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The Worst Apple Products of All Time

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the performa-was-truly-a-dog dept.

Bug 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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What, no iPad? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143070)

Shame, guys... shame.

Re:What, no iPad? (1, Insightful)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143152)

Really, why tag this "insightful"? Doesn't the "grannies of /." have anything better to lunge at from under their stones? It's been just days since the iPad was unveiled, it has not even hit the friggin' market, yet some caveman of a "market expert" pulls a joke and, behold! other cavemen chimes in by second-guessing the product's outcome before its release. Much can be guessed when it comes to products, but what can be said for certain is that there just is no end to the naiveness and stupidity among the haters obsessed with this and that brand of product.

Re:What, no iPad? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143190)

you sir, sound like a typical mactard.

Re:What, no iPad? (1, Troll)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143278)

I bet you said the same when os x was introduced, when the ipod was introduced, when the ibooks were introduced, when the macbooks were introduced, and when the iphone was introduced, and now, 10 years later, neither you nor any of the others in your "pack" have nailed a single right with your gleaming, sharp market insight, seeing as how all these products are bought by the millions by people all over the world - but I guess you're just the clever one here, and all the millions of customers out there are the dumb ones. It's not about being a mactard; hell, apart from me owning one of the smaller iPods, I don't use any of their products other than when required to. It's about having the sanity to not trying to guess things' outcome prematurely, regardless of the brands' previous track record.

Re:What, no iPad? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143530)

Except the iPad has nothing interesting about it. Most of the other products you named did. Now go die you macfag.

Re:What, no iPad? (1)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143544)

How about the sanity not to overreact to a first post? And I don't think the criticism is unwarranted, based on what has been demonstrated by Apple.

Re:What, no iPad? (0, Flamebait)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143218)

It's because beyond the "I'll probably buy one anyway" Apple fans, nobody in their right mind thinks there's a market for a $500 10" iPod Touch/$700 10" iPhone that doesn't make phone calls.

Re:What, no iPad? (5, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143292)

"No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame"

Yes, I really trust the slashdot elite to predict the success or failure of a product that *hasn't even been released yet*.

Putting it on a "worst apple products of all time" list is just ludicrously premature and speculative.

Irrelevant quote (4, Informative)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143462)

* Where does this often-quoted phrase make claims that the Ipod would fail or succeed in the market? It doesn't. As an opinion of the product, it's valid no matter how successful it is (or are you saying that criticisms of Windows are stupid, because Windows is the most used OS?)

* "Slashdot" is not a single entity. There is no reason to judge squiggleslash, by a quote made by a different person, many years ago.

* Just because Apple have one successful product doesn't mean the Istale will be, and that is no argument to dismiss his opinion.

Putting it on a "worst apple products of all time" list is just ludicrously premature and speculative.

I entirely agree - just as every blimmin story we get about it is ludicrously premature and speculative. Let's get back to covering story about actually released products, not speculation about vaporware.

Re:What, no iPad? (1)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143560)

If Apple had stuck with the limitations of the first generation iPod it would have been a failure. It's popular to see this quote somehow disproving Apple criticism but it does no such thing.

Imagine how the iPod could have today's dominant position while only working on a computer platform with a 10% marketshare. The first iPod was lame.

Re:What, no iPad? (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143540)

Nah. There are larger media players out there. They are even as much as $500 or more.

They just aren't marketed as the second coming.

It's not the device (so much). It's the mindless fanboy hype and lack of independent thought surrounding it.

Re:What, no iPad? (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143220)

Doesn't Apple typically have products ready to sell the day that they are released? There is a shitload of work that they could do between January and whenever the product actually hits the stores. So until you can slap down your money and buy and iPad about the only thing you can say is that its minimum specs were advertised on Jan 26. Especially with things like the pics floating around of the frame that seems to fit a camera.

Re:What, no iPad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143204)

insightful? why? how? maybe you should wait for the product to even appear in the shops and have a chance to flop before you spew your stinking gall, you silly, narrowminded linux tossers. (and yes it's always the conservative old dogs among the linux crowd who prematurely squirt their hate)

Hasn't been out long enough yet (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143254)

A product can only be bad if it doesn't sell. No matter how worthless the functionality is, if a product generates a lot of sales and thus a lot of profits, it is a success from a business point of view. The pet rock is a great example. No utility, whatsoever. It is just a rock with goggle eyes glued on it. However people loved the thing, tons were sold, lots of money was made. It was a success.

