Mercury Week: Expansion Bays

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

In case you missed it, we broke a story last week about Mercury shipping with a nVIDIA video subsystem, making Merc Apple’s first system to ship with video from nVIDIA.

This week we begin a series on Mercury, the new PowerBook G4 that Apple will be announcing at Macworld Expo SF 2001 [09-12 January 2001].

Expansion Bays

Sit down. The PowerBook expansion bay as you know it is gone from Mercury. Gone. Extinct. And it is unlikely to ever return. Instead, a slot-loading DVD-ROM is fixed in the right bay and the battery is fixed (as we reported months ago) in the bottom of the unit, similar to the iBook battery design.

So why no expansion bays, you ask? For starters, it takes a lot of engineering to make an expansion bay that will easily accommodate third party vendors and time equals money, so you can see where I am going with that one.

If you are worried about its lack of expansion bays, fret no more. Mercury will feature dual 12 Mbps USB and dual 400 Mbps FireWire ports allowing you to connect almost any peripheral on the planet. Ok, so it’s not quite as elegant as that sweet internal CD-R expansion bay drive from MCE, but we think that the tradeoff in weight may be worth it.

You sacrifice a lot when you try to engineer a slot so that it is accommodating to the maximum number of third party vendors. By eliminating the expansion bay slot on Mercury Apple saved a lot of time and money in engineering but it also allowed them to make the model thinner than any other full-size PowerBook. The result will be a PowerBook G4 that is less than 1.5-inches thick when closed. See, I told you everything would be ok.

Now, don’t get me started on the single “fixed” battery solution. This is bound to cause problems for intercontinental travelers that will practically need to disassemble Merc to change batteries – unless, of course, it ships with some killer, long-lasting battery technology. One thing is for certain: Apple has thought about the long distance traveler, too.

Tomorrow: Mercury Audio

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