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The Island of Lost Apple Products

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the food-tastes-better-on-an-igrill dept.

Businesses 105

concealment writes "most of Apple's products are so popular that it seems everything the company does is destined to succeed. But it doesn't take much digging to find a trail of failures and false starts. Even in recent years, there are examples of products that seemed great but never resonated with consumers, and some that seemed so destined for failure it's hard to imagine why any company would have brought them to market. Here are some examples of Apple veering a bit off course."

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Smart Case (0)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | about 2 years ago | (#41930043)

I bought a Smart Case and returned it 2 minutes after I started using it because it was extremely uncomfortable to hold. I never expected something so crappy from them.

Re:Smart Case (1)

Arab (466938) | about 2 years ago | (#41930159)

I like the smart case, given it's really expensive for a bit of plastic/leather and some magnets but it's functional.

The only reason I stopped using it was because I got a Logitec keyboard case.

Actually ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930109)

I don't see any product which shouldn't belong to this island ...

Re:Actually ... (4, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | about 2 years ago | (#41930235)

I don't see any product which shouldn't belong to this island ...

You're right, actually. Most of those products are reasonably good ideas, the main failing was blatant price-gouging. Most of them failed because the competition was already there. Apple relies on coming out with novel products at ridiculous but nonetheless irresistible prices as far ahead as possible from the competition. They have done it several times with spectacular success, but this is a weakness Apple has always had. They generally cannot make a product that is better and cheaper than the competition.

Re:Actually ... (-1, Troll)

Jaktar (975138) | about 2 years ago | (#41931105)

I'm still waiting to see one that's better.

Re:Actually ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41931885)

First iPhone, First iPod.

Both those devices where better over all then the competitor.
the iPhone, while a Prada copy, almost no one had heard of the Prada, and the iPhone was smaller and better integrated.
The iPod, once it cane to windows, was far superior to other devices becasue ti was so easy to organize your music with iTunes and simply get it onto the device in a logical way.

Of course, it was the best GUI based computer, and they had the first PC.

And the first successful tablet.

I don't even own an Apple computer, but to claim they haven't built better devices is simple ignorant, or flamebait.

Re:Actually ... (1)

crakbone (860662) | about 2 years ago | (#41932247)

I would say the click wheel is what set the ipod apart. Steve Jobs made sure you could get to any song in three to four clicks. This made it very easy to get to the song you wanted. It was what was missing from music players at the time.

Re:Actually ... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#41933227)

I think you mean the second iPod.. the first version really wasn't all that great.

Re:Actually ... (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about 2 years ago | (#41933291)

Of course, it was the best GUI based computer, and they had the first PC.

If by "first PC" you're referring to the Apple II (the Apple I was only a kit) then Commodore beat them by 6 months with the PET. If you're referring to the Macintosh then the IBM PC and Commodore 64 beat them by a few years.

Re:Actually ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41934803)

If by "first PC" you're referring to the Apple II (the Apple I was only a kit) then Commodore beat them by 6 months with the PET.

Sorry, Commodore announced the PET first but they didn't ship any until October 1977. Apple II shipped in June of that year.

If you want to get technical about "first PC," there are other candidates including kits and workstation-level machines, but Apple I was available fully assembled, and Apple II was the first true ready-to-use-out-of-the-box personal computer for the home/hobbyist market.

Re:Actually ... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#41932579)

Apple relies on coming out with novel products at ridiculous but nonetheless irresistible prices as far ahead as possible from the competition

What?

So the iPhone came before other smartphones?
The iPad was the first tablet?
The iPod was the first MP3 player?
The last thing that Apple did first was the original Mac. They got that technology for Xerox.

Re:Actually ... (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#41933631)

"as far ahead as possible from the competition" implies that competition is there, which means Apple isn't first. Apple's strength is to find new, developing markets, and make something that blows everyone else out of the water.

