Meet the ‘world-saving’ PowerBook 5300

Aug25August 25, 1995: Apple releases the PowerBook 5300, the same Mac laptop computer that will save the entire world from alien invaders in the 1996 blockbuster motion picture Independence Day.

The personal computer helps make a entire large amount extra significant-display appearances as well, for that issue. See some of the laptop’s most substantial-profile cameos beneath.

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PowerBook 5300: Apple’s Hollywood computer

Apple usually did a terrific position finding its products in films. But 1995’s PowerBook 5300 did a good deal far better than most, primarily owing to its starring job in so quite a few films.

In Independence Working day, for instance, the Mac (a platform that was just starting to get better at interfacing with Home windows PCs) plugs into the alien mothership, courtesy of its 100MHz processor, 64MB RAM and Mac OS 7.5.2 running process. The laptop or computer then deactivates the enemy ship’s shields by uploading a virus.

Not all on-monitor appearances by Apple computer systems proved so auspicious. As Owen Linzmayer relates in his outstanding (even though now significantly out-of-date) reserve Apple Private 2., the most significant missed prospect for the PowerBook 5300 on the major monitor arrived in 1996’s Mission Difficult, in which Tom Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt makes use of the laptop computer.

Why deem this a missed option? Because Apple built the $15 million sponsorship offer late in production, and consequently had no say above the screenplay. As a end result, the Mac demonstrates up on-screen operating a command-line interface instead of Mac OS, making it seem way behind the Home windows 95 operating system then jogging on PCs.

Even worse, when a especially rough career turns up later in the motion picture, the Mission Extremely hard team’s computer system pro prescribes the use of nonexistent “Thinking Equipment laptops.” Supposedly only those people pcs are up to the task at hand.

The PowerBook gets some screen time

You can see some of the PowerBook 5300’s massive-screen cameos in the images down below.

The PowerBook 5300's Hollywood agent had a busy couple of years
The PowerBook 5300’s Hollywood agent had a fast paced few of many years.
Picture: Starring the Computer

PowerBook 5300 faces actual-environment issues

Befitting Apple’s poor luck at the time, its most superior-profile Mac in yrs (at minimum in phrases of display screen time) endured some uncomfortable failures. Right after Apple shipped the initially 1,000 units to sellers all-around the United States, news broke that two creation models caught hearth. One particular went up in flames at the home of an Apple programmer. The other burned up at Apple’s factory in China.

“The primary hallmark for Apple is relieve of use,” wrote Pieter Hartsook, editor of The Hartsook Letter, at the time. “If your machine does not get the job done, it is not simple to use.”

Apple issued a recall on the 100 PowerBook 5300s presently bought, and changed them with another device. When these turned out to have only two-thirds of the difficult drive ability of their predecessors, Apple was forced to lower the price tag of the laptop by $100. As a final result, when likely potential buyers observed the PowerBook 5300 plastered about motion picture screens, they could not acquire a person of the desktops. Sponsorship bargains generally really do not function properly when this form of point occurs!

At the time Apple sorted out these difficulties, even so, the PowerBook 5300 became a reliable example of a mid-’90s Apple notebook. Considerably, it was the 1st PowerBook based mostly on Apple’s PowerPC CPU — the same processors that continued to be utilized by Macs right up until 2006, when Apple made the swap to Intel chips. (Cupertino began its incredibly prosperous changeover to proprietary Apple silicon in 2020.)

The PowerBook 5300 holds just one other doubtful difference. The top-conclusion PowerBook 5300ce came with a $6,500 price tag, earning it the most expensive Apple notebook ever. (Adjusted for inflation, that is much more than $12,600 in today’s income.)

Do you bear in mind the PowerBook 5300? Fall us a line with your ideas and recollections underneath.

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