PC  Seemingly the opposite of the Mac and everything Apple, of course the term PC or Personal Computer applies just as much to Apple as it does Microsoft, Windows and the legion of dull, beige (now plasticky grey/silver) boxes called PCs. In fact, there’s no computer more personal than one of Apple’s, be it a Mac, iPhone or iPad – for all are personal computers. Unlike Microsoft, Dell, HP et al, Apple somehow builds not just personification but personality into its computers and its brand. DOS and Windows PCs are faceless. The Mac not only had a face, it even said “Hello”.

PageMaker  Aldus Corporation, developer of PageMaker, the software that kickstarted desktop publishing, was named after Aldus Manutius, the inventor of italic type and the semicolon.

PenLite  Unlike the contemporaneous Newton the PenLite was no PDA but closer to the iPad, except with a stylus input device. It ran Mac OS and was based on the innovative PowerBook Duo with a built-in floppy drive (eat your heart out iPad!), but sadly never made it out of Apple’s prototype labs.

Performa  A forgotten part of Apple advertising history is fictional family, the Martinettis, that Apple created to market the Performa range of home Macs. Check out The Martinettis Bring A Computer Home videos on YouTube. You’ll rush out to get a Performa for your home, too. Except that you can’t because Apple scrapped the Performa range in 1997, after it and the Martinettis failed to capture the public’s imagination. A year and one CEO later Apple released the iMac.

PageMaker 7.0 box artwork

Pippin  The Bandai Pippin was a 1995 attempt to create an Apple games console that was also a network computer, or was it a Mac network computer that was also a games console? It doesn’t matter as it was too expensive to be either, and was discontinued after selling just 40,000 units in the US and Japan.

Pirate flag   Addressing the Mac development team in January 1983 team leader Steve Jobs announced that “It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy”. Jobs wanted to keep the Mac team as a rogue unit within Apple, and programmer Steve Capps and Mac iconographer Susan Kare made a Jolly Roger with an Apple logo eye-patch. The flag was hoist above the team’s off-campus office, and stayed there a year, with only one incident when the Lisa team kidnapped it.

Platinum  Apple’s fancy way of saying ‘grey’ from Mac OS 8 to OS 9.

Portable   At the same meeting where Steve Jobs told the Mac team that he wanted them to act like pirates he demanded a “Mac in a book by 1986”. As Steve himself was gone in 1985 the whip wasn’t cracked enough until 1989 when Apple shipped the Mac Portable. This wasn’t so much a “Mac in a book” as a Mac in a bookshop. It weighed a colossal 15.8lb (7.2kg), owing to its sealed lead-acid batteries, and cost $6,500 on release. It was swiftly nicknamed the “Luggable”. It does, however, have the honour of being the first off-the-shelf portable computer used in space.

PowerBook   Realising that the Mac Portable was anything but, Apple sent the schematics to Sony to see if it could do a better job. It did. The PowerBook 100 was a miniature revelation, with built-in trackball and side palm rests, plus its distinctive gun-metal grey casing. After Mac this and Mac that Apple finally hit on a brilliant product name with the PowerBook, and still uses an inferior variant, MacBook (from 2006), today.

PowerBook Duo   Perhaps the most original of the PowerBooks, this more compact, ultraportable subnotebook was even smaller than today’s MacBook Air but considerably fatter. Like the Air it didn’t boast many ports but enjoyed the benefit of special Duo Dock, Mini Dock and Micro Dock connectors.

Power Computing   The first and best of the Mac cloners shipped 100,000 Macs with revenues of $250 million in its first year, and was the first-ever company to sell $1 million of products on the internet.
The trouble with Power Computing was it was too successful for its own, and more importantly Apple’s, good. It undercut Apple pricing and offered faster, better Macs, and that was never going to go down well with the returning Jobs who sanctioned a $100m buyout before closing it and the whole Mac clone business in 1997.

“Apple has to let go of this ghost and invent the future,” he intoned.

PowerPC  Right up until 1994 Apple’s computers ran on Motorola 68000 processors but in order to attack the dominant Intel-based Windows PCs in a straight-out performance battle Apple joined forces with old enemy IBM and its existing chip supplier to create a new alliance called AIM (Apple, IBM, Motorola) and a new breed of RISC-based computer chip, the PowerPC.

Everything went well until IBM told Steve Jobs that it would have a 3GHz G5 in a Mac within the year. Jobs publicly announced just that during his 2003 WWDC keynote. Three years later it had peaked at 2.7GHz. Despite blowing scorn on the “Megahertz Myth” Apple was hurting at this perceived performance gap between its pro Macs and Pentium PCs. And you don’t make Steve look like an idiot without serious consequences. In 2005 Apple announced that it was dumping PowerPC to use Intel processors just like everybody else.

“It’s been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel’s technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years,” said a pissed off Steve.

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