Re:Actually ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933775)

I think they call this "innovation". Doesn't seem like price gouging to charge more money for an innovative product ...

Re:Actually ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41934585)

I think they call this "innovation". Doesn't seem like price gouging to charge more money for an innovative product ...

It's not. Apple charges higher prices than the competition for an ostensibly comparable product, but they charge no more than the market will bear.

Price gouging is when the company uses some kind of leverage to force you to pay more. Apple doesn't do this. If you want the gadget bad enough, you pay the price. If you don't buy it... nothing bad will happen to you.

Re:Actually ... (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#41935509)

There's nothing innovative about icons evenly aligned on a grid OR a rectangle with rounded corners.

Re:Actually ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41934511)

If it's better, why does it have to be cheaper? The whole point about being better is so that they don't need to be cheaper.

Re:Actually ... (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#41935525)

who says its better? Is it the brand name alone, that makes it better?

OpenDoc (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930115)

Not entirely Apple's work, but primarily so. It was an exciting concept (at the time) and I was sorry to see it fall apart.

Re:OpenDoc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931127)

Not entirely Apple's work, but primarily so. It was an exciting concept (at the time) and I was sorry to see it fall apart.

Indeed. A data-centric approach rather than an application-centric approach. Some of the recent mobile OS offerings have a little bit of this philosophy, but nothing like Apple was trying to accomplish with OpenDoc.

Most have forgotten eWorld and CyberDog, which were in developer's hands right along side OpenDoc.

Re:OpenDoc (1)

medcalf (68293) | about 2 years ago | (#41932557)

Absolutely. I'd love to see the OpenDoc concept applied to iOS.

Re:OpenDoc (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#41932165)

Yeah, everything they seem to have listed is all relatively new.

Pippin, MacTV, Copland, Cube, eWorld [wikipedia.org] , What ever happened to ClarusWorks after it got spun off?

Re:OpenDoc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933027)

And most things listed seemed to be described with a voice of "Look at how awesome this could've been if those idiot consumers would've only realized it!". And the oldest thing listed was specifically noted as being trashed because Steve Jobs came back... is this entire article just a remnant of the RDF? It's sounding disturbingly like it's trying to paint a picture where all of history before Steve Jobs was simply erased, and nothing since then could be fully blamed on Apple...

Re:OpenDoc (2)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#41933721)

And most things listed seemed to be described with a voice of "Look at how awesome this could've been if those idiot consumers would've only realized it!".

I see no evidence of that attitude. Here's a summary from the article's actual content:

1. QuickTake Camera: Panned because it was so low res.
2. Cards App: No fawning, just noting that it's an odd and unpopular service.
3. FaceTime: Critical of Apple for not opening it like they said they would.
4. iPod Hi-Fi: They say it's real nice, but way overpriced (and bulky).
5. Texas Hold-Em: "Solid Poker App" that Apple stopped updating and removed.
6. iPod Socks: Completely baffling.
7. Bluetooth Headset: "sounded 'like a bowl of Rice Krispies sprinkled with crystal meth for your ear[...]"
8. Ping: Could have been "amazing", but "half-baked" and limited to iTunes vs. the browser, and no Facebook
9. Rokr: "Bad phone and even worse media player"

Now, I don't think the article is particularly interesting. The summary does point out that not all of Apple's failures are recent, which is why this article focuses on new items; after all, everyone already knows about the Pippin. Is there an RDF going on? No, but maybe there's a meta-RDF--one that makes you think there's a Jobs RDF in place when there really isn't.

Re:OpenDoc (1)

bedouin (248624) | about 2 years ago | (#41935567)

ClarisWorks became AppleWorks, which was sort of like Apple's Microsoft Works and stagnated for years, especially after Pages and Keynote came out. The Intel switch was the final nail in the coffin for it. It definitely had some loyalists, though; many seemed to be K-12 educators.

