Vintage Prototype Macintosh Portable M5120 Shown Off in New Photos

It's always interesting to get a look back at Apple's past, especially when it comes to prototype devices that were never actually released to the public, so we thought we'd share some photos of a restored Macintosh Portable M5120, sent to us by Sonny Dickson.

macintoshportableprototype1
Unlike the launch version of the Macintosh Portable, which was sold in the late 1980s in a beige color, this model is a prototype made from a clear plastic material. It's been restored and it is one of only six that are known to exist.

macintoshportableprototype2
When it was released, the Macintosh Portable was priced at $7,300 and it was the first Mac powered by a battery. Despite the name, the Macintosh Portable weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds, but it was still more transportable than standard computers of the era.

macintoshportableprototype3
There are no screws in the Macintosh Portable and it was designed to be taken apart with just the hands, a feat not possible with current laptop computers. It featured a 9.8-inch black and white active matrix LCD display, 9MB SRAM, a 1.44MB floppy disk drive, a typewriter-style keyboard, and a trackball setup that allowed the trackball to be positioned at either the left or the right.

macintoshportableprototype5
A hinged design let the display be closed up over the keyboard when not in use, reminiscent of more modern laptop designs, and there's a built-in handle. The battery inside was a lead-acid battery, which, when the machines were launched, was able to last for approximately 8 to 10 hours.

macintoshportableprototype6
Apple sold the Macintosh Portable alongside the Apple IIci, and it never really caught on due to its high price tag. After launching it in 1989, Apple made one followup version, the Macintosh Portable M5126, but it was discontinued just six months later, with Apple nixing the Portable line entirely in 1991.

macintoshportableprototype4
After the Macintosh Portable was discontinued, Apple moved on to the PowerBook, which came out later that year.

Top Rated Comments

justperry Avatar
31 months ago
An iPhone weighs about a 1/40 of this and is *100.000 times as fast, how times have changed....:)


*If not more
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rick3000 Avatar
31 months ago
I like how even back then Apple though about the user experience by making the trackball work on the right or left.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
torontotim Avatar
31 months ago
I bought one of these by mail order to Canada in 1992. Seem to recall paying $1800 for it back then which was nuts, but it served me well. I took it to an ethnographic field school in Arizona, did tons of work on it, used it for a couple of years to follow till I was immersed in 'work' PCs.

Still have it. Doesn't boot, but it lights up.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
supergt Avatar
31 months ago
No buy. Waiting for it to come out in midnight green ;)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
konqerror Avatar
31 months ago
16 pounds! but at least got all those ports unlike the modern generations! Those were the times!!
Not at all. All of those ports were device specific and, except for SCSI and ADB, you only got exactly one device per port. No equivalent to a USB hub.

Let's look at the ports. Most of them were Apple proprietary or at least Mac-specific: analog video, power, ADB, 2 Serial, Floppy. Only analog audio and SCSI was non-proprietary (and even then SCSI was rare in the PC world).

Except for video and power, most are handled by USB today, and all of them are replaced by USB-C. What is handled by one typical USB-C dock connection today, would be 5 separate cables (ADB, printer, modem, power, video)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Khedron Avatar
31 months ago
Bet the keyboard is still more reliable than a new butterfly
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...
appleprivacyad cleaned

iOS 15 Patched Security Hole That Potentially Exposed Users' Private Apple ID Information to Third-Party Apps

Thursday January 20, 2022 3:32 am PST by
Apple patched two significant security vulnerabilities when it released iOS 15 that could have potentially exposed users' private Apple ID information and in-app search history to malicious third-party apps and allowed apps to override user Privacy preferences, Apple has revealed in a recent support document update. With most iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates, Apple provides a list of...
safari icon blue banner

macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 Release Candidates Fix Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Thursday January 20, 2022 1:30 pm PST by
The macOS Monterey 12.2 and iOS 15.3 release candidates that came out today appear to address a Safari bug that could cause your recent browsing history and details about your identity to be leaked to malicious entities. As shared last week by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Any website that uses...