So, the iPad's status will be determined later. If it sells tons, then it'll be a success, even if the people who buy it just end up using it as an expensive cup holder. If it has few sales, it'll most likely be a failure since it doesn't seem to have anything that will generate any advances over all.

You have to remember that can also be a factor in success. Just because something doesn't make money doesn't mean it is a failure. An example would be the original Xbox. Overall, MS lost money on the venture. However it was a success. Why? Because it established them as a legit player in the console market, which is extremely difficult to break in to (many, many companies have tried and failed). Thus it was still a successful product in the long run.

So we can't say about the iPad till much later. Personally, I suspect it'll be a failure. I suspect it won't make much, if any, money (remember there's a lot of R&D to pay off) and it'll provide nothing to Apple overall in the long run. However, we won't be able to say for a couple years at least.

Re:Hasn't been out long enough yet (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143514)

Depends. There are bad products that sell, maybe because of hype, or their badness surfacing later, or the sales turning into a warranty nightmare. Plus the definition of 'bad' evolves... There's good products that don't sell, too. The Palm iPod precursor comes to mind.

I'm interested in how the iPad experiment will turn out too: It seems a bunch of much more capable, but a bit less sexy, hyped and easy to use tablets will launch this year. I personally find them more enticing than the iPad (Asus T101MT, Notion Ink Adam, even the smallish Dell Streak), but the general public may think otherwise.

Re:Hasn't been out long enough yet (2, Insightful)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143570)

A product can only be bad if it doesn't sell.

[4 more paragraphs]

Let me stop you there. Of course bad products can sell, the do all the time. You are talking rubbish.

Re:What, no iPad? (3, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143270)

While the iPad seems pointless, it doesn't appear bad. The iPad predecessor the forgotten Newt would be more a much more likely candidate.

Re:What, no iPad? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143432)

Vaporware doesn't make the list, I guess... Can't be bad if it isn't even released.

iPad Jeans! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143072)

http://www.hardocp.com/images/news/12660187292Jl4tMdA4w_1_1_l.jpg

Butt Plug (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143076)

The iButtPlug hasn't been too successful, however I quite enjoy them. They double as a pacifier too!

How about... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143078)

all of them? ;)

The List (5, Informative)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143092)

10 QuickTake
9 Pippin
8 iPod Hi-Fi
7 Power PC
6 Mac OS9
5 eWorld
4 Performa line
3 "Hockey Puck" mouse
2 20th Anniversary Mac
1 Apple III

Honourable Mentions: Color Classic and the Mac Portable

Re:The List (5, Interesting)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143116)

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.

Re:The List (5, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143122)

No Quicktime Player? It's a turd of a program on either OS, but the windows version definitely stand out as a major PITA.

Re:The List (2, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:The List (1)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143326)

X is just as bad as it's predecessors. Does it still require you to install various browser plugins, an updater (that continuously prompts you to install Safari as a default 'update'), give playback permission to the Quicktime Player (good luck disabling it without uninstalling everything entirely), etc just to be able to open the .mov container? Never mind that as a player it's pretty poor compared to, well, everything. VLC, MPC, Mplayer even Windows Media Player has better luck playing back a reasonable range of formats.

Re:The List (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143380)

No, because it's OS X only.

Re:The List (3, Informative)

loutr (626763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143406)

I think QuickTime X is only available on Snow Leopard, so it's preinstalled, you just need to install a codec pack (Perian [perian.org] is pretty good). After that it works quite well, the UI is minimalist yet pretty : the video takes up the whole window (including borders) and the controls fade in if you hover over the video.

Re:The List (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143562)

Even if you do install Perian there will be formats that Quicktime doesn't play.

VLC is still better than an enhanced version of Quicktime. (Same goes for Plex)

Re:The List (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143538)

You should try using Quicktime on OS X instead of on Windows, just like iTunes and Safari it is a lot better on OS X than it is on Windows.

