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Top 10 Apple Flops

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the performa-636 dept.

Apple 993

Kelly McNeill writes "Though Apple computer is known for some of the computing and technology industry's most notable innovations, its not as if the company hasn't also taken its lumps. Thomas Hormby submitted the following editorial contribution to osOpinion/osViews, which supplies us with his top ten list of Apple's (and some of associated partners) most significant flops throughout the company's history."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So much easier to knock down than to build up (1, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536253)


I suppose it's inevitable that (with the current flurry of Apple success stories) someone would come up with a list of things they got wrong. Wonder if he's an Apple fan, or if their current success is eating at his liver...

Show me a single computer company (hell, any company) that's been around for 25 years or so and hasn't made any mistakes. To succeed, you have to play the game, and playing is a risk.

So they screwed up a few times. So what ? I'd actually be defending MS on the same charge, even though I despise their OS. Linux has screwed up badly now and then as well - brown bag releases aren't unknown after all...

I just think it's a bit sad to concentrate on someone's failures. It seems such an ... inadequate... response to someone/thing doing well.

Simon.

I Thought You Were Talking About OS News! (1)

saudadelinux (574392) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536288)

No comments, and the the site seems to've been crushed already! Then I read your post :)

Re:So much easier to knock down than to build up (5, Insightful)

realdpk (116490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536360)

I just think it's a bit sad to concentrate on someone's failures.

I think if you were to look over the last few years of posts on slashdot, regarding Apple, you'd see that "we" have been concentrating on their successes, with very few exceptions. I don't think an article that will probably generate interest for a few hours will do Apple's rep any harm.

Re:So much easier to knock down than to build up (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536459)

I was talking about the original article, not the posting on /. Besides, after posting on /., it'll have generated a few seconds of interest anyway. Nuke indeed :-)

I'm not trying to say that Apple oughtn't be criticised for its failures, but to make an article up "All the things Apple did wrong" seems a little OTT, and I expect it's a reaction to all the "Apple success story" articles that have been published recently, not just on /.

Simon

Re:Limits of Innovation (1)

Omniscientist (806841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536466)

I think its due to the fact of how aggressively marketed Microsoft's products were and are. It has almost nothing to do with the technology, but the business aspect behind it.

Re:So much easier to knock down than to build up (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536403)

When Apple was down and Microsoft was up, who was always bitching about how crappy PCs are? Apple fanatics, that's who.

Re:So much easier to knock down than to build up (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536448)

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt quotes (American 26th US president (1901-09), 1858-1919)

And it applies to Microsoft critics as much as Apple critics.

OMG YET ANOTHER APPLE POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536254)

And the submitter is related to the link! WHAT A SUPRISE!

#1: The iPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536255)

'cause, you know... NOBODY bought one!

Apple Corps Vs Apple Computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536485)


i know its a joke but who knows ?, by the time Apple Corps has finished with them [forbes.com] , while the iPod might not be deemed as a flop with the consumers , it could be deemed a very expensive mistake to the shareholders

First (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536259)

posT!!!!!

macs rule!

Cube? (3, Insightful)

nathanmace (839928) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536261)

I wonder why the cube isn't on the list. Seems like it should be.

Re:Cube? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536348)

i bet the MiniMac flops just like the Cube did a few years ago...

Re:Cube? (0)

llauren (80737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536351)

Come on, the Cube was nifty. It just didn't sell well. If it was a flop, then it was a marketing flop, not a technological one.

Thinking of it, you could recreate some of the cube spirit using two or three minimacs :)

~rL

Re:Cube? (2, Interesting)

punkass (70637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536370)

The only thing wrong with the cube was the price. The cube should have been what the mini mac is now: a low priced gateway to the platform. Instead it was a really cool piece of hardware the reinforced the "Macs cost more" stereotype...

"Apples == expensive" not a stereotype (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536411)

There is no Mac on the market that is priced comparably to a similarly equipped PC. Period. End of story.

I hope this post doesn't perturb the membrane of your Steve Jobs reality distortion field.

Re:Cube? (1)

Queer Boy (451309) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536433)

I wonder why the cube isn't on the list. Seems like it should be.

