IBM ThinkPad 560E


At the time Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he felt the IBM ThinkPads were the best-built laptop computers on the market. So much so that he brought them to Apple’s designers as a model of where the PowerBook line needed to go.

Jobs used ThinkPads to run the OPENSTEP for Mach operating system created by his newly-acquired NeXT, Inc. OPENSTEP would soon become the new Apple OS project Rhapsody which was released as Mac OS X Server in 1999.  With the addition of the Aqua user interface, the legacy of NeXT was reborn into the Mac OS X lineage we know today.

Released in 1995, OPENSTEP 4 for Mach was a fusion of the NeXTSTEP operating system and the OpenStep APIs. This operating system was ported to Motorola 68k (NeXT “black” hardware), Intel x86, HP PA-RISC and Sun Spark processors. In addition, the OpenStep APIs were ported for use with Solaris and Windows NT operating systems.

This ThinkPad 560E is running OPENSTEP 4.2 for Intel x86. It features a 166 MHz Pentium MMX processor, 80 MB RAM, a 2 GB hard disk drive, 12” TFT display, 3COM EtherLink III and an Adaptec 2640 SCSI PCMCIA cards. It was purchased from Brad at ComputerPartsGalore.

The 560E certainly strikes me as a prototype for the Dual USB iBook design as a compact, stylish 12” notebook computer.