/Mikael

Re:The List (5, Informative)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143286)

No Quicktime Player? It's a turd of a program on either OS, but the windows version definitely stand out as a major PITA.

Beaten only by iTunes, also strangely not on the list.
I don't care how cool iPods are, or how well the iTunes store works, the software is horrible on Windows.

Re:The List (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143318)

What's wrong with it on OS X?

Re:The List (1)

Wingsy (761354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143124)

I notice that all these products are from quite a few years ago. They couldn't find anything recent?

Re:The List (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143256)

No mention of the latest generation ipod shuffle? The one where they figured control buttons would "clutter up" the design, so instead you have to buy special, expensive apple earbuds/headphones that are all cluttered up with inline controls and only cost ten times the cost of normal headphones? So the shuffle plus a pair of "special" headphones costs more than a nano?

I'd buy a shuffle in an instant, if it had volume up / volume down / play-pause buttons on the device.

I know adapter cables are sold, and I guess I could duct tape / hot glue gun the adapter onto the shuffle, to make an almost usable "exercise ipod". But having to pay the "apple tax" and then whip out the duct tape and hot glue gun to make it usable is just going too far.

Note I'm not an apple hater, I enjoy by nano for exercise listening and my ipod touch for PDA and video use, but the shuffle is just a design disaster.

Re:The List (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143434)

I'd buy a shuffle in an instant, if it had volume up / volume down / play-pause buttons on the device.

Why?
It's an MP3 player only the ability to play songs randomly. No playlists, no equalizer, no flippin' screen, yet it costs at least double what any other device with twice (or more) the memory (and many more features) and headphones that are probably less crappy than the apple earbuds that blow after a month.

The shuffle is seriously the crappiest MP3 player ever designed by anyone, from any perspective except that of apple (who I'm sure were very happy with the "me too" market).

Re:The List (5, Interesting)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:The List (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143546)

I disagree with OS9. While it certainly was the best of the original MacOSes, which one would hope being the latest generation, it wasn't a good OS overall given when it was released.

The time had long passed since the whole "cooperative multitasking, no memory protection, static memory allocation," thing was a good idea in OSes. It was more than past time to move on. MS was in full swing doing that. Windows NT, released in 1993, went full on with features like that you should have in a modern OS. Windows 95, released in the year of its name was their attempt to start unifying the NT and old Windows lines. Though it wasn't perfect, it still had better protection and features than OS9. Windows 2000, which came out about the same time as OS 9, was fully based on NT but ran nearly all Windows 9x software. MS was basically entering the end of their transition period (Windows XP was what finished it) when Apple released a new OS that didn't even get started.

It was just behind the times on a low level. The OS needed a low level update, Apple knew it and had been working on it, but had killed the project (Rhapsody) for some reason. Finally they did get OS-X, a new project with the same goal out but it was a rather painful transition if you remember.

So while OS9 may have been the slickest classic MacOS, it wasn't a good product to be releasing then. Mac users wanted the long promised new MacOS, and this was just a rehash. Meanwhile it had to compete with an updated version of NT (Windows 2000) that was extremely stable.

The problem with OS9 wasn't the user interface. To be honest, I'll never get why Apple tossed that with OS-X, it was one of their better features. The problem was the OS was unstable and had difficulty coping with things being asked of modern OSes. The low end, not the high end.

how about all of them? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143094)

Okay, it's a cheap shot but Apple's worst product of all time is their marketing department.
Seeking to create deep divisions between computer users over a proprietary OS using proprietary hardware, giving the illusion of quality by giving an unfair mark-up to components which are actually cheaper bought separately by the consumer.
Urging artsy hipsters to look down their nose upon peons who don't understand the deep underpinnings of single-button mice and the ironic humor implied by the same device.
Finally this whole culture where everything Steve Jobs shits out to pay for a new liver from a dead Cambodian girl will truly change the world and herald the liberal singularity is plain stupid but even dumber are the media outlets, online and print, who fall for the same gag year after year after year.

Re:how about all of them? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143194)

And that dead Cambodian girl was killed by no other than Glenn Beck.

How liberal can Steve Jobs and Apple truly be in the grand scheme of things if they hire Glenn Beck to harvest organs?

