Introduced in 1989, at over 4 kg the Outbound Laptop was significantly lighter and easier to carry than Apple's own Macintosh Portable, which became available at around the same time. However, due to Apple's refusal to license its software in read-only memory (ROM), Outbound users had to install a Mac ROM to make the computer work. The ROM was typically removed from an older Mac, a process that would render the donor Mac unusable. Even with this additional cost, a typical price of US $4,000 compared favorably to that of the Mac Portable.
The Outbound featured a built-in pointing device located below the keyboard; it was a cylinder that scrolled up and down and slid left and right.
Another popular feature is that the Outbound ran on standard camcorder batteries, rather than expensive custom batteries, as was common for most portable computers.
The Outbound Laptop was succeeded by the Outbound Notebook in 1991. Apple's introduction of the PowerBook later that year led to the demise of the Mac-compatible laptop market. Probably more significant than the increased competition, was the fact that the Outbound was using ROMs under a licensing agreement with Apple. Apple refused to license the use of subsequent proprietary ROMs to Outbound and so the company's ability to manufacture laptops ended when the 68000 processors became too difficult to obtain. For a short time after Outbound went out of business a small group of former employees set up a company to handle service and warranty issues.
The company, Outbound Systems, was located at 4840 Pearl East Circle, Boulder, CO 80301; (303) 786-9200, (800) 444-4607. Due to the kangaroo logo, many believed that it was an Australian firm.