I think many of the iWork people came from Gobe Productive, which in turn was comprised of many ClarisWorks exiles. I guess the whole thing has come full circle in some ways. AppleWorks was such a kludge of legacy code that open sourcing it would probably be a hassle of limited use for the community, especially with so many other modern projects out there.

The Gobe code coild be interesting though, especially for the Haiku guys.

Re:OpenDoc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41933289)

OpenDoc was fantastic in concept, but its implementation was horrible. Clunky, kludgey, bloated, and complexified.

Not that killing it did much good - now we use software that is clunky, kludgey, bloated and complexified but without the benefits of OpenDoc.

Re:OpenDoc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41939419)

Not entirely Apple's work, but primarily so.

Agreed. IIRC, the idea and design and most of the execution was more or less 100% Apple, while a small piece of underlying object-oriented programming technology (COM I think?) came from IBM. If it had gone well, IBM was supposed to also be a partner in writing and promoting OpenDoc component software.

It was an exciting concept (at the time) and I was sorry to see it fall apart.

Meh. I was slightly excited at the time but these days I'm a bit more cynical.

OpenDoc's raison d'etre was to break up the monolithic office application and permit a thousand tiny shops to build editor components which users could assemble into custom office suites. That's why it had management appeal to both Apple and IBM -- they wanted to weaken Microsoft by disrupting the office software market.

The problem was that it did not actually solve any real problems users had with existing office software! Any time you're trying to promote a radically new way of writing applications, you need to give 3rd party developers a reason to switch, and usually that boils down to "users will flock to your software if you adopt this". OpenDoc's promoters never managed come up with any user-facing features which couldn't be provided (with less effort!) without OpenDoc.

But it was even worse than that. The claimed utopian future of mixable office app components actually would've been a dystopia. Users don't want to spend time integrating their ideal office suite. Users don't want to learn that just because they installed and used a proprietary component, their documents aren't fully editable or possibly even viewable on someone else's computer. Users don't want to deal with the user interface nightmare of constantly switching context between editor components written by entirely different developers with entirely different UI ideas. OpenDoc never came up with satisfactory answers to these practical problems.

In the end the only good OpenDoc application software ever written was composed of components written by one team which did extra work to integrate them together into a mostly-seamless product. The result wasn't dramatically different from a monolithic application, except it was slower and used more memory and took a lot more work to develop.

To me, OD is a great example of why Apple was failing before Jobs came back. Apple was very prone to spending years and astonishing amounts of money working on ill-conceived projects which sounded really cool technically but could never actually provide value to end users.

Nooo! (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41930131)

Not once again!

Re:Nooo! (0)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41930165)

My bad! I didn't get enough time to browse thath little Museums of the Horrors.
I thought it was another gallery filled with Lisa [wikipedia.org] , /// [wikipedia.org] , Newton [wikipedia.org] and the likes.
I apologize to all my devoted and beloved readers!

Re:Nooo! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930367)

On behalf of both of them, your apology is accepted.

Re:Nooo! (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41935449)

Thanks a couple!

No Pippin (4, Insightful)

Arab (466938) | about 2 years ago | (#41930145)

The Pippin should surely be on this list. Also some of those are still being sold by Apple today. If you are going to list Apple products that are crap and still in use how can you not list the Half Assed Game Centre?

Re:No Pippin (-1, Redundant)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#41930681)

Also some of those are still being sold by Apple today.

Really? I can go to the Apple Store and buy a Pippin today?

I didn't know that.

Pippin took a new name: Mac mini (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41935681)

Of course you can. You just have to ask for a "Mac mini", and then you can plug in a few Xbox 360 controllers and play Steam games on it.

Re:No Pippin (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 2 years ago | (#41931037)

try playing Letterpress sometime. Totally makes gamecenter worth it.

Re:No Pippin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932043)

How so?

I just tried it, and my opinion on game center has not changed.

Wait...did I just get developer-rolled?

Re:No Pippin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932021)

The real fail era is missing:

Macintosh TV
AU/X
CyberDog
eWorld
Lisa
etc.