God Bless America.

Re:how about all of them? (4, Insightful)

remmelt (837671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143216)

And still posting their biggest profit while the economy is crumbling around us.

Seems like their marketing department is the best product they have... it's working fine indeed.

Major details wrong (1, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143096)

Once thing I've noticed about apple products, is that there's always one ore more important detail that is wrong and that makes the product a no-no for me. At the same time some people gloat over those details as if they were the best thing since sliced butter (or whatever). Examples:

The no-button mouse. I hated that thing from the first second: I couldn't rest my big hand on it without clicking. On the other hand an admin giving a tour of the lab to some people asked me how much I loved the new great mouse from Apple (that was quite a while ago). I won't even mention single button mice.

iPhones/iPads without SD card slots. iPhones that don't appear as a mass storage device when connected to a PC (I still don't believe this one, it seems so 1995).

Laptops without changeable batteries. Destops where it's almost impossible to change the hard drive. Etc, etc...

Re:Major details wrong (1)

Boldoran (1660753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143136)

Maybe I imagine things but I think my iPhone does show up as a storage device when connected to a Computer.

Re:Major details wrong (1)

Boldoran (1660753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143170)

On second thought maybe that's only if the computer has iTunes installed.

Re:Major details wrong (2, Informative)

RavenofNi (948641) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143554)

You're probably thinking about the "pictures" mode it connects in using Picture Transfer Protocol, what the GP was looking for (aren't we all?) was a fully read/write data partition which I think you can only get w/ a Jailbreak.

Re:Major details wrong (2, Insightful)

MrShaggy (683273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143140)

I love Imac.

Hated the the key-board and mouse. They gave me carpel.
I use a 2 button mouse, and a pc-keyboard.

They work fine.

I don't mind paying extra for something that takes little to maintain.

I just love the fact that all of my 'system maintenance' issues are gone.

No more hours running virus checks. Which means more time for porn

Re:Major details wrong (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143196)

I love Imac.

and FTFA:

Built-in screens made sense at the start of the computing age but they have thankfully gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Um...

Re:Major details wrong (4, Funny)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143294)

By "gone the way of the dinosaurs," they mean "turned into birds and are now all around us, constantly chirping."

Re:Major details wrong (2, Insightful)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143322)

I love Imac.

and FTFA:

Built-in screens made sense at the start of the computing age but they have thankfully gone the way of the dinosaurs.

Um...

That is the article author's opinion. I'd dare say with the explosion of laptops it's arguable that it's not the consensus either. Built in screens are still quite commonplace and it's not just Apple doing it. In fact, more and more desktops seem to be going back to that as components get small enough to fit into the screen bezels.

Re:Major details wrong (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143222)

on windows 7 the iphone comes up as the iphone. you can copy and past pictures and videos off it to your computer easily. Don't really care about the SD slot since 32GB in a phone is enough for me. and i'm not one of the OCD people that has to carry their entire music collection everywhere.

and a lot of people hate Apple Mice. on my Mac Mini i like to use a Microsoft mouse and the right click works perfectly

Re:Major details wrong (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143504)

"32GB is enough for anyone".

Re:Major details wrong (1, Informative)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143296)

Laptops without changeable batteries. Destops where it's almost impossible to change the hard drive. Etc, etc...

I'm not sure what laptops you have, but all the apple laptops I've owned had trivially easy battery swap-out. Now, I've only owned a handful of iBook, powerbook, and Macbook lines (maybe the "air" has issues with this?) but it's certainly not standard for apple to do that. iPods, sure, but not for their laptops. As for difficult to replace hard drives, the only one I can think about is iMac bubble thing... and I'll give you that one. Again, that hasn't been even close to standard in my experience.

Re:Major details wrong (1)

Wolfraider (1065360) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143494)

The new MacBook Pro's have the battery sealed inside.

Re:Major details wrong (2, Informative)

lisany (700361) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143558)

The non-unibody MacBook Pros take quite a bit of finicky work [ifixit.com] to replace a hard drive. It's my understanding that the Unibody designs made it significantly easier. But, that said, as a sysadmin in a primarily Mac shop I've only had to replace a MacBook Pro hard drive once and pull the drive out of a wet polycarbonate MacBook once. Strangely it's as if the quality of Apple gear is very good.