The Cube is what brought forth the iMac Flat Panel "lamp" and the Mac mini. It was more of an experiment that went awry than a flop.

YES I DID (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536262)

Have I posted the first comment or not?

Already slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536263)

appears so...

Powered by "PostNuke" (3, Funny)

bobetov (448774) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536267)

I love it. As perfect a description of a slashdotting as I've ever seen.

Do you want to play a game?

Re:Powered by "PostNuke" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536293)

Yes, Dr. (obscure movie reference, don't ask)

Re:Powered by "PostNuke" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536381)

Uh, War Games? Fuck I'm old...

Re:Powered by "PostNuke" (2, Funny)

Dorothy 86 (677356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536294)

As long as I don't have to be the damn O's. I ALWAYS have to be the O's.

Re:Powered by "PostNuke" (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536340)

Article text, karma whore free:

"Though Apple computer is known for some of the computing and technology industry's most notable innovations, its not as if the company hasn't also taken its lumps. Thomas Hormby submitted the following editorial contribution to osOpinion/osViews, which supplies us with his top ten list of Apple's (and some of associated partners) most significant flops throughout the company's history."
--

Apple and its compatriots have been highly innovative. These companies have proven that even if their ideas are well implemented, they cannot always promote them correctly. Other times, a good idea is implemented poorly, and despite their best marketing effort, the product fails. I have compiled 10 of the most notable products released by Apple or its comrades that have failed.

Apple Pippin

Introduced under Spindler's rule as CEO, the Pippin should have won Apple a position in the console market, one Apple had yet to penetrate. Apple's goal was to make the Pippin a multimedia machine, capable of reading CD ROMs, surfing the internet and to play games.

Apple had decided to share the Pippin's source code with developers for a licensing fee. The developers had a lot more flexibility, and would be able to redesign the Pippin's software to make it attractive for any number of markets. However, Apple was able to recruit only 4500 developers willing to pay the licensing fee.

The operating system of the Pippin was based on the MacOS and with a PowerPC 603 running at 66 MHZ, the Pippin used a similar processor to desktop macs at that time. Being a multimedia machine, the Pippin was capable of producing CD quality sound, and displaying up to thousands of colors. With the powerful Power PC processor, Apple thrashed Nintendo and Sega consoles performance wise, but never won a sizable portion of the market.

OpenDoc

The concept behind OpenDoc is an intuitive one. Many elements of applications are redundant (calculators, multimedia players, spreadsheets). Why not 'cut them up' and use different modules interchangeably. Each file would then make calls on these different modules as needed. With OpenDoc, if a user wished to create a word processor document that includes a spreadsheet, the user would not have to copy it over as a table, or use a gimped up version included with the word processor. Instead, they could call up the ClarisWorks for OpenDoc Spreadsheet module and have a full-blown spreadsheet in the middle of a word processing document.

OpenDoc development started in 1995 in collaboration with Novell, IBM and Apple. In 1997, Apple integrated OpenDoc into its core strategy, releasing several OpenDoc apps, and including the technology in Mac OS 7.6. At the same time, the technology was being developed for Windows and UNIX. The companies created the Ci Labs which would authorize OpenDoc components that proved to be compatible as "Live Objects".

In accordance to Apple's vision, it became possible with the OpenDoc compatible version of ClarisWorks to create a document that integrated various OpenDoc modules. The example below has an integrated Video Conferencing session with QuickTime, a browser frame from CyberDog and a graph from another OpenDoc module.

Since 1996, Novell has ceased Windows development of OpenDoc, forcing IBM to take on responsibilities for the platform at the same time they continued development on their AIX (UNIX from IBM). The two versions both evolved and were mature commercial products in 1997. There were problems for OpenDoc, however. At the same time, Microsoft released ann updated version of OLE, and released ActiveX, that closely mimicked the OpenDoc principles. OpenDoc was embraced by major OS developers, but it had failed to attract third party developers. Mac OS 8 was the last release from Apple to include OpenDoc, and it was quietly killed at the hands of Gil Amelio.

