12″ PowerBook G4 (Early 2003)

Just two months after Apple boosted the 15.2″ PowerBook to 1 GHz, they surprised a lot of people by rolling out both the largest and the smallest PowerBooks ever, including the first 12″ PowerBook G4.

12" PowerBook G4

The 12″ PowerBook G4 is the first PowerBook in years without a PC Card slot. It’s also the only current model without DVI support and an official memory ceiling of 640 MB. It supports 10 and 100 Mbps ethernet, but not gigabit ethernet. In some respects, it’s more like an aluminum-clad 12″ iBook upgraded with a G4 than a low-end PowerBook.

New features include built-in Bluetooth and support for “five times faster” 802.11g AirPort Extreme. It is the first Apple portable to ship with Nvidia GeForce 4 420 Go graphics, and unlike the similar 12″ iBook, the 12″ PowerBook G4 supports monitor spanning.

At 867 MHz, this just meets the minimum installation requirements for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

The 12″ PowerBook G4 had the third-smallest footprint of any Apple notebook to date at 93.74 square inches, beat out by the PowerBook 2400c (89.25 square inches) and barely edged out by the PowerBook 100 (93.50 square inches). It had the lowest total volume of any Mac ‘Book until the MacBook Air was introduced in 2008.


  • Nickname: Little AlBook
  • Model number: M8760
  • introduced 2003.01.07 at US$1,799; reduced to US$1,599 on 2003.06.02; SuperDrive model available; replaced by 1.0 GHz model 2003.09.16
  • Requires Mac OS X 10.2.4 through 10.5 Leopard, not bootable in OS 9.2.2
  • CPU: 867 MHz G4 (7455)
  • Bus: 133 MHz
  • Performance:
    • Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 436
  • ROM: 4 MB, NewWorld ROM in RAM architecture
  • RAM: 256 MB, officially expandable to 640 MB using PC2100 DDR SDRAM memory (real world testing finds that it supports a 1 GB upgrade for a total 1.25 GB of RAM)
  • Level 2 cache: 256 KB at CPU speed
  • Level 3 cache: none
  • Video: Nvidia GeForce 4 420 Go
  • VRAM: 32 MB
  • Video out: S-video and VGA (with included Apple VGA Display Adapter)
  • display: 12.1″ 24-bit 1024 x 768 106 ppi color active matrix. Supports resolution scaling for 800 x 600 and 640 x 480 as well as monitor spanning.
  • Hard drive: 40 GB 4200 RPM Ultra ATA/100
  • Optical drive: Combo drive (1x SuperDrive optional)
  • floppy drive: external USB only
  • expansions bays: none
  • USB: 2 USB 1.1 ports
  • FireWire: 1 FW400 port
  • IR port: none
  • Ethernet: 10/100Base-T
  • Modem: v.92 56k
  • WiFi: 802.11g AirPort Extreme optional
  • Bluetooth 1.1: built in
  • PC Card slots: none
  • size: 8.6″ x 10.9″ x 1.18″ (219 x 277 x 30 mm)
  • Weight: 4.6 pounds (2.1 kg)

Online Resources


  • Note that some vendors are substituting PC2700 RAM for PC2100 modules. You can’t use both types of RAM in the same machine, and since onboard RAM is PC2100, you cannot use PC2700 in this ‘Book.
  • Portable Computers: Models Which Do Not Have a Backup Battery notes the iBook has no backup battery to retain time and other settings when the main battery is removed. A small capacitor holds enough energy to maintain PRAM contents for 20 seconds, so switch batteries quickly.

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