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The Worst Apple Products of All Time 469

An anonymous reader writes "While Apple is frequently referred to as a leader in consumer electronic product design, the history of the company is filled with examples of poor design and questionable product strategies. This list of Apple's worst ever products includes some interesting trivia, including Apple's overpriced eWorld Internet service, their painfully bad attempt at a 'value' computer (the Performa), the much-loathed 'hockey puck' mouse, and the Apple Pippin gaming platform. The article also includes the infamous Apple III, which overheated so badly that it prompted one of the strangest repair techniques ever: 'Users were advised to pick the computer up a few inches off the ground and then drop it, hopefully jostling the chips back into position.'"
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The Worst Apple Products of All Time

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  • by rimcrazy ( 146022 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:09AM (#31143106)

    Love their products in general. MacPro and MacBook user myself but I hate their mice and their keyboards. They both have always sucked.

    The Lisa sucked big time. As did Newton but ... they paved the way for future products some by Apple some not that were quite successful.

    No guts no glory. They at least stick their neck out there and try things. Sometimes it does not always work.

  • Re:The List (Score:5, Interesting)

    by u38cg ( 607297 ) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:13AM (#31143116) Homepage
    Huh. My first computer was a recycled Apple III and I had a lot of fun with it. Never overheated once, although it wasn't until after several years I got curious and popped off the case, and discovered a second memory module which had been rattling around loose all the time I had owned it. And nothing says technology like a 5MB hard drive.
  • Mobile Me? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by albyrne5 ( 893494 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:14AM (#31143134)
    I made the switch to Apple about 2 years ago - iPhone, iMac and Mac Book Pro, and I've been very very pleased with almost every single aspect.


    It's f***ing DOG-DIRT! Whether it's sync issues or the server dying, or e-mails vanishing into thin air; there's always SOMETHING going wrong with the goddamn thing.

    And I keep holding on thinking, "well they're bound to get it right sooner or later", but it's later and later and later, and still no sign of it ever being fixed. Drives me batty.
  • Laptops (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:17AM (#31143154)
    It's strange that the early multi-coloured iMac laptops are not on the list. I still have nightmares of the semi-transparent coloured plastic fad those things 'inspired'. I think I might vote for those as the ugliest computer ever designed. It's especially strange given that the later laptops are some of the nicest looking machines around.
  • No G4 Cube? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:21AM (#31143188)

    At least Apple learns from it's mistakes. they finally found a home for the cube/box computer as the Mac Mini and a lot of people like it. and if you look at almost everything Steve Jobs has built over the years starting from the 1980's, it's like he's making the same computer over and over again. everything in one unit except for the keyboard and mouse

  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:27AM (#31143224) Journal
    In general the whole article just laughs at old products from a today perspective. In the top 10 are also the PowerPC and MacOS 9. I think it misses the point half of the time.
  • Re:The List (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:38AM (#31143284)

    Except that Quicktime Player 1-3 and Quicktime Player X are excellent programs. I would agree with you for everything between Quicktime Player 4 and Quicktime Player 7.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:40AM (#31143300)

    I agree totally that their mice suck, but I adore their keyboards. To offset the mouse bit too – their track pads are by far the best in the business.

  • Re:The List (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @09:41AM (#31143306)

    As someone who has been using Macs since around 1990 I disagree with quite a number of points on this list. First of all, the worst Apple product ever is without any doubt the Performa 5200 [lowendmac.com], but not the whole performa line. I've owned several performas that were very good and compact machines. Regarding the 5200, it is true that just about everything about this machine was wrong: its weight, its design, the built-in monitor, the speed (Powermac, but slower than most 68k Macs). The next point: OS 9 was an absolutely great OS and IMHO only OS 6 was better at its time. At least, unlike OS X, OS 9 is able to remember window sizes and positions. As for the "honorable mention" color classic, this still is a great machine. I once had one and have always regretted that I had sold it. It was completely silent and with a few modifications would be quite suitable for text processing today.

    Moreover, given that the author of this article claims that Power PC (especially the B/W Macs) were a failure, I doubt whether he has ever owned a Mac at all. I bought a b/w Power PC Mac just when it came out, it absolutely rocked, and was usable for around 10 years. Generally speaking, the built quality of Power PC Macs was much better (except for the Performa 5200) than today's Macs. (To be fair, the b/w Mac keyboard really sucked.) In fact, the built quality of Macs has declined constantly since the Mac Plus (I have one standing on my shelf, it still boots without problems) and is worse than ever now with the exception of that of the overprized Mac Pro.

