iPod 2nd Generation
This is the iPod that started it all… almost. Released in 2002, this was the first major revision to Apple’s iPod, which at the time was still relegated to Mac users with deep pockets. The second gen model uses the same case design as the first, but replaces the mechanical scroll wheel (that actually turns) with the touch-based wheel that would appear on every subsequent iPod since. It was also the first to include software to sync with Windows, however Windows users still need a FireWire port to actually use it (this was pre-dock connector). I picked up mine as part of “junk box” for $30 which isn’t bad for a device that cost $499 when released and can go for more than half that now. After a quick cleaning and charge, it is working great. It’s the 20 GB model. It’s amazing to look at it in comparison to a later iPod or an iPhone. It’s so thick at a little over ¾ inch. Crazy!
Power Mac 5500/225
This is one of Apple’s traditional all-in-one designs from the 1995 – 1998 era. The 5000 series is similar to the Performa / LC 500 series in that it bundles a 14″ color monitor, speakers, CPU, hard drive, expansion slots, CD-ROM drive, and floppy drive into one unit. The 500 series is based on the Motorola 68k series of CPUs (030/040) and the 5000 series is based on the PowerPC. The 5000 series has a more integrated design than the 500; where 500 series machines look like a monitor stacked on a CPU stacked on a set of speakers, the 5000 series looks more like a monitor with a slightly taller base that contains a speaker and computer.
The 5000 series was positioned towards the lower-end of Apple’s product line, making it especially popular in schools. The reduction in components and cords was a benefit as well. Despite being an all-in-one design, the 5000 series offers a significant number of expansion slots – a PCI slot, a comm slot for a modem or Ethernet card, a video in slot, and a TV tuner slot. This is far more expansion than the Apple’s original all-in-one Macintosh offered and far more than the 1998 iMac that helped fuel the company’s turn around.
Believe it or not, I’ve been looking for a 5000 series Mac for almost two years now. They tend to sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay and cost another $50 or $60 to ship due to their weight. I technically only paid $1.04 for this one and then another $50 to ship it. It’s a 5500 model that doesn’t have the technical issues that plagued the original 5200 models. I really like the design of the 5000 series; it’s smooth and well-integrated while offering a surprising amount of expansion.
If it was 1993 and you were any kind of consumer electronics company you sold some sort of a CD player. If you were any kind of computer company you sold some sort of CD-ROM drive. If you were both you sold some sort of.. both? Behold the Apple PowerCD. Styled like a consumer electronics device (think Sony Discman), the PowerCD could act as a CD-ROM drive when connected to a Mac or a standalone CD player otherwise. It included a dock that allowed it to connect to a Mac and also housed a rechargeable battery that could power it when it went out.
The PowerCD was all over Apple’s marketing material in 1994 and I really love it. They are incredibly difficult and expensive to find, usually selling for $100 – $200. I got mine for $45, but it doesn’t have the dock. That’s quite a bummer because it doesn’t actually work without the dock, but at least I have part of a part of Apple history.
The PowerBook Duo was the MacBook Air of the nineties – small, light, and limited. It didn’t include a floppy drive (CD-ROMs weren’t even a thing in laptops back then), had a small display, a small keyboard, and only a small number of ports. If you wanted to plug in anything but a keyboard you had to buy a dock. There were full docks like the DuoDock which provided a smattering of ports (SCSI, ADB, Serial, audio, video) as well as a floppy drive, internal hard drive, extra memory, and even an FPU; as well as smaller docks like the Duo MiniDock that skipped the memory and drives but kept the ports. Adding a MiniDock turned your lightweight Duo into some level of a fully functioning computer.
These still go for quite a bit of money on eBay, but I got mine for $20. I haven’t had time to plug it in to see if it actually works, but it’s in good condition so it should be fine.
PowerBook 2400c Floppy Drive
The 2400c is the successor to the Duo and the predecessor to the MacBook Air. Released way back in 1997, it too had to ditch some expansion to reduce weight and size. In this case it was the standard-issue floppy drive and CD-ROM. Apple didn’t even sell a CD-ROM for it, but they did sell a fancy floppy drive that plugged into its proprietary floppy port. Apple may have killed the floppy a year later with the introduction of the iMac, but people were willing to pay a pretty penny for this thing back in the day. I scored mine for $15, which is fantastic as they usually go for $50 – $100 in good condition.