and is "something people are really looking forward to."

Pressed on publishing the leaked information, Bunnell suggested Apple "liked to control the information that comes out" from the company, and that it didn't like to pre-announce a product six months away from release. When accused of collusion with Apple, suggesting it would be "nice advertising" for the company, Bunnell insists it is "not the case" at all, as Apple would want to "release information closer to the delivery of the machine."

The interview ends with Bunnell explaining the reason behind publishing the confidential information was based on providing "what's best for the readers," instead of protecting Apple's corporate secrets.

Nearly 30 years on from that interview, the fundamental nature of Apple-related leaks have changed considerably, in part caused through the development of new technologies like smartphones with cameras, as well as the rapid distribution of information via the Internet. Apple's corporate secrecy has vastly improved since then, but the source of the leaks has instead moved to the supply chain, where in some cases components for unreleased products are being photographed or recorded on video, and then shared over social media for all to see.

Apple's Macintosh Portable was ultimately released on September 20, 1989 for $7300, with a 9.8-inch black and white active matrix display at 640x400 resolution, a 16MHz 68000 processor, and 1MB of RAM. A large amount of its size was from the 5W, 13A lead-acid battery, and full-size mechanical keyboard. It weighed 16 pounds, and was over four inches thick.

It was replaced by the $2300 PowerBook 100 in 1991 alongside the PowerBook 140, and PowerBook 170.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,573member
    That David Bunnell is either a liar or delusional. They released it for themselves... not for the readers. They wanted the scoop.
    jony0
  • Reply 2 of 20
    pembrokepembroke Posts: 220member
    I used that laptop for about 2 months. At 16lbs it was a 'luggable'. The roll-ball mouse could be moved either to the left or right of the keyboard, which was sort of cool. For it's time it was an eye-opener, but strictly a curiosity for those who had the money to throw away. It's remarkable how quickly laptop designs and specs advanced. 
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,673member

    For those did not knoll, this product was the very first Compute (other than NASA computer) allowed to go in the space shuttle back in 1991. It meet all the NASA safety and durability requires to be allowed on the Space Shuttle, the only modification was in line fuse between the Lead acid battery and the Logic board

    http://osxdaily.com/2011/12/03/macintosh-portable-ejecting-a-disk-in-space-video/ ;

    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 208member
    I was lucky enough to be working at a school in the San Diego area and the computer tech at the school invited me to see the laptop we had to sign a non-disclosure paper before they would let us go in.
    It was great back then to see what Apple had come up with, I knew I couldn't afford this computer but hoped that one day I could.
    The time has changed from back then now almost all people can have one.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    I worked at Apple when we introduced the Macintosh Portable. It was big, clunky, slow, and had a horrible display. Not bad for $7,300 ;-) 

    electrosoftalmondrocamwhitechiawatto_cobraRayz2016
  • Reply 6 of 20
    David Bunnell is played by a young Jon Lovitz from SNL.

    I inherited a Portable from my brother and used it for years. It ran Aldus PageMaker 4 beautifully.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Back then I had a Macintosh Plus. When the Mac Portable was released, I wanted one bad till I saw it in person and realized, outside of a limited battery, my Mac Plus was actually a better portable/luggable option for me and that was that......oh and I couldn't afford it seeing as my mom had plunked down the $2499 for my Mac Plus in Spring of '86. :-D
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    karmadave said:
    I worked at Apple when we introduced the Macintosh Portable. It was big, clunky, slow, and had a horrible display. Not bad for $7,300 ;-) 

    Are you on the left, or the Keith Hernandez guy?
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,965administrator
    maestro64 said:

    For those did not knoll, this product was the very first Compute (other than NASA computer) allowed to go in the space shuttle back in 1991. It meet all the NASA safety and durability requires to be allowed on the Space Shuttle, the only modification was in line fuse between the Lead acid battery and the Logic board

    http://osxdaily.com/2011/12/03/macintosh-portable-ejecting-a-disk-in-space-video/ ;

    I bought one in 1993, and brought it to sea with me on a Mediterranean deployment in 1994. Switched to a 540c for my next long run two years later.
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,878member
    maestro64 said:

    For those did not knoll, this product was the very first Compute (other than NASA computer) allowed to go in the space shuttle back in 1991. It meet all the NASA safety and durability requires to be allowed on the Space Shuttle, the only modification was in line fuse between the Lead acid battery and the Logic board

    http://osxdaily.com/2011/12/03/macintosh-portable-ejecting-a-disk-in-space-video/ ;

    I bought one in 1993, and brought it to sea with me on a Mediterranean deployment in 1994. Switched to a 540c for my next long run two years later.
    I used to lug a Mac portable all around Sydney in its specially made carry case with shoulder strap.  It would leave me in pain by the end of the day. Upgrading to a PowerBook 140 was revolutionary. There was nothing like PowerBooks at the time, almost half laptop sales were PowerBooks. And they were the template for all modern laptops to this day.
    edited August 2017 mwhitechiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    karmadave said:
    I worked at Apple when we introduced the Macintosh Portable. It was big, clunky, slow, and had a horrible display. Not bad for $7,300 ;-) 

    Are you on the left, or the Keith Hernandez guy?
    I'm the guy on the right plugging the monitor cable into the IIcx. With a pathetic excuse for a mustache. Notice the AppleTalk cable plugged into the LaserWriter II. Those were the days...
    mwhitechiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,495member
    My favorite part of the interview is when he says that the public will be excited about a 12 pound portable. They would be horrified today. 
  • Reply 13 of 20
    anomeanome Posts: 1,302member
    jd_in_sb said:
    My favorite part of the interview is when he says that the public will be excited about a 12 pound portable. They would be horrified today. 

