We’ve all been waiting for Apple to announce a 68040 Mac and a lighter, faster portable. Well, it looks like the wait will soon be over, but there is an unanticipated twist. Rumour has it that the top 2 inches of Apple’s upcoming 25 MHz 68040 Mac TX will actually comprise a pop-out 7.2-pound portable Mac. (I don’t know if that weight includes the battery, but the 68040 is probably less power hungry than the 68030 and a coprocessor, so the battery will last as least long as the other high end portables that Apple will release this fall.) The portable contains the CPU for the TX and one of four memory banks. The two sections of the computer can share the processor and RAM due to the technology that Apple purchased from Outbound. A likely configuration for the portable unit is a 20 MB hard disk and 4 MB of RAM (neither the hard disk nor the RAM will be expandable, but the tower unit will hold more memory and additional SCSI devices). The portable’s screen will be similar to the one in the current Mac Portable, active matrix with backlighting. Also thanks to Outbound, when the portable is not attached, the TX can still function as an AppleShare server, though it’s useless for desktop work.
The Max TX will also contain new technology from General Magic. We aren’t certain of the details, but wireless Mac networking is about to become reality (a tremendous relief to everyone who has dealt with all that tedious wire stripping and untangling). All the information will now be sent via radio waves as per Apple’s petition with the FCC (the actual speed of the network, practically speaking, should be about twice that of LocalTalk). It’s still unclear how this will tie into a setup with more than one building, but third party vendors will certainly provide the necessary hardware.
So essentially what you’ve got in the Mac TX is a killer desktop workstation that can convert to an AppleShare file server and a small portable computer by removing the portable unit. It might be pretty pricey, but this will be the perfect machine for a network administrator or high-powered engineer who has to travel a bit. While the portable is away, the server will play.
MacWEEK — 26-Mar-91, Vol. 5, #12, pg. 1
InfoWorld — 25-Mar-91, Vol. 13, #12, pg. 5
PC WEEK — 25-Mar-91, Vol. 8, #12, pg. 6