Re:No Pippin (1)

bedouin (248624) | about 2 years ago | (#41935589)

I like Game Center, especially the worldwide rankings.

MS BOB (1, Flamebait)

psholty2 (2696677) | about 2 years ago | (#41930151)

Still better than MS BOB

Re:MS BOB (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930717)

"Always look on the bright side of life"

Can we climb off the Apple knob-slobbery? PLEASE? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930167)

This is "News for Nerds".

Not "News for smug, smarmy metrosexual-wannabes"

Re:Can we climb off the Apple knob-slobbery? PLEAS (4, Funny)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#41930247)

metrosexual-wannabes"

Hmm, considering that metrosexual men are people who use make-up to look better and non-metrosexual men are people who don't use make-up... what are metrosexual-wannabes? Men who kind-of and so-so apply face lotion, hoping to look good while not looking obviously metrosexual?

Re:Can we climb off the Apple knob-slobbery? PLEAS (-1)

tbird81 (946205) | about 2 years ago | (#41930585)

"What are metrosexual-wannabes?"

Male Apple users.

Re:Can we climb off the Apple knob-slobbery? PLEAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931157)

metrosexual-wannabes"

Hmm, considering that metrosexual men are people who use make-up to look better and non-metrosexual men are people who don't use make-up... what are metrosexual-wannabes?

Men who use makeup in a way that doesn't make them look better, such as rodeo clowns, Bob Costas, Juggalos and the like.

Re:Can we climb off the Apple knob-slobbery? PLEAS (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41932521)

Sounds a little like "wannabe hipsters." They do stuff when it gets popular to do so.

Re:Can we climb off the Apple knob-slobbery? PLEAS (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#41935005)

what are metrosexual-wannabes?

Men who apply make-up and don't end up looking better.

2 Major Fails Missing (4, Interesting)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 2 years ago | (#41930169)

Why are the Apple III and the Apple Lisa not on the list? Granted, the Lisa was somewhat the predecessor of the Mac, but it itself was still a failure.

Re:2 Major Fails Missing (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41930261)

or newton.. or puck mouse. or a whole bunch of other real fails.

Re:2 Major Fails Missing (0)

Dwedit (232252) | about 2 years ago | (#41930263)

Not to mention the Newton and the Pippin.

Re:2 Major Fails Missing (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41930433)

Eat up Martha.

Re:2 Major Fails Missing (1)

TwentyCharsIsNotEnou (1255582) | about 2 years ago | (#41930289)

Maybe they didn't have space.
So instead they prioritised "Lost Apple Products" that still exist!

Re:2 Major Fails Missing (3, Insightful)

mrpacmanjel (38218) | about 2 years ago | (#41930325)

Why are the Apple III and the Apple Lisa not on the list? Granted, the Lisa was somewhat the predecessor of the Mac, but it itself was still a failure.

Generally it's a shit article - there are more interesting products they could have featured (as mentioned in other posts).

Re:2 Major Fails Missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931087)

Personally, I'd like to see a running tally of "Hit or Miss" to see what Apple's real balance is. I'm willing to bet that there are many MANY more failures than successes.

Re:2 Major Fails Missing (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | about 2 years ago | (#41936423)

Well, it only takes one real success to make a company - Apple seems to have done quite well...

Innovation (5, Insightful)

tomalpha (746163) | about 2 years ago | (#41930211)

This isn't a bad thing. Good companies (not just apple) take risks and try out new things. It only takes one in ten to be a good product, and one in twenty to be a great product to keep the company going. The trick is to make sure they're not *too* ludicrous before you launch them, and if they don't work out, make sure you realise this quickly and fail fast [businessweek.com] If you don't keep moving and innovate, some other bugger out there will and you'll get left behind. I'm looking at you Microsoft. [standard imnotafanbois disclaimer; believe what you will; ymmv]

Re:Innovation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930427)

What's your point? I could shit in a box and call it innovation; look at Surface.

