Lately, Apple has been doing pretty well in the tech sector. They are currently the most valuable tech company and the second most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil. Of course, you couldn’t always say that about Apple. Jobs, whatever you may think of him and Apple, has worked wonders for turning the company around.
Why not take a look at some of the parts of Apple’s history that the company probably thinks are better left unremembered?
1) Newton MessagePad
The Newton was a system for a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) developed by Apple. It was pretty high-tech for the time, and definitely helped set the tone for future PDAs. Still, it just didn’t take off quite like Apple would have liked it to. However, it does have a small set of fans, and some have even developed emulations of the software to run on iDevices. Though the Newton itself wasn’t a huge commercial success, it’s possible that it taught Apple a few things about reaching their desired market for later devices like the iPhone and iPad.
2) Hockey Puck Mouse
There’s not enough space in this post to go on about this mouse. It’s one of those notoriously bad Apple products that we will probably never stop giving them heat for, but it’s well-deserved for putting out this little USB mouse. Still, it’s a part of Apple’s history that we are sure they’d like to forget. On the bright side, they probably learned to always be mindful when they design mice from there on out.
3) Apple TV First-Gen
The idea was actually pretty cool. Unfortunately, the initial price was a bit hard to swallow. It also took Apple a little while to really start offering content people wanted. The rentals came later as well. Before long, Apple TV was too little too late as streaming services like Netflix became the preferred way to watch movies and ran on gaming consoles that people already owned, like the Xbox 360. In 2010 Apple reinvented their set-top box, and while it’s by no means their most successful product, it seems to be doing much better than its past iterations. This is no doubt thanks to the more welcoming $99 price point and the push for 99-cent rentals as well as the increasing popularity of the company in the world of consumer electronics. We have yet to see how the product does in the long term, but the outlook is much more positive.
4) G4 Cube
This was a VERY cool-looking computer. It was only sold from 2000 to 2001, and that’s probably because the base model set you back $1600 when it was released. It was priced at $200 more than the low-end PowerMac G4 at the time, and had less features. Oh well. So much for that one.
5) 20th Anniversary Mac
This was another victim of cool design-high price tag that has plagued many of Apple’s products. While it looks very old by today’s standards, this was a very interesting design for its time. Now, if you thought the Cube (or any of Apple’s current computers are expensive) wait until you hear this one. The 20th Anniversary Mac was priced at $7,499. Yeah. Given, it had a very executive-type look to it, because it was designed for big time corporate guys who wanted to work from a cool-looking, elegantly-styled computer. Unfortunately, they weren’t having it, either. It was discontinued less than a year after its release. According to Wikipedia, it was a rushed product because Apple’s 20th anniversary snuck up on them and they felt they had to do something to commemorate that.
6) PowerBook 5300
The early models of this laptop were known for catching fire. One is said to have caught fire at an Apple employee’s house, and another at the factory. The problem turned out to be a lithium-ion battery that Sony had manufactured. It overheated while charging. Still, Apple had to shake the exploding laptop reputation away if they wanted to succeed.
7) The Pippin
Released in 1996, this console was designed by Apple and produced by Bandai. The truth is, it didn’t look very far off from the gaming consoles of its time (the Saturn, N64 and PlayStation) but it was a losing battle to wage war against SEGA, Nintendo and Sony, whose PlayStation would later become the leader of the console market for years to come. Apparently the Pippin’s sales were reported at 42,000 units. Ouch. Yeah, it takes a serious push to get a console out, and the truth is, we didn’t even know this thing ever existed until maybe a few years ago (as we are sure many others can say too). That just goes to show that the system was definitely not marketed well.
8) The Might Mouse
This was a lot like the previous Mice Apple had released, but added that little scroll ball to the top. It wasn’t pleasing to look at, because it took away from the smooth, sleek look of the rest of the mouse. On top of that, if you didn’t wash your hands every five minutes, the thing would become filled with gunk. Worse, was the fact that the gunk was near-impossible to clean out. Not to mention the fact that it was for some reason named after an old cartoon character.
There is no way to predict a product launch. Not even Apple can know how successful or how much of a failure a product will be. Heck, some thought the iPhone was doomed to fail thanks to the high price. We were excited about the iPad, but there were still plenty of people out there who thought it didn’t have a chance or a real practical use. Turned out it was another hit for Apple. The Apple TV? Not so much.