Building Bridges

PowerBook 165c: 19 Years of Color to Go

- 2012.02.10 - Tip Jar

PowerBook 165cNineteen years ago, Apple introduced the very first color PowerBook, the PowerBook 165c. Running a 33 MHz 68030 Processor, 4 MB RAM, and an 80 MB hard drive gave it the same level of performance as the PowerBook 180, which was the most powerful PowerBook at the time.

For many users, the 165c gave people a reason to buy their first PowerBook, because it finally had color. But this luxury came at a price, as the PowerBook 165c had a passive matrix display, had only one hour of rated battery life, and cost $3,400 (approximately $5,500 today when adjusted for inflation).

What I find most amazing is that when you look at how much these machines cost when they were new, it is difficult to imagine how anyone could think that Macs are overpriced today. Look at how much more you get today for $1,000 than you did back in the early '90s, and I think you'll agree.

The PowerBook 165c was just one small step in getting us to where we are today; it was a nice little machine that gave users the option of color on the go, which today is something that we more than take for granted.

While I have not personally owned a PowerBook 165c, I have owned several of the 100 series PowerBooks, and I've always been impressed with their design and ruggedness. Many of these PowerBooks have lasted two decades now, and even with their original hard drives, most are still ticking away just fine.

I wonder how well the MacBook Pros of today will hold up over the next two decades. Hopefully the unibody construction helps.

Happy birthday, 165c! Here's to the next 19 years of service you will no doubt dedicate to your owners. LEM

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Chris Carson is a longtime Mac user and a more recent convert to iPhone and iPad.

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