Macintosh Portable: Jean-Louis Gassée builds new lightweight wonder

Posted on by Mike Evans

Hindsight, as we all know, is a wondrous thing. Looking at this introduction of the Macintosh Portable in 1989 makes it very clear that we are living in a different century. Jean-Louis Gassée's rather dry delivery is in contrast to the later style of the Jobs the Great. Steve was still in the wilderness at this time and the bean counters held sway in Cupertino, doing their best to ruin things.

The fascinating aspect of this video is that Gassée actually builds the computer from scratch, plundering a box of tricks to his right. He slots it all together, massive battery and house-sized floppy drives, motherboard, modem, speakers, screen and keyboard. He then presses a button and the marvel of 1989 springs into life. Cue thunderous applause: This would surely take the world by storm. All credit to Jean-Louis for a gutsy performance and a surprisingly positive outcome. Sadly the Macintosh Portable was yet another poor seller and Apple had to wait for the return of the messiah before striking big time again.

Look out for the shots of excited new owners trying to pretend that this monster "laptop" was actually portable. Then take a look at the 2016 Macbook.

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