• PowerBook 500 redirects here; there was never a "PowerBook 500".

The PowerBook 500 series were released in May 1994 and was the first major update to the PowerBook series since their release in 1991.

The 500 series encompass the following PowerBooks:

At the same time, the PowerBook 280 and PowerBook 280c were released, although they do not necessarily belong to the 500 series.



The most significant change to the new PowerBooks was the replacement of the trackball with the trackpad. The trackpad has since been praised. Most people prefer the trackpad to the trackball. Switching over to the trackpad is exceptionally easy.

The trackball was never seen again in the PowerBook line. The trackpad continued its evolution throughout the whole PowerBook line and even made itself into the iBook line of portable Macs in 1999.


Just after the launch of the new PowerBooks, Apple announced the PowerBook Expansion Module for USD 199, which enabled the new PowerBooks to accept PCMCIA cards (or PC cards for short).

The PowerBook 500 series can accept one Type III PCMCIA card or two Type II PCMCIA cards. Initially, however, the Macintosh system software restricted use of Type II cards to just one card at a time.


The new battery that accompanies the 500 series PowerBooks -- the PowerBook Intelligent Battery -- is a multicelled NiMH power pack with a built-in chip which tracks power usage and tells the PowerBook how to manage and preserve power. The new battery lasts 2 - 4 hours per charge, depending on how the user actually uses the laptop.

Additionally, the PowerBook 500 series come with two battery compartments, one of which can be removed for the usage of PCMCIA cards.

Sources and References

  • MacUser magazine, July 1994: "All New PowerBooks", pages 78 - 83

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