That said the Dell laptop that had its failed hard drive replaced twice in a month had a very accessible hard drive tray. Maybe they intended the hard drive to be replaced so frequently.

Re:Major details wrong (1)

TeamSPAM (166583) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143574)

I know the iBook G4 that I owned had a such a painful process to swap the drive that I paid Microcenter to replace it. I think most of the G3/G4 portables from Apple had you basically take the whole laptop apart to get at the drive. On the other hand, I have replaced the drive on the white MacBook myself.

Re:Major details wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143310)

I remember, back in the late eighties, that Apple was supposedly wonderful for graphics. I never saw any meaningful evidence of that from an apple back then. I do remember that having an apple gave morons a self proclaimed sense of elitism; because they were for "smart" people. Meanwhile there I was with my commodore plus 4 building breadboards out of the serial and parallel ports. Ever since, Apple has seemed to capitalize on a desperation for validation of snobbery; especially with smart sounding names like macintosh. Having one of those meant you were going to Harvard.

And? (3, Insightful)

beh (4759) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143102)

Sure, Apple's had some really bad products over time - but what do you expect from a company that big which survived that long?

And - how many open source projects died, never making it...

Apple, like any other company, doesn't always just launch brilliant products - but, at least, they're not afraid to try new things and see how they pan out...

Overall I think it's good that the DO dare making something entirely new; and more often than not fail with their products. Sometimes they even failed commercially, while still making a product people still care about (e.g. Newton).

For myself, I know many people are critical of the iPad, on the other hand, I think I will still buy one - it looks like a cool ebook reader - whether it has multi-tasking or not.

not sure the eWorld diagnosis is quite right (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143104)

I don't think eWorld failed because of its now-ludicrous-sounding pricing model. At the time (early/mid-90s), it was the norm for online services to have monthly fees that gave only a few free hours per month, and then cost significant amounts per hour after that. In the early 90s, AOL gave 2 free hours for $7.95/month and $6/hour thereafter, and was wildly successful, so eWorld's $8.95/mo for 2 free hours and $5/hr day, $8/hr nights thereafter doesn't seem like it was so far out of line as to kill it.

Re:not sure the eWorld diagnosis is quite right (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143202)

AOL's prices were pretty unreasonable, but they made up for it by providing every person on the planet with at least a dozen coasters for their desk in the form of AOL sign up CDs. Not once did I see Apple bombarding me at every waking moment with such gifts. Shame on you Apple, shame on you...

Re:not sure the eWorld diagnosis is quite right (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143224)

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.

No they have a good point about PPC (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143436)

Apple had to switch off the 68k, Motorola was basically putting it out to pasture. Apple was never a very big customer of theirs, so it wasn't enough to keep it alive. Crappy situation, but it had to happen. Now at that point they had two major choices:

1) Go with x86. That was the industry standard for personal computers, of course. Intel dumped tons of money in to development to make them the biggest, baddest, most powerful computer chips you could get, and it worked. They were, and are, fast as hell. Also, there were other companies making x86 desktop chips like AMD and Cyrix. This was a ready-made solution, and worked well. There were plenty of companies that produces all the necessary support hardware too.

2) Do their own thing. There wasn't really another processor out there suitable for desktops. They were too high end or low end for the most part, so something new would need to be developed.

Well, they opted for #2 and the AIM, Apple-IBM-Motorola, alliance was formed. That took the IBM POWER1 chip and redesigned and cut it down in to the PowerPC. Ok, fine, but you now had something that nothing supported and really wasn't a very good performer compared to Intel's chips. None the less, that's what they went with, seemingly convinced that it would somehow grow faster than Intels' chips, despite Intel's legendarily massive R&D.

Of course we all know how that went. IBM mostly focused on their high end POWER chips, which are neat but WAY too big and expensive for desktops. Motorola found that the embedded market was far larger and really targeted their designs more at that than at Apple's systems. Meanwhile Intel kept producing better and better chips... And then AMD started producing amazing chips, forcing Intel to work that much harder.

