(not) Apple's first attempt at a laptop

A project log for Just another Raspberry Pi laptop. Unless...

Do you ever get the feeling that there aren't enough Raspberry Pi laptop projects? Well, my original MacBook and I can help with that.

tylertyler 04/13/2021 at 19:240 Comments

I came across this 2006 Macbook, and in typical hacker fashion immediately started disassembling it. I will note that while this is the first ever "MacBook" branded laptop, it's not Apple's first rodeo. But this was sort of the Wild West of laptops: in this era, we did not have the uniformity we enjoy today. The form factor as a whole was not as mature.

Consequently, the design was not today's (easy?) 'remove the backplate and you're in'. There is a cover in the (empty) battery bay that can be unscrewed to get at the 1GB of RAM, which is on two DIMMs connected to the mainboard. There are a myraid of screws to remove, but eventually, the keyboard+touchpad combo can be removed. Here's what it looks like:

It's fairly simple: hard drive, optical drive, mainboard, a small cooler. (And, of course, the hole for the battery compartment. The airflow would be directed out toward the screen, which I found interesting. It's another element of this laptop's design that is no longer used.

Well, as soon as I got it open it dawned on me that this wasn't helpful at all. I needed to test it, so I hooked the keyboard ribbon cable and plugged it in to a power adapter. It boots just fine, and after about 15 minutes of poking around in Apple's UI (ugh) I got to a terminal. But a Mac is not what we're here for, so it's so long to my little friend.