Re:Innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931175)

What's your point? I could shit in a box and call it innovation; look at Surface.

Does your sh!t in a box have an optional keyboard?

Re:Innovation (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about 2 years ago | (#41933331)

What's your point? I could shit in a box and call it innovation; look at Surface.

Does your sh!t in a box have an optional keyboard?

Now you're talking innovation.

Re:Innovation (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#41931305)

Actually, Microsoft does this as well, and they do have their hits, like Kinekt, and their Metro interface. Granted, the tiles stuff isn't completely new, but they improved it to a point of usability, just like Apple has with the iPhone. Metro works well in certain cases, especially phones an tablets, so well in fact that the concept is gaining popularity in iOS apps as well.

Now to "making sure the idea isn't too ludicrous". That's where making Metro the UI for Windows 8 comes in...

Re:Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41939269)

You were scaring me for a moment there.

You have to take risks (4, Insightful)

second_coming (2014346) | about 2 years ago | (#41930217)

if you want to come up with game changing designs/products.

Apple have always been good at seeing how the market is moving and many times coming out with a product before the technology is good enough or the public were ready for it.

Jobs was also prepared to take the kind of risks most big companies aren't.

Mentions boring iPhone apps, but no apple newton? (3, Informative)

csirac (574795) | about 2 years ago | (#41930225)

I can't believe an entire platform of mobile computing was omitted from this, and yet ... texas holdem? Really? I demand a recount!

Newton wasn't a crap product (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930397)

Newton was a product that technology hadn't managed to catch up with.

Leonardo DaVinci had several heavier-than-air prototype flying machines. He couldn't find the tech to power it, though.

And another guy basically invented the plane (how to built the entire freaking aircraft, including the tension wheel which was as strong as a solid metal one but much much lighter, basically the wheel was repurposed for use on bicycles), but the internal combustion engine was still 30 years away, and without that his plane which would have beaten the Wright brothers by a good few decades couldn't get off the ground.

Re:Newton wasn't a crap product (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41931199)

Newton was too much too soon.

At least some of DaVinci's flying machines wouldn't have worked.

That other guy didn't invent the plane, because he didn't have an engine. He invented the glider.

Re:Newton wasn't a crap product (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | about 2 years ago | (#41936297)

"Newton was a product that technology hadn't managed to catch up with."

That is the epitome of what Jobs was interested in. Wait until the tech and the price are at the right spot for mass consumption, then polish and sell it at a premium. As cool as the Newton was it wasn't any of those things. Too expensive, not enough muscle and not enough polish.

Re:Mentions boring iPhone apps, but no apple newto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930413)

It's more of a post Jobs return list, hence the omission of the Newton*, Lisa and Apple 3.

*I know the Newton was killed post Jobs return but it came about after he left Apple.

Re:Mentions boring iPhone apps, but no apple newto (2)

GordonBX (1059078) | about 2 years ago | (#41930933)

um. so did the apple camera - and he killed that too. what's the difference?

Re:Mentions boring iPhone apps, but no apple newto (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | about 2 years ago | (#41936467)

Well, one difference is that Apple made Newtons. Quicktakes were just re-branded Fuji digital cameras.

I suppose this isn't really germane to this conversation, but I wanted to point it out somewhere...

Re:Mentions boring iPhone apps, but no apple newto (1)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | about 2 years ago | (#41935221)

I liked the Newton, but it was too expensive for me at the time. Fortunately, I had a friend who had one, so I got to play with it. I really liked the "graffiti" writing-to-text feature. Palm also had a similar writing-to-text feature. I still have an old Palm T3, that I used for many years. I'd still be using it except the only way to exchange data between it and anything else is with SD cards (well, it does have IR communications, but nothing else I use does.) I am mostly happy with the Android tablet I now have, but I really miss the writing-to-text feature that worked so very well for me on the T3 and the Newton.

