6 Worst REAL Apple Products
For every iPhone, every iPad, Apple has had its fair share of products that were greeted not with long lines and huge sales but with shrugged shoulders and the feeling this must be a joke.
Apple Bandai Pippin (1996)
Bet you didn’t know Apple made a gaming system. Well, technically Apple didn’t know, either. Looking like a cross between an Xbox 360 and a Reebok Stepper, the Pippin was named after a small, tart apple (because if there’s one thing hardcore gamers are attracted to it’s references to the harvest and cider). Originally designed as a networking computer, Pippin’s 14.4kkp speed made getting on the Internet the last thing you wanted to do. So instead they focused on its ability to play such “CD games” as “Exotic Sushi” (oddly enough not a porn film), “Mr. Potato Head Saves Veggie Valley” (also not a porn film) and “Gus Goes to the Kooky Carnival in Search of Rant” (perhaps a bit of a porn film but also maybe a Syd Barrett album). Priced at $600—in 1996 dollars–the Pippin was much more expensive than the Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, Nintendo 64, and many people’s first car, dooming the system before anyone could play the exciting sequel to “Home Improvement 1-2-3” (definitely a porn film).
Perhaps the problems started when Apple decided to make a digital camera with Kodak, a company that eventually declared bankruptcy because it couldn’t make a digital camera. Or maybe when Apple decided that when it came to cameras the one thing people hated the most was the ability to focus and zoom. Or maybe when Apple decided that you shouldn’t be able to preview or delete pictures, meaning you may not know what the hell you just took a photo of but you damn well better get a frame for it anyway. Or maybe when Apple decided that the most photos anyone could ever take in a day was eight, since any more than that meant the photographer was either a spy or a perv. Add a whopping 640×480 resolution and you had a camera for people who wanted to remember their vacations more than relive them in photo albums.
Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (1997)
$7500. That’s how much it cost to celebrate Apple’s 20th anniversary by purchasing a commemorative computer—a commemorative computer that actually came out a year late because everyone at Apple had forgotten about the anniversary. So the TAM (for short) was rushed into production using off-the-shelf parts that somehow didn’t make it end up looking like one of those old AMC Pacers with two different color doors and an upturned orange crate for a driver’s seat. In fact, the sleek TAM featured leather wrist pads, metallic paint, and an executive, upscale look that said, “Get out of my office and don’t come back unless you bring me coffee or a mistress.” But like an executive who gets drunk with power—and then drunk at every lunch—the TAM experienced noticeable problems. Its speakers emitted a constant buzz. It had a small 12” screen that made it look like you were doing Word from a mile back. AND IT COST $7500! Within a year the computer was discontinued, the remaining units were slashed to $1900 and high-level executives once again had to use normal computers to play solitaire while their employees did all the work.
Before there was the iPhone there was this, Apple’s first cell phone, seemingly named after an evil music agency or a social networking site for metalheads. Hoping to combine the success of Apple’s iPod with that of Motorola’s RAZR, the two companies would have had better luck combining a teddy bear with a toaster oven. (“He’s cuddly and can broil!”). Looking like someone had painted a Cadbury bar silver, the ROKR could only hold 100 songs (at a time when the Nano could hold 1,000) and took so long to upload music from iTunes that when you finally got your new song it was already on the greatest hits collection your grandma bought you for your birthday because records store scared her and she just grabbed the first thing by the door.
Macintosh Portable (1989)
Weighing in at 16 pounds, the Macintosh Portable was about as easy to carry as attaching a handle to a French Bulldog. Add a price tag of $6500 and it was like carrying a French Bulldog that that you hoped s*** platinum. But the biggest problem was the computer’s power design. If the batteries ran all the way down then the computer could not be recharged or rebooted. Ever. Meaning you now had a six-and-a-half grand paperweight to make sure your newly penned suicide note didn’t fly out the window. On top of that, the Portable’s screen was impossible to read in low light. Apple fixed this with a backlight feature, but that caused the already troubling battery life to be cut in half. In short, Apple created a computer that scared the crap out of you every time you turned it on, making you fear that this time may very well be its last.
Apple Newton (1993)
And here it is, perhaps Apple’s most notorious failure. A victim of being sold ahead of its time and before it was ready, the Newton was a personal digital assistant long before people even knew what a PDA was or said, “God, remember those crappy PDAs? Good riddance!” Designed to be a total reinvention of personal computing, the Newton could fax messages, send email, and most amazingly read and recognize handwriting. Unfortunately, by “recognize” I mean “understand you were certainly writing something” and by “read” I mean “How’s ‘clompf’? Is that close enough to ‘Help me’? Yes, let’s go with ‘clompf.’” Sold for $700—proving Apple has always been good at attaching a big number to a dollar sign—the Newton was eventually scrapped and sent to the Island of Misfit Tech, where it remains to this day, trying to hit on a Zune and getting drunk every night with a DIVX rental disc and a Segway scooter.
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