The phrase ‘Designed by Apple in California,’ neatly inscribed on the back or bottom of a tech product, is as near as you’re going to get to a cast-iron guarantee of quality. But that’s not always been the case. There are more than a few howlers in Apple’s back catalog – and even a few dodgy devices that have been launched more recently.
From the Hockey Puck mouse to the G4 cube, there is no shortage of Apple products that in retrospect didn’t meet the company’s high standards, whether technologically, artistically or commercially.
If you’re a fan of Apple history, then you should get to know these products. You can learn an awful lot about where Apple is today by looking at some of the things that didn’t work in the past; you can also see Apple’s tenaciousness in making an idea (like fanless computers) work even after they’ve bombed.
Here we are listing some of the greatest flops of Apple products ( Please note that the list is not in ascending/descending order)
1. Apple III
Released as a successor to the hit Apple II in 1980, the Apple III sold for $4,340, as opposed to the Apple II which sold for $1,298.
Pricing aside, the main failure behind the Apple III was that Steve Jobs was concerned about using fans to cool the machine. He believed that fans would scare consumers, so the Apple III used no fans or vents, instead of using aluminum as a heat sink. The aluminum shell led to the Apple III being fairly unreliable, and other failures made the Apple III flop hard.
2. Apple Newton
The Newton was released as a series of Personal Digital Assistants in 1993 for $699. Marketed for its innovative handwriting recognition software, it failed to live up to expectations. This failure, as well as its high asking price, hindered sales, and when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he discontinued the product line.
3. Apple QuickTake
The Apple QuickTake was a digital camera that was launched in 1994, for $749. The first consumer digital camera, the QuickTake could store up to 8 photos at a resolution of 640×480, 32 photos at 320×240 resolution, or a combination of the two. The latest model, the QuickTake 200, would switch to using 5V media cards. The QuickTake 100, seen above, operated on a stand and had no monitor to review images, which later models would include. The lens operates at a focal length of 8mm, is proprietary and cannot be changed.
Taken on the QuickTake 100.
The Apple QuickTake did not sell well, as competing for camera brands quickly released their own digital camera lines that operated better for a cheaper price. Upon Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997, the QuickTake line was discontinued.
4. Apple Pippin
The Apple Pippin (stylized as PiPP!N) was, for all intents and purposes, a game console released in 1996 for the price of $599. Made in collaboration with Bandai, the Pippin served as a hybrid between being a traditional computer and a game console, similarly to the Xbox. It had internal memory and an ethernet port for connecting to the internet, as well as a disc drive for inserting CD-ROM games.
The Pippin was poorly marketed and misunderstood by consumers in an already crowded market. It was discontinued in 1997, when Jobs returned to the company.
5. Macintosh TV
The Macintosh TV was released in 1993 for the price of $2,097. It was a personal computer with a built-in 14″ CRT television. The computer can switch from being a Performa 520 to being a Sony Trinitron, with a keyboard, mouse, and remote control.
Sales for the Macintosh TV were abysmal, and it was discontinued in 1994 after selling 10,000 units.