G4 Cube (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930273)

I was expecting the G4 cube to be there.

Re:G4 Cube (4, Funny)

unkiereamus (1061340) | about 2 years ago | (#41930679)

Hey! I liked the cube.

It had a feature that I've yet to see on another computer, that's how advanced it was.

Surely I'm not the only one who wants to fry an egg for breakfast while checking my morning e-mail and feeds.

Re:G4 Cube (1)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | about 2 years ago | (#41935275)

I also liked the G4 Cube. And I still get a laugh out of one reviewer's comment on how fast it was compared to other PCs at the time: "Where's the drama?"

Title correction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41930335)

"Gallery of Apple pocket tat from the last decade, half of which is still in production"

I'm no apple fanboi, but this strange idea that the company burst into life with the launch of the iPod and has been on the up ever since is paying the company a disservice.

Re:Title correction (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41930953)

Actually the development of iPod/iTunes is where life starts. We could have aborted AAPL anywhere before that and Jobs would have just wound up teaming up with Woz to start a brand new company, launch the iPod and iTunes, and it would have turned out just the same. Companies don't burst into life at inception; they have to gestate first.

It would be more accurate to call it ... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | about 2 years ago | (#41930337)

... the island of lost accessories. Everything in this product was an accessory designed for core Apple products. A lot of those accessories aren't even notable, so why would Apple invest much in their success?

You don't launch a multimillion dollar ad campaign over iPod socks or iPod/iPhone trinket apps after all.

Its called commercial innovation (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | about 2 years ago | (#41930399)

The marketplace is the only place where success or failure will be defined so release something there and iterate.

Companies in China do it a lot whereas in the West we try and get something perfect before release. Magazines are the exception as it is often cheaper to launch than to do the research to see if it would succeed or not.

Hardly epic fails (4, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | about 2 years ago | (#41930473)

The only major failures I see there are Ping and the Rokr.

The rest seem like toes in the water that were probably worth a punt at the time.

The QuickTake camera was one of the first "affordable" digital cameras on the market. What was important to Apple was that people used Macs for digital photography and the QuickTake helped them play a role in creating that market. By the time it was dropped, big names in photography were producing consumer digicams - it was probably sensible for Apple not to go head to head with names like Nikon, Olympus and Fuji, or even Sony (who already had a name in video).

Bet you 50 Internets that the Poker app was withdrawn because they started getting negative publicity from the anti-gambling lobby. Meanwhile, i'm sure the news that iPod socks failed to set the world on fire will bring Apple's share price crashing (NB: they [i]were[/i] meant to protect iPods - TFA makes it sound like Apple was trying to break into the hosiery market!)

Hey, I like my iPod Socks (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about 2 years ago | (#41930847)

nothing wrong with them whatsoever especially for the cold winter days ahead.

Re:Hardly epic fails (3, Insightful)

DingerX (847589) | about 2 years ago | (#41930921)

It's all backwards: they are all epic fails, except for the Rokr. The Rokr demonstrated that Apple could generate a ton of interest and press in the Cellphone space, that people wanted such a device, but that the existing operator/handset maker dynamic was so broken, it required a radical new approach. In effect, when Apple went to negotiate iPhone terms with the carriers, they could point to the ROKR, and say "we tried it your way".

Best of all, Apple got Motorola to license the tech from them.

Re:Hardly epic fails (1)

itsdapead (734413) | about 2 years ago | (#41931155)

In effect, when Apple went to negotiate iPhone terms with the carriers, they could point to the ROKR, and say "we tried it your way".

I think that one fails Hanlon's Razor. More likely, Apple were terrified that the availability of music players on mobile phones would trash sales of the iPod and tried to do something about it in a hurry. Also. maybe they got something useful out of Motorola in return.

Anyway, if you make an Epic Fail on purpose does that really make it a Huge Success? Risking the iTunes brand like that was a pretty stupid thing to do, and last time I looked Apple were still shifting useful numbers of iPods despite every phone under the sun doing music.