    To cut a long story short, some of the items in the list are fairly incomprehensible and I suspect the author of the article has never owned or used them.

  • Re:What, no iPad? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:23AM (#31143614) Homepage

    ...and *I* bet you wake up at night and run around scaring children peeking in their windows!

    What huge and wild speculation you make there? You make a wild speculation and then presume it is true and then go about drawing further conclusions as if the wild speculations were established fact.

    I think you will agree that Vista was a failure before it started. Why? Because as release time got nearer, amazing new features were pulled one by one from the list of new features and it simply disappointed and underwhelmed the public that was craving something amazing. In the end, the public got Windows XP with DRM up the wazoo and the Aero window dressing that could barely run on new PCs. Now let's look at iPad. People wanted an Apple netbook. They have been speculating about it for years and even created Netbooks running Mac OS X for themselves that they were very happy with. People doing things for themselves for a great deal of time did a better job that Apple did when they created their giant iPod.

    You can't seriously be suggesting that we "wait to see what the people will do" can you?

    I predict the following will happen-- Apple will quietly drop the iPad. They are too proud to discount them. If they dropped them in price to make them more attractive, people will buy them up, install regular Mac OS X on them and create the netbooks they have been asking for all along. Apple will have none of that. Apple does not want users creating things for themselves.

  • Re:What, no iPad? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:41AM (#31143834) Journal

    I think you will agree that Vista was a failure before it started. Why? Because as release time got nearer, amazing new features were pulled one by one from the list of new features and it simply disappointed and underwhelmed the public that was craving something amazing. In the end, the public got Windows XP with DRM up the wazoo and the Aero window dressing that could barely run on new PCs. Now let's look at iPad. People wanted an Apple netbook.

    There's no doubt the iPad is underwhelming, but you've over looked the obvious problem with your comparison. Vista was hyped by Microsoft and under-delivered. The iPad was hyped by the press (not Apple), and didn't meet up to lofty expectations. Apple has created a nice internet appliance that will find its niche, and eventually improve in features, price & performance with each iteration, just like the iPod has.

  • Re:The List (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Saint Fnordius ( 456567 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:56AM (#31144010) Homepage Journal

    Gotta agree with you there.But the PowerPC chips kept the Mac alive longer than a switch to any other processor at the time; they were close enough to the Motorola 680x0 line that the OS could be ported with decent emulation to run older binaries. It was only near the end, when Motorola and IBM lost interest in going head to head with intel that Apple decided to switch again.

    I think the Performa got singled out as a line despite there being gems in the mix due to how terrible it was for the stores to sell. Looking back now it was muddled, and infuriating. The only thing that made it worse was when Apple began to license System 7.5 to other manufacturers, and effectively shot themselves in the foot. As a series, it was a mess. I had one of those awful 5200 machines, mainly because it also doubled as my television.

    I also don't see Mac OS 9 as a failure, as it was built specifically to be the "classic" part of Mac OS X. In that role, especially as Mac OS 9.2, it performed admirably. I still use it now and then to run vintage games.

    I am surprised to see that the G4 Mac Cube wasn't mentioned, nor the Newton. Both of those products were cases of Apple falling flat, though the Cube did turn out to be a "break even" model for Apple that was overhyped.

  • by RR ( 64484 ) on Monday February 15, 2010 @12:25PM (#31145158)


    PowerPC was not a failure. PowerPC's were sold by IBM in their POWER architectures and had quite a bit of success there as well.

    IBM was selling POWER before PowerPC, and it took until 1998 with the POWER3 before POWER chips were based on PowerPC.

    I'm surprised you didn't note that all 3 of the current generation game consoles now have PowerPC processors.

    However, the failure that I remember was the PowerPC Reference Platform (PReP) [wikipedia.org]. It was supposed to usher in a golden age for RISC, with cloners helping IBM and Motorola to develop faster processors by buying lots of them, like they do with Intel, and with lots of operating systems including MacOS and Windows.

    Instead, development was bogged down in territorial squabbles, no cloners built anything except the Mac clones, and Microsoft soon discontinued their Windows NT port. Apple's experiment with clones hurt the company a great deal. Now, outside of IBM and the game consoles, the only systems using PowerPC are embedded, and PowerPC is nowhere near the performance lead.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?