Hardware news Apple’s setbacks: We bet you don’t know the worst products of the brand that made the iPhone
If you think Apple is just having success, you’re a lot off: the company that created the iPhone, MacBook and iPad has had its share of failures, some of which are particularly bitter. Here are the most beautiful Apple failures.
- Macintosh laptop (1989): 7 kg per port
- Newton MessagePad (1993): the predecessor of the iPhone and iPad
- Macintosh TV (1993): Apple TV of the 1990s (or almost)
- Apple III (1980): the first real failure
- Pippin – or Pipp! N – (1996): Cursed Console
- Ping (2010): a social network dedicated to music
- iPod Hi-Fi (2006): speaker connected some time ago
100 million iPhones 12 sold in 7 months, 23 million Macs sold in 2020, 450 million iPods worldwide … Apple’s success sometimes borders on impudence, and one sometimes wonders if the company has already experienced real setbacks. Well, imagine yes, and still happy: in more than 46 years of existence, the California company has launched a lot of products and services, some of which have left only a small mark on the history of technology, or so for the wrong reasons. Here you will discover or rediscover strange, surprising, overly advanced or simply ill-made products that cost Steve Jobs a few million dollars.
Macintosh laptop (1989): 7 kg per port
In 2022, you may have acquired the MacBook Air M1: a great 1.2kg ultraportable with a brilliant color display and 15 hours of battery life. Apple 33 years ago, Apple introduced its first laptop in a slightly different format. The Macintosh Portable actually weighed 7 kg (!) And offered a black and white screen limited to 640 x 400 pixels (which was very good at the time). Inside the Macintosh Portable, the Motorola 68000 processor was clocked at 16 MHz, similar to the Amiga 500 or Atari 520 ST. This first attempt at a “laptop” from Apple sold for $ 6,500 when it was launched and was unsuccessful: too expensive, not very powerful, too bulky … In fact, it did not appeal to anyone. Two years later, Apple released the PoweBook 100, which looks much more like a “real” laptop because it weighs just 2.3 kg. The formula is beginning to take effect.
Newton MessagePad (1993): the predecessor of the iPhone and iPad
When Steve Jobs worked on the iPhone concept in mid-2000, he didn’t start from a blank page. Apple’s founder is truly inspired by one of the company’s most beautiful setbacks: Newton. Newton, released in 1993, is what was then called a “personal assistant.” You may know this type of product through the Palm Pilot, which was much more popular. So Newton is the ancestor of touchpads and uses a stylus (yes, as with the Galaxy Note). The screen is black and white, half-folded A4 format, weighs 484 grams without battery (iPad Air weighs 461 grams today) and offers diary, calculator, notepad and email features… Exactly what smartphones (and more) offer 15 years later . Newton’s flagship argument is its handwriting recognition system, which is being sold as revolutionary by CEO John Sculley (Steve Jobs will not return to command until 4 years later). But the other one is far too capricious and Newton will never find his audience.
Macintosh TV (1993): Apple TV of the 1990s (or almost)
Imagine that Apple sells only 10,000 copies of a new product before it stops production after 6 months. Unthinkable today, but it happened with the Machintosh TV. Launched in October 1993, it disappeared in April 1994 and is now especially rare and sought after. It’s nothing short of a Mac with a TV tuner and remote control, all in a design that fits in the living room or dorm room. The “computer” part was similar to the Performa 520 released a few months earlier, but the screen was a 14-inch screen made by Sony with all the connectors for displaying the TV. But beware: you had to select one or the other function and it was not possible to display the TV in the Mac OS window. An unsuccessful attempt at a time when Apple was launching many (too many) products “just to see.”
Apple III (1980): the first real failure
Let’s go back to the context of the time: in the late 1970s, Apple had a sail, and it had its first success with Apple II (1977), a pioneer in consumer microcomputers. This computer was the gateway to programming and video games for many. But the company is quickly thinking about continuing and is logically thinking about the Apple III. Released in 1980, it is very “professional” and contains many productivity tools. The concern is that the design phase has been delayed and the computer comes with many technical problems: faulty OS, faulty chips vše All for an entry price set at $ 3,400. The failure is corrosive and is forcing the manufacturer to produce its Apple II for much longer than expected. It is estimated that only 75,000 copies of the Apple III were sold in 4 years, while the Apple II – all models combined – would sell more than 12 million copies.
Pippin – or Pipp! N – (1996): Cursed Console
The mid-1990s were crucial to video games: Super Nintendo and Mega Drive were a hit, and Sony was about to revolutionize the market with its first PlayStation. And another is Apple, which has taken it upon itself to release its home console in collaboration with Bandai. The first takes care of the hardware and ecosystem (PowerPC under System 7) and the second is the design. Pippin also has a CD-ROM drive, and it all comes with a particularly special driver. Available only in Japan and the United States (for $ 599 as well), Pipin was already ahead of the competition at the time of release and hadn’t sold more than 45,000 copies. We still remember the “game” Exotic Sushi, which taught you how to properly prepare and taste a certain Japanese specialty based on raw fish.
Ping (2010): a social network dedicated to music
Do you have any memories of the social network that Apple launched twelve years ago? Neither do we, but research for this article has highlighted this fabulous failure. Launched in 2010, Ping described Steve Jobs as “a mixture of Facebook and Twitter dedicated to music sharing.” It allowed people to get to know their musical tastes all around them … The only condition that they use iTunes on a computer or in a special application on the iPhone or iPod Touch. To access Ping, it was really necessary to use Apple’s gas power plant, which cut it off from 80% of its potential audience. Apple still maintains the service for 2 years before stopping charges in 2012.
iPod Hi-Fi (2006): speaker connected some time ago
Apple’s flagship in the early 21st century was undoubtedly the iPod. The pocket music player is a hit and will greatly contribute to the democratization of nomadic music, such as the Walkman from Sony. But in 2006, Apple offered an unprecedented “accessory”: a huge speaker that could hold an iPod with a dedicated port. The idea is far from bad … but society is coming too late. There are already dozens of “compatible” products of the same type, high quality and above all much cheaper. Because at 380 euros per unit, you could also say that the vast majority of the public prefers to turn to alternative solutions. The result: iPod Hi-Fi production stops a year later.
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