Re:Hardly epic fails (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41931187)

Anyway, if you make an Epic Fail on purpose does that really make it a Huge Success?

It does if it works. If it works, it's a good plan.

Risking the iTunes brand like that was a pretty stupid thing to do

Like what? Most people never heard of the ROKR.

Re:Hardly epic fails (1)

tyme (6621) | about 2 years ago | (#41931423)

itsdapead [slashdot.org] wrote:

I think that one fails Hanlon's Razor.

Don't you mean Hanlon's RAZR? (or, maybe, Hanlon's ROKR?)

Re:Hardly epic fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931023)

I found the socks a weird inclusion as around 60% of people I know who owed ipods had a ipod socks. I always assumed they were quite popular.

Re:Hardly epic fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932327)

QuickTake cameras were just rebadged Kodaks and Fujis, so giving Apple much credit/blame for them doesn't make sense. Unless Apple planned to develop their own models after testing the waters with the rebadged cameras, it made sense to eliminate the product line. Apple liked to slap its logo on everything in the '90s with many product lines that lacked any innovation or differentiators from the competition.

On a side note, the QuickTake 200 camera pictured in the "article" was the best value of its era and had quite a devoted following. It also held a significant amount of its value for several years after it was discontinued. You have to wonder if there were lessons learned here that were later applied to the iPod and iPhone.

Re:Hardly epic fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932647)

I'm with you on the quicktake. It was an amazing device! Just snap pictures, connect to your mac, and it showed up as a drive on your desktop. The icons were thumbnails of your pictures and you simply dragged them whever you needed them, instantly ready to insert in to whatever you were working on.

Sure, that sounds trivial now but I never saw another digital camera that came anywhere near that level of usability until more than a decade later.

The thing, however, was a bit ahead of it's time. The state of digital imaging meant it had low capacity and low resolution. At that time traditional photography + scanner was the only way to get high enough quality images for serious desktop publishing work. We would not see an all-digital workflow until much much much later.

It's small sized pictures would have been perfect for the just coming of age graphical www, alas, the internet was pretty much a curiosity and geek toy at the time (outside of academics of course).

iPod Nano (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 years ago | (#41930571)

Why ding Apple for products they tried and failed with, when the format iPod Nano has changed on the last 3 or 4 versions. Tall and thin => Different tall and thin => square => tall and thin again. I don't think that Apple knows where it is going with this one.

Re:iPod Nano (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931227)

Because there are plenty of people who actually buy the Nano.

Re:iPod Nano (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 years ago | (#41933111)

Why ding Apple for products they tried and failed with, when the format iPod Nano has changed on the last 3 or 4 versions. Tall and thin => Different tall and thin => square => tall and thin again. I don't think that Apple knows where it is going with this one.

But they know what they are doing. If someone has a tall and thin iPod Nano then you can buy a different tall and thin as a birthday or Christmas present. And then you can buy a square one as a birthday present. And then a tall and thin one again. Lots of iPods are sold that way.

The iPod Classic, on the other hand, is something that you buy for yourself because it is exactly what you want (or you don't buy it), it's not something you buy as a present. So there is no need to change it, because if you are an iPod Classic customer, you are not going to buy a new one for a different shape.

I miss iPod Socks (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 2 years ago | (#41931043)

I didn't know they existed before reading this article, but I still miss them. :(

It is normal (2)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#41931139)

It is normal to have some failures on the way to success. That's what evolution is all about. Developing products is evolutionary. That's reality. For those who complain about failures it just makes me think they have never tried.

Worst Apple product ever (1, Insightful)

PACSFerret (1292446) | about 2 years ago | (#41931431)

Worst Apple product ever is still 'on the market'. iTunes.

