Blackbird Prototype


The PowerBook 500 series were laptop computers of many firsts. They were the first computers with a trackpad pointing device. The first laptops with 16-bit stereo sound. The first laptops with a multi-use expansion bay. The first laptops with built-in ethernet.

This is an engineering prototype of the PowerBook 540c that features a 33MHz 68040 processor, 12 MB RAM, 9.5” 8-bit color active matrix display, 250 MB SCSI hard disk drive and 1.44 MB floppy drive. A transparent, adhesive plastic sheet covers a hole in the bottom case providing access to the the removable firmware chip. This allowed easy testing of the latest builds. Other notable differences from production machines are the “PowerBook YYY” label on the display, a soft, rubberized coating on the outer display case (similar to a PowerBook G3 Series), a universal “power” symbol on the soft power button and prototype labeling on the underside.

This machine was another very generous gift from “Fabio”. Thanks again! It features 12 MB RAM and a 250 MB internal hard drive. It boots into the final PowerBook 500 Series build of System 7.1.1. Well worn and sporting a trashed printer port, it got a thorough cleaning but no repair. I liked the idea of leaving it as I got it.