The result? Apple in the end had to change over to Intel chips, which produced another painful transition period, one that is still going on to an extent. It would have been a much better decision to simply go with what worked.

Over all, the PPC was a failure. They spent more money and had lower performance because of it. It also meant their hardware couldn't run Windows. Now that might make sense if software was their market, but it isn't. Hardware is where Apple makes their money. So, you support x86, more people buy your hardware. It is no coincidence that MacBook sales picked up when they went x86. You had people who either wanted to use Windows or had to use Windows (because of apps) but wanted a Mac Book for the design. With PPC, that wasn't an option. Now it is.

Re:not sure the eWorld diagnosis is quite right (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143522)

I agree about PowerPC - but as for MacOS, I'd put the entirety of classic MacOS in there. Before they ditched it for Next, even in its day it was a poor OS (e.g., couldn't even multitask - something that Apple has seemed to enjoy doing again, with the Iphones...). This was especially true by the time it got to MacOS 9.

Re:not sure the eWorld diagnosis is quite right (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143268)

May depend on the specific time and area. I wasn't on the Internet at the start of the 90s, but by 1995 when I did get on, it was a flat rate for access. AOL may have still been doing hourly then, I don't know, but there were plenty of small ISPs that did flat rates.

Also, as they noted, it was designed to push hardware sales and was Mac only. That is a pretty major problem.

All of thier mice suck (5, Interesting)

rimcrazy (146022) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:All of thier mice suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143230)

The Lisa sucked big time.

They couldn't put the Lisa in there because if they had included photos it'd have been CP

Re:All of thier mice suck (3, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143288)

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

This is true.

Missing item from the "worst" list is every Apple UK keyboard ever, which is just a US keyboard with the (#) key replaced by a (£) key, leaving all sorts of punctuation keys in the US positions. Fail.

I think the mouse problem is that you really need to go out and choose a mouse that fits your hand - Apple are constrained to (a) only having one or two models (b) making it one-size-fits-all and ambidextrous and (c) being obliged to make something "different" and "designer-y". Fortunately, for ages now, any PC USB mouse has worked fine, including multiple buttons and scroll wheels.

Re:All of thier mice suck (4, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

I think that's the point (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143312)

The article is just trying to point out that along with great successes, they have great failures too. The press as of late has been rather over the top fanboyish with Apple, hailing everything they do as amazing and generally projecting them as a company that makes bold decisions that are never wrong. This article seemed like a counterpoint to that. Showing that along with their successes, that everyone has heard about, there are plenty of failures, which many people have not. That will be true for any company, but in particular for companies that try something new.

I think it is a good reminder over all, given the massive over-hype that surrounded the iPad launch. Much of the tech press had worked themselves in to a frenzy and had decided it was going to be the greatest thing ever, without knowing anything about it. This has then been followed by a good bit of letdown. They seemed to have the idea that everything Apple produces is an amazing winner of a product. I think it is a useful reminder to say that no, Apple has produced some real bombs in the past. They are a company composed of people like any other and people make mistakes. They WILL fuck up sometimes.

I could add a few more recent products to that list, the cube being one, and Apple TV looking like another.

Re:I think that's the point (1)

neon-fx (777448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143518)

Apple has produced some real bombs in the past. They are a company composed of people like any other and people make mistakes. They WILL fuck up sometimes.

I could add a few more recent products to that list, the cube being one, and Apple TV looking like another.

The Apple TV is a complete waste of space... unless you turn it into a usable media center http://mrcolinsappletvguide.tumblr.com/ [tumblr.com] I can only imagine that the patching process hasnt yet been blocked by apple (even in the most recent firmware) as it is only people hacking this system that are buying it.

Re:I think that's the point (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143550)

I fully agree. The fallacy in the press, and my users here, seems to be "The Ipod was successful, therefore anything else from them will be".

The fact that the Mac has always been a niche product, and the Iphone is a niche product, is ignored. Indeed, the press hype it up as if the Iphone was as successful as the Ipod!

The annoying thing is, these people aren't even consistent. By their logic, since Windows is massively successful, we should all be talking about Microsoft's Zune as if it's going to be the next big thing...

Re:All of thier mice suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143422)

Well,rimcrazy, I know exactly why you love Apple products in general.

