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What Lenovo Is Planning For ThinkPad for ‘Superfans’

June 22, 2017, 2:05 PM UTC

With a special anniversary coming up, this gadget maker is preparing a special edition of their iconic, ground breaking hardware to wow fans and raise a little extra revenue.

Nope, it’s not Apple’s 10th anniversary special edition iPhone that’s been strongly rumored. In addition to whatever the phone wizards of Cupertino are whipping up for the fall, the laptop gods of Lenovo are also planning a super-special version of the all-black, corporate raider of PCs, the ThinkPad, on its 25th anniversary.

After years of rumors, design chief David Hill let the news slip in a blog post on Wednesday.

“At this point, it seems like the cat’s out of the bag,” Hill wrote. “There are certain things I can now confirm. Yes, Lenovo will be making a special edition ThinkPad as part of the 25th anniversary celebration. It’s aimed at enthusiasts and superfans that were kind enough to share their thoughts about what the laptop might be.”

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Dubbed the Retro ThinkPad Initiative, the laptop will have a black rubberized coating, as opposed to the slick carbon or plastic on most current models, Hill said. Lenovo isn’t releasing exact pricing and availability yet, but the designer said rumors of a $5,000 price tag were totally false.

“I’ve held early development hardware in my hand, powered it on, looked at the screen and even typed on it,” Hill added. “Those who have seen it can’t help but smile. Please be patient, there’s more to come. It’s alive.”

The original ThinkPad laptop made by IBM (IBM) came out in 1992. Conceptualized by designer Richard Sapper, the original model was said to be inspired by a Japanese bento lunchbox. Almost immediately becoming a status symbol across corporate America, ThinkPads also traveled beyond the planet on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

The first model, and pretty much every iteration since, included the now-famous red TrackPoint nestled between the G and H keys, so users didn’t need to carry a separate mouse. It also had a spacious seven-row keyboard, a feature that Hill hinted could return on the retro edition.

To accommodate a more old-school keyboard, the upcoming retro edition might be thicker than Lenovo’s recent cutting edge, 5th-generation ThinkPad Carbon X1 model, the top of the current line up. The latest X1 editions are super thin, only 16 millimeters, in keeping with laptop design trends from Apple (AAPL), Asus, and others. The retro model won’t be anywhere near the thickness of the original ThinkPad, of course, which was 56 millimeters, or 2.2 inches.

The retro edition is also expected to have a taller, less wide screen that shows more top to bottom and less side to side. That helps show more of a spreadsheet than the movie screen like dimensions of current models.

Lenovo took control of ThinkPad development in 2005 when it bought IBM’s entire PC business for $1.75 billion.