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Cloud Native/NFV

ThinkPad at 25: Looking Back at an Icon

Before the cloud, artificial intelligence, big data and even the smartphone, there was the personal computer -- still the most basic of all enterprise IT.

One of the most iconic of all PCs is the ThinkPad. First developed by IBM 25 years ago as a portable PC, the brand is now manufactured by Lenovo, which bought Big Blue's PC division in 2005.

While the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone looms this month, the ThinkPad is marking its silver anniversary as well, and at Lenovo's recent Transform show at the Metropoitian Pavillion in New York City, the company brought out several vintage models dating back to the original design that went on sale in 1992. (See Lenovo Eyes Bigger Roles in Cloud, Data Center.)

Originally designed by Richard Sapper for IBM, the ThinkPad laptop has, for the most part, kept its simple, square, black design, although it has gotten thinner and more lightweight over the years as components have shrunk and storage, first in hard disk drives and later solid state drives, have moved to the cloud. The latest models allow for detachable screens that carry on as tablets.

Still considered one of the reliable business laptops, the ThinkPad has been to space, and its design is iconic enough that the machine is also considered a museum piece -- a work of art.

Let us now travel back to the halcyon days of 1992, when IT computing was just getting started, and see how the ThinkPad has withstood the test of time. If you have any fond memories of a particular ThinkPad, let us know in the comments section below.

25 Years of the ThinkPad
25 Years of the ThinkPad

(All images by Scott Ferguson for Enterprise Cloud News)

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Mitch Wagner 6/23/2017 | 11:00:44 AM
Iconic Unlike most laptops and PCs of that era, the 1992-95 Thinkpads don't look all THAT old-fashioned. I think in part it's because they went with black and stuck with it, rather than the beige boxes that were omnipresent back then. 
Scott_Ferguson 6/23/2017 | 11:05:57 AM
Re: Iconic @Mitch: That's a great point. There's something to be said about staying with a certain aesthetic. The true difference is the weight and the screen size. Screens have expanded and the thickness has shrunk -- making it a truly portable device. 
Michelle 6/23/2017 | 2:49:45 PM
Celebrating tech Whoa!? What's that thing in the last slide?
Scott_Ferguson 6/23/2017 | 2:54:33 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Michelle: Retro is in...
Ariella 6/23/2017 | 3:12:37 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Scott It is, in fact all computers are too modern looking for some tastes. There are those who still want the typewriter. But as they like modern functionality, you get things like these: 
Scott_Ferguson 6/23/2017 | 3:14:16 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Ariella: That is too funny
Mitch Wagner 6/23/2017 | 4:21:52 PM
Re: Iconic I recently saw a fascinating promotional video Apple did around 1990, predicting personal computing in the 21st Century. The video predicted that the PC would still be the hub of connected computing -- rather than the phone. 

Also interesting: The video predicted the Mac industrial design woudl remain unchanged from that period -- beige rectangular boxes with built-in screens. The narrator said it would be viewed as classic and unchanged, like the shape of a Coke bottle. 

Brilliant prediction -- and utterly wrong. 
Phil_Britt 6/25/2017 | 12:01:29 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Ariella,

 

Sorry, but as one who learned to type on an old, rickety Underwood, I would never be nostalgic for such a device for actual work. Far too much white out. The cartridge electrics were so much better. Bought one out of very limited funds while a junior in college and needed the better efficiency just to get through writing assignments. With the engineers to build them, at Purdue's newspaper, we had the first VDTs in the Big 10 -- and I had one first eat an article nearly 40 years ago. But even so, typewriters were big, bulky and had a ton of their own problems. No nostalgia there for me.
Michelle 6/25/2017 | 4:42:45 PM
Re: Celebrating tech @Ariella Those are neat, but I have to say I really really like the modern computer keyboard. A typewriter is a bit better than typing on an iPad screen, however.
Scott_Ferguson 6/26/2017 | 7:24:13 AM
Re: Celebrating tech @Michelle: I couldn't do my job day-in, and day-out without the keypad. I know some people do everything on their tablets and I have one myself, but when it comes down to it, I still need that keypad each day. I'm also still addicted to the mouse and have to travel with one all the time.

 
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