Mac TV

Apple was the first major personal computer manufacturer to release a machine with a bundled TV tuner to the public. The Macintosh TV was Apple's first effort in merging the home theater and personal computer. The machine was also one of the only two black Macs ever made (the second being a special edition 5400 sold only in Europe).

The Macintosh TV was first envisioned as a tenth anniversary Mac, but it was eventually cancelled. After the unexpected success of the Color Classic, John Sculley requested that a machine comparable to the Color Classic be made with a CD ROM drive and a 14" Trinitron CRT. The logic card was a slightly modified IIvx, Apple's midrange 68030 machine. The Macintosh TV was released on October 23, 1993, shortly after being resurrected.

The new machine was designed to be low cost and have a small footprint. Its most notable features were its TV tuner card and remote control. The TV tuner code had RCA and coaxial inputs, allowing users to use VCR's and watch broadcast television. To control the CD ROM drive and TV Tuner, Apple also included a remote control. In order to prevent the Mac TV from stealing sales from higher end machines, Apple limited its RAM capacity to 8 MB, as opposed to the 68 MB limit present in the IIvx. The TV card was also somewhat limited, it did not allow users to record television and it was only capable of displaying video in full-screen mode, or playing TV audio in the background.

Met with much fanfare at its launch, Apple primarily peddled the machine to college students and early adopters. It only sold the machine at 230 retail locations, mostly electronics stores. As a result, Apple sold only 10,000 units, making it far rarer than the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Apple discontinued the model quietly several months after its introduction in February of 1994. The Macintosh TV was not Apple's last TV capable machine. Apple created a LC PDS card that included a TV and FM Radio tuner. The new tuner card added the ability to record television and watch it in a window.

Mac XL/Lisa

In 1978, Steve Jobs and William Hawkins, marketing czar at Apple, decided the time was right to introduce a new generation of computers to replace the Apple II line. In 1979, the Lisa project was started. Lisa was to include an entirely new architecture and operating system, and was to be priced at about $2,000. The Lisa was to include a green phosphorous display, a keyboard and traditional text-based user interface. The name Lisa is believed to be taken from that of Steve Jobs' first child, it's official name was "Local
Integrated Software Structures".

In 1979, Bill Atkinson, an engineer on the Lisa design team, invited Steve Jobs to Palo Alto Research Center, in Xerox, where the GUI, laser printing, Ethernet and other advanced technologies were being developed. Xerox, nervous of leaks of their technology, decided to prohibit visits to the center. Luckily, Apple was able to convince Xerox to capitulate, and scheduled a visit under some conditions. Xerox was given a 5% stake in Apple, and allowed Apple to visit PARC twice. For Xerox, the deal was incredibly profitable, for Apple it was even more so. Jobs discovered the Alto, a revolutionary computer with a mouse-controlled GUI. It is the same computer that inspired Jef Raskin to start evangelizing the Macintosh project.

Jobs decided to change the Lisa project to mimic the Alto at Palo Alto. Indeed, it would be foolish to think that Apple would not use the information from Xerox, but most of the interface elements of the Lisa were created entirely at Apple. The menu bars, one-buttoned mouse, computer-wide copy and paste and the trash can were all designed at Apple. Moreover, many researchers at Palo Alto jumped ship from Xerox to Apple, many within a fortnight of their visit.

In July, 1982, Lisa was finished being developed, and started the debugging process. On January 19, 1983, during the annual shareholder meeting, Apple introduced the Lisa. At the time of release, the Lisa was priced at $9,995, rather than the $2,000 first planned.

The Lisa came equipped with a (blazing fast) 5 MHZ 68000 processor, the same processor used in the PDP line of minicomputers a decade before, 1 MB of RAM, two 'Twiggy' drives, a 5 MB hard drive originally intended to be used on the Apple III and a black and white screen with a resolution of 720 pixels by 364 pixels. A comprehensive office suite was included with the computer, as there was no other software available.

The Lisa suffered from many ails. First, it was too expensive, far too expensive for Apple's existing market base. Next, it was too slow. Lastly, there was very little software developed for the computer, as many were waiting for the Macintosh to be introduced. Later, Apple tried to recover their investment by introducing a Lisa for $6,995, without the bundled software included on the higher end model.