Hardcore repair methods (2, Funny)

kaaposc (1515329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143132)

Dropping the computer from a few inches reminds me of the Soviet repair methods that worked for most of technics - couple of punches on the side of TV made those coloured stripes go away :)

Re:Hardcore repair methods (1)

EdgeyEdgey (1172665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143346)

I remember having to do this sort of drop-fix with my Amiga 500+

Mobile Me? (3, Interesting)

albyrne5 (893494) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

EXCEPT FOR MOBILE ME!

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.

Re:Mobile Me? (1)

soupd (1099379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143348)

I must be lucky. I use MobileMe to sync everything across an iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, MacMini, iPhone and iTouch and have never had any problems.

Laptops (4, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Laptops (2, Informative)

arizonagroovejet (874489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143308)

It's strange that the early multi-coloured iMac laptops are not on the list.

Given that you use laptop both in the title and body of your post, I assume you're refering to the first generation iBook [apple-history.com] .

Most (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143158)

I just took a crap, and it was a game changer, i mention this because so many similarities can be drawn between that and most apple products.

Re:Most (1)

ahankinson (1249646) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143198)

Lemme guess - you're fanatically obsessed with both?

Re:Most (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143276)

I wouldn't go so far as to say obsessed, although it is quite good, it's Steve Jobs crap I have a problem with.

No G4 Cube? (2, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#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

Geomodem (5, Informative)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143210)

Unlike other modems the GeoModem did not moulate and demodulate. Instead it used the modem hidden inside your CPU! By purchasing an adapter that cost as much as a real modem you could use the processor inside your computer to handle all the modulating and demodulating. On an OS that used shared multitasking this was not very reliable. Its one and only advantage is that you could upgrade the software. It went from 14.4kbps to 33.6kbps over night.

Re:Geomodem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143356)

Prescient, considering all the Winmodems that do just that!

A friend of mine who's a diehard fan... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143228)

I have an admitted fanboy friend that has had all those items throughout the years, except for the 20th anniversary mac.

At the time he had them, "they were the greatest thing ever".

Ask him about them now and he'll tell you they were all crap, with the exception of the PowerPC. He still swears by that (which I really don't understand).

Point being, with technology being what it is and constantly advancing, doesn't everything eventually become crap?

Re:A friend of mine who's a diehard fan... (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143362)

Point being, with technology being what it is and constantly advancing, doesn't everything eventually become crap?

Not in my opinion. I still consider the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis to you Americans) as one of the best consoles of all time. By todays standards it outdated and had a terrible controller, sure, but I certainly wouldn't call it crap. Now compare that to the Sega Mega CD which was pretty much crap all round. Both old, both consoles, not equally crap.

Round of applause needed ... (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143234)

For the article itself not being a clickfest of 1 paragraph pages! I nominate it for best top 10 list article of 2010!!

Re:Round of applause needed ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31143392)

I nominate it for best top 10 list article of 2010!!

It's at least in the top 10.

no comparison (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143246)

At least they didn't invent BOB.

AOL came from eWorld (3, Informative)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143316)

eWorld and AOL never competed agains each other as the article would suggest. In fact AOL grew out of the remains of eWorld. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EWorld [wikipedia.org] Oh and the pricing wasn't really so bad compared to not being online or long distance dial up and membership fees for other BBS.

Re:AOL came from eWorld (Wrong) (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143328)

Never mind I can't read. AOL came from Apple Link and eWorld and AOL did compete.

Re:AOL came from eWorld (Wrong) (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143402)

Not Applie Link, QuantumLink. Apple Link was just QuantumLink's name for their Apple oriented service, since QuantumLinux was C64 only.

Not all the items listed were failures.. (5, Informative)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143324)

Disclaimer:
- i did RTFA (it happens!)
- i know Apple history
- i'm not Apple fan and don't own any Apple product (anymore) actually

Anyways..

PowerPC:

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. They were quick, worked well, and they allowed the transition for Apple. If apple went x86 back then, there might have been no apple today. The only "failure" would have been the G5, or in fact, the lack of G6.
Undelivered promises of updates, for 2 years, and Apple had to switch to Intel.