    I don't know, reading some of the threads about the MacBook Pro, I think there are some people who still want one.

    I wrote a script for an early QuickTime video I wanted to shoot, which was a murder mystery where someone had been clubbed to death with a Macintosh Portable. I never made it, mainly because I didn't have any video gear, or any friends to be in it.

    The main things the Portable had going for it were it was allegedly bulletproof, and because they used a lead acid battery, the power lasted for ages. Someone wrote a column about using it on a flight from Sydney to London, although I don't know that the battery covered the entire flight. (I'd need to dig around for the article to check, it was a long time ago.)

    Luggables were a market back then, there were a number of less useful machines about the same size and weight, even using NiCad batteries instead of lead. I remember a line of Toshibas that were popular, and didn't even have Windows, mainly because they didn't have a pointing device. (You could plug a mouse in, I suppose.) Those were the days you had a portable because you could, not because you needed it.

  • Reply 14 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,781member
    jd_in_sb said:
    My favorite part of the interview is when he says that the public will be excited about a 12 pound portable. They would be horrified today. 
    But think of all the missing ports Apple could restore if the just went back to this practical design!


    chia
  • Reply 15 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,781member

    karmadave said:
    karmadave said:
    I worked at Apple when we introduced the Macintosh Portable. It was big, clunky, slow, and had a horrible display. Not bad for $7,300 ;-) 

    Are you on the left, or the Keith Hernandez guy?
    I'm the guy on the right plugging the monitor cable into the IIcx. With a pathetic excuse for a mustache. Notice the AppleTalk cable plugged into the LaserWriter II. Those were the days...
    Oh, that's you is it?

    For a moment I thought, "Wow! So while he was working for Apple, what was the rest of Queen doing?"

    Seriously, I had no idea we had such interesting folk round here. 
  • Reply 16 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,406member
     ... here's me using one.  That's a telephone for those who are curious.


    me4.jpg 105.3K
  • Reply 17 of 20
    MacPro said:
     ... here's me using one.  That's a telephone for those who are curious.

    It's not a touchscreen.  Why are you putting fingerprints on the screen?


  • Reply 18 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,406member
    darkvader said:
    MacPro said:
     ... here's me using one.  That's a telephone for those who are curious.

    It's not a touchscreen.  Why are you putting fingerprints on the screen?


    Because I've always battled being partially dyslexic and I was making sure I read the data correctly by tracing my finger along the line on the spreadsheet as it helped not switch numbers around.  It's something I do without even realizing it.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 19 of 20
    anome said:
    jd_in_sb said:
    My favorite part of the interview is when he says that the public will be excited about a 12 pound portable. They would be horrified today. 

    I don't know, reading some of the threads about the MacBook Pro, I think there are some people who still want one.

    I wrote a script for an early QuickTime video I wanted to shoot, which was a murder mystery where someone had been clubbed to death with a Macintosh Portable. I never made it, mainly because I didn't have any video gear, or any friends to be in it.

    The main things the Portable had going for it were it was allegedly bulletproof, and because they used a lead acid battery, the power lasted for ages. Someone wrote a column about using it on a flight from Sydney to London, although I don't know that the battery covered the entire flight. (I'd need to dig around for the article to check, it was a long time ago.)

    Luggables were a market back then, there were a number of less useful machines about the same size and weight, even using NiCad batteries instead of lead. I remember a line of Toshibas that were popular, and didn't even have Windows, mainly because they didn't have a pointing device. (You could plug a mouse in, I suppose.) Those were the days you had a portable because you could, not because you needed it.

    I actually did really want one back then, they were just way too expensive.  I got a PowerBook 140 a few years later instead.

    There's such a thing as a happy medium when it comes to laptop size.  For me, the PowerBook G3 Wallstreet is about the perfect size, plenty thick enough to fit in all the ports, swappable device bays that let you decide if you want an optical drive, extra hard drive, or extra battery, easily changeable battery so you can carry spares and never run out of power, and pretty rugged.  And of course the hard drive and RAM are easily upgradeable.

    But even the original unibody MacBook Pro was a great design.  The battery door gave you easy access to swap the battery, and because of the design it also gave you easy access to the hard drive for upgrades.  It started downhill when they switched to the design where you had to take out 12 screws including a couple tri-wing screws (which means carrying yet another screwdriver in my kit) just to change the battery. 

    The current design is absolutely horrible.  Just opening the stupid thing is a huge pain in the butt, RAM or disk upgrades require using SMD rework equipment, and changing the battery without changing the top case is going to be a huge pain.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    It was such a curiosity. My father-in-law bought one and then my wife inherited it for use in college. Was such a hulk that it wasn't much better than carrying around a regular Mac. The battery, of course, wasn't great after awhile so she generally had it plugged in anyway. The LCD panel pixels actually had shadows below them like on a calculator screen. You could do work on it though, and it had a real GUI unlike most people used those days.
    edited August 2017
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