In 1984, the Lisa 2 replaced the original version. Twice as fast as its elder (and with half the memory) and equipped with a 3.5 inch floppy drive, incompatible with the Macintosh. In 1985, the Lisa 2 was replaced with the Macintosh XL. It was a stock Lisa 2 with snow white lines, and MacWorks, and emulation package designed to run Macintosh software on the Lisa. The last Lisa left the factory on May 15, 1985.

Lisa was not yet finished. The thousands that were not sold were bought by Sun Remarketing, which converted the computers into Macs. In 1989, Apple requested Sun to stop marketing the Lisa, and buried the last 2700 computers in a field.

Microsoft Word 6.0

Microsoft Word 5.1 was an incredibly popular software product for the Mac. Unlike today, Apple users respected Microsoft, and embraced their products. Microsoft threw away that respect with the release of Microsoft Word 6.0.

The MacBU (Mac Business Unit at Microsoft) hoped to reach feature parity with the Windows version of Word through a project called Pyramid. Pyramid was a very ambitious project, involving a total rewrite for WinWord and Word for the Mac. With the new version, Microsoft would be able to keep WordPerfect at bay on both platforms, and lower costs by cutting the time between major versions. The management changed at the MacBU, and the project was dropped. The new manager decided to just use WinWord 2.0's code-base on the Mac.

The project was moving along fairly well, until they started adding new features. The developers were running into the limitations of the 68k hardware available at the time. Very few machines had enough RAM to run the entire program. Instead, the developers decided to load only the features that the user was using. This saved RAM space, but made the program slower, as it had to load new features from the disk whenever the user wanted them.

Word 6.0 did not "feel" like a Mac application. All of its controls looked like they were taken straight WIndows. They were gray, and had a 3d effect. Besides the overall look, users were unable to use many of the tricks and shortcuts used in other Mac programs. Rick Schaut, a Word 6.0 developer pointed out his favorite example of Word 6.0 not being Mac like:

"My favorite example of this is they way you defined styles. In
Mac Word 5.0, style definition was a semi-modal task. You defined
or modified a style the same way you changed the font or paragraph
properties in the document itself. In Mac Word 6.0, the task was
completely modal. The entire array of menus and toolbar buttons
that you could use in Mac Word 5.0 (and with which you were quite
familiar as a user) was replaced by a single drop-down menu in the
New/Modify style dialog box. Even today, you can't use the
Formatting Palette to change the font or paragraph information in a
style in Word 2001 or Word X, and this remains one of the things I
want to fix in Word before I leave MacBU."

Word 6.0 was poorly received, and was lampooned well after the well received Word 98. Microsoft even started reselling versions of Word 5.1 to placate angry customers.

copland

Apple began developing a new operating system in 1987. The Macintosh System Software was very pleasant and innovative, but it was not advanced enough to compete with OS/2 or UNIX workstations. The Macintosh System Software was somewhat unstable when compared to OS/2, lacked protected memory and had no threaded memory or preemptive multitasking.

If Apple was to attract new customers coming from the high-priced PC and UNIX workstations, it would be necessary for it to create a new operating system, and not rest on it's laurels. To make a more stable and polished operating system, it would be necessary to start anew. Two operating systems were created. They were called Blue and Pink, named for the flash cards used in their founding meetings. Blue would become System 7, and Pink would be developed by Taligent. Pink was killed in 1995, and was developed solely by IBM. Beginning in 1991, a new Operating system was being created, called copland (an American composer). It was an ambitious project, both on the system level and on the user interaction level. The system was expected to offer the advanced features of UNIX with the elegance and ease of Macintosh.

copland included an innovative interface, which revolved around themes. It was possible to customize every element of the interface. The themes would change according to the logged-on user. Vital to operating system's success, Apple made copland platform-agnostic. The cloners would be able to run copland on their machines without having to license the ROM's from Apple. The system offered a viable plethora of new technologies. QuickDraw GX, OpenDoc, PoweRoal, WuickTime, OpenTransport, etc... To benefit from the innovations in the new operating system, developers would have to rewrite their programs. The system would become resistant to crashes and sloppy code. If a program crashed, it would leave the other apps running, intact, the same if a program accessed a restricted or corrupt resource.

copland was to be ninety-five percent Power PC native. The system would be able to manage disks up to .25 terabytes. The virtual memory would be completely rewritten in the style of UNIX boxes. The entire operating system would be able to be upgraded without taking down the system, even without slowing down the computer during the process.