Re:Worst Apple product ever (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41931915)

Worse by what measure?
Installations? no.
Users? no
integration? no

Re:Worst Apple product ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932605)

Really, you're on Slashdot and you're going to play this word game? If he had said "Windows", I seriously doubt you would have said anything at all, even though you would still have to answer "no" to every question you asked.

Re:Worst Apple product ever (0)

PACSFerret (1292446) | about 2 years ago | (#41932771)

Suckiness.

Re:Worst Apple product ever (0)

Steauengeglase (512315) | about 2 years ago | (#41936433)

Have you ever enjoyed using it? Nope, it is about as fun as Sony's old NetMD software and about as fast, stable and non-intrusive.

Would you recommend that others use it if they didn't have to use it with their iDevice? Nope. There is better software out there for playing and managing your audio. Apple knows this, but they don't really care, because it is first and foremost a device management platform. Screw everything else.

Re:Worst Apple product ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41932167)

Newton sync.

It had fits if you hade 2+ gig of free space.

Who gets to write these crappy article? (2)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 years ago | (#41931561)

I hope they are only being paid the standard blogger rate of $10. Because you get what you pay for.

Dude;
Apple III
Mac II FX
eWorld
Newton
ANYTHING under Spindler
The Cube
Taco's review of the iPod

many more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41931711)

eMate
eWorld
Geoport
Quadra 840av/ Centris 660 Av (ever try and use that 'av' part?)
MacTV
Anything from the Performa line
Anything from the LC line
All mini tower cases from the Quadra 800 to the PowerMac 9500
QT3 (the dawn of apple removing functionality from their products)
ADC
'Universal' iPod dock (anything but)

I'm sure I could go on but that's what occurs to me off the top of my head.

makes sense (1)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#41932313)

Any company that is trying to expand its product line will have false starts from time to time. What separates the good companies from the bad is at what point they realize they've got a loser and drop it, or know it's going to be a winner and pile all their resources behind a big push.

Apple made a digital camera years ahead of its time, but almost no one has heard of it. The idea we know now was obviously a good one that would be a big hit with the consumer, but the technology just wasn't good enough, so they dropped it. They didn't sink a boatload of money into marketing and pump out millions of units. (they also made a moderately successful laser printer very early on, as well as many other things that, if brought new to market today, would be a huge success, but the stars just weren't aligned yet)

But then you have recent flops like the zune and playbook, products that we must assume had some market research done on them that was turd-polished and presented to the decision makers as "the next huge hit". So they plowed money and resources into it and it went over like a lead balloon. It costs the company not just money, but also resources like engineering teams' time and also damages your brand. I have to wonder when I see that, is it a case of a project manager ignoring reality and pushing real hard, or knowing it's going to flop and pushing ahead anyway, bad analysis, or just plain lack of quality market research, that leads to these sorts of flops?

Making mistakes isn't all that big of a deal. If you're not making mistakes, you're not trying. Backing your mistakes and belligerently trying to pump cash into them to create success, that's a problem. "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

Of course there's another option. With something like the Zune it may have been a case of "we figure this has only a 30% chance of gaining traction, but we NEED a response to the ipod, and this is the best thing we've got". In cases like that, even bad odds must be played, eve if a little bit out of desperation. They had the money to spare, it wasn't a "if we go BIG and this flops, it could put us out of business", so it was a valid option, even if it doesn't appear to make sense.

And, For Something Different ... (1)

jasnw (1913892) | about 2 years ago | (#41932561)

... in Microsoft's corner: Win95, Bob, Zune, Vista, big serious backed-by-the-bosses stuff.

An article in need of a pay check (1)

pbjones (315127) | about 2 years ago | (#41936395)

The camera was, in the end, rebranded Fuji product. They were good but not exceptional, in a growing market made up of people that had photography and not computing as a business. The rest of the items were trash on the fringe with nothing to make them worth keeping, they seemed like a good idea at the time. The article is a filler with none of the real Apple product dumps, like OpenDoc and Pippin, showing up.

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