MacOS 9:
TFA is confusing MacOS 8 with Copland (MacOS 8 original codename).
Copland was from-scratch operating system, with true preemptive multitasking and most of the things we're used to today.
It took ages and never got completed (in fact, the failure here, was Copland).
Apple released instead MacOS 8 and subsequent updates with partial features of Copland, but no rewrite. MacOS 9 was the last of the serie, nothing more, nothing less (MacOS 9.2.2). On top of that, it is the only MacOS that could run natively inside OSX. MacOS classic pionnered todays GUI.

20th anniversary Mac:
exclusive, high priced item, for collectors.. that the author has mistaken for a consumer level product. don't really need to say more. (actually ill quote: "the issue here is not the product but that it was released during a financial crisis" then "i know the financial crisis was not related to the 20th mac".. yeah well keep on contradicting yourself just to add 1 product to the list")

Re:Not all the items listed were failures.. (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143472)

I can't believe the author stated that PowerPC - An architecture that was in use for so many years - is one of Apple's worst "product."

screens (3, Funny)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143342)

Built-in screens made sense at the start of the computing age but they have thankfully gone the way of the dinosaurs

It's funny to read this on an iMac.

Departmentalised (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143378)

from the performa-was-truly-a-dog dept.

In my country, the performa is a condom. It's also marginally (marginally!) preferable to a nasty disease

Strange Criticism of Built In Monitors (1)

DLG (14172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143412)

I am not sure how they came up with their criticsm of the Color classic being an indictment of the idea of the built in monitor.

"It could be argued that this system forced Apple to rethink building screens into systems. Sue it looks very good but it increases the overall cost of the system and limits users to a particular view. Built-in screens made sense at the start of the computing age but they have thankfully gone the way of the dinosaurs"

So I am wondering if anyone knows if the Australian Apple market is so different that the IMac and Macbook lines are marginal. In the US, the built in monitor is the standard on most models Apple sell. It is true that other computer companies don't do this on the desktop, but other than the mini there is no consumer desktop that Apple makes without being a single unit.

And the statement about the PowerPC is entirely 20/20 hindsight. The Intel Chips at the time were dogs. And apple is still producting development model and OS that differs entirely from the Windows one. As far as developer interest, I would say that once Mac OS X, and giving away the development tools began that jump start, and its still quite a bit different from any other environment.

Hard to imagine that the IPod Hi-Fi rates in any top 10 list. It seems so unimportant, but I guess Thomson saw one. That makes it special it seems considering he doesn't seem familiar with much about Apple's line from personal experience.

Missing Option (3, Informative)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143428)

The Lisa

They forgot to mention... (1)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143470)

... Every single mouse ever produced by Apple. Ever!

C'mon Steve, get over your button-o-phobia already!

TWO is the right number for buttons a mouse. Two buttons, one on each side of the mouse, with definite clicky tactile feedback.

Not one big clicky button in the middle (with no right click).

Not some vague number of buttons with zero tactile feedback and random results if a stray finger is slightly touching the mouse somewhere else.

TWO! BUTTONS! THAT CLICK!

Bohr said it best (1)

ral (93840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143486)

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.

-Niels Bohr

Here's my summary for the article (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143502)

"Everything Apple does is over-priced. A the mark of a great Apple failure is being both over-priced and under-powered."

That's pretty much what they had to say about every product listed.

I used to love Apple II series computers. They were the tinker and learning machines of the day. People pushed them to all sorts of uncharted limits. Macs were too expensive to hack on so most people who owned Mac paid so much for them that they were afraid to hack on them. (Yeah, I know there were still some hacks and tricks going on in the early Mac scene, but it was nothing in comparison to the Apple II series hacking scene.)

I think the article missed a few things though... Newton received no mention? Really?

2009 mac pro should be on the list as it has (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31143512)

2009 mac pro should be on the list as it has

* High price for it's hardware come on $2500 for 3gb of ram and poor video card NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB. The last on started at $2200 and the old g5 was at $2000.
* High priced video card upgrade add $200 for a ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB makeing it's real cost $350 (200+150 base cost of gt120)
* NO SLI or crossfire in osx as well.
* Does not work in osx with non efi / apple video cards.
* reused the old g5 case with little change.

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