Robert Brunner

Apple PowerBook

Carroll Gantz
Brunner, Robert
Apple PowerBook

The Apple PowerBook was one of the most revolutionary computers ever made. It changed the way people used computers. It was highly portable and lightweight, but functioned as effectively as a desktop. We call them laptops today, and many users never leave home without one. The original PowerBook series—the 140 and 170—were designed by Robert Brunner, IDSA; Gavin Ivester, IDSA; Suzanne Pierce; Jim Halicho; and Eric Takahashi of Apple Computer; Michael Antonczak of Indesign; and Matt Barthelemy of Lunar Design for Apple Computer, Inc. The design featured a compact dark grey case with a trackball instead of a mouse. The forward keyboard was innovative, leaving room for palm rests for the user. Power was 16 MHz on the 140, which had a passive-matrix 1 bit screen, and 25 MHz on the 170 with a 1 bit active matrix screen. The design was very successful, capturing 40% of the laptop market. In 2000, IDSA named it a “Design of the Decade.” PowerBooks were upgraded and improved frequently over the years until 2006, when they were essentially replaced by the MacBook Pro. The final PowerBook was a 12-inch, 1.5 GHz G4.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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