No longer would searches be based only on file attributes and titles, it would actually search (text) document's content. It would record the results in an ordinary window, updated by a background practice, much like BeOS and its tracker. The results would be able to be sorted by types, size and relevance. Many of the new features of Copland were integrated into the traditional Mac OS:

* MacOS 8: platinum interface, presentation by buttons, small Aide, reduction of the windows, window-drawers, multiple copies
* MacOS 8.5: new open dialog boxes, management of the topics, icons in the bar of titles.
* MacOS 9: alert boxes below the application menu, multiple users
* MacOS X: Lack of compatibility for the old applications, preemptive multitasking, virtual memory management, protected memory

The project was not developed with self control. Each segment of the operating system was entrusted to small groups of developers, working in concert without a central authoriy. Come 1997, though there were three operating systems (MKLinux, Copland, nuKernel) in active development for over a decade by Apple, not one of them shipped, though there were functional betas available. Gil Amelio canceled the project, which had by now cost millions of dollars. It was at that time that Apple decided to adopt NeXTStep as its next consumer operating system.

eWorld

The use of telecommunications is not new, AppleLink, based on a General Electric network already made it possible for Apple retailers to connect remotely to Apple's internal network for $100 per hour. In 1988, the general public was offered AppleLink, this time based on Quantum. The two networks coexisted for some time, until prices became to high, even for Apple. Quantam and Apple split, and Quantam was renamed AOL. Apple was not discouraged, and would pursue the idea at a later date.

Apple decided to cut the AppleLink network, and create a new ISP focused on consumers in 1992. After several tests, Apple decided to join with AOL to help set up the network. On January 5, 1994, eWorld was announced, and was released on June 20. eWorld was focused around a pictographic village with various areas, like a news stand, where users can pull news off the wire, a post office, for email, etc. The eWorld interface was very simple. The app would tell you if your machine would be able to recover lost files, calculate the time necessary to download them and also control costs. It is thus possible to seek information, download images, sounds, texts and buy items in the store at the same time.

eWorld's premise was not flawed. Rather, its execution was. The price was exorbitant, leaving most users unable to afford such a service. Users were billed $10 a month, and then $8 per hour. As problems mounted, the competition caught up. eWorld was too expensive, especially compared to its competition. With the development of the internet, it became increasingly difficult for Apple to make eWorld's content compelling enough for users to pay a premium. At the same time, Apple's partners were creating Web sites, often times providing the same services Apple's customers paid for, for free. Finally, eWorld (renames empty World by its few remaining inhabitants) was abandoned by Apple on March 31, 1996. "The sun will set forever on eWorld". Thanks to an agreement with AOL, Apple moved all of its customers to AOL's service. Disenfranchised customers would lament forever the loss of the service.

Puck Mouse/Kiddie Keyboard

At the time of the iMac release in 1998, it was unimaginable that this machine would come with an AppleDesign Keyboard, like all of the other desktop Mac models. Jonathon Ive and Steve Jobs pressed their design team to create an imaginative alternative. The mouse and keyboard were completely redesigned to meet the aesthetic standards set out by the iMac. The designers at Apple did not care for the traditional mouse. It required that the user move his or her entire arm to manipulate it. The designers worked to allow users to use their fingertips to manipulate the mouse, making the task less tiring. The designers also made the mouse button more responsive, to allow one finger to easily click it.

Users were not universally pleased with the new mouse. It was now totally symmetrical, preventing many users from easily telling which way is up. Also, the smaller design made it difficult for large handed users to use it comfortably. The keyboard was even less popular. It eliminated several keys present on the AppleDesign Keyboard, and shrunk the cursor keys, function keys and aux keys to half of their size. The new design was different enough that many users had trouble typing with them, causing many to miss keys, and slow down.

The keyboard is almost universally reviled. The mouse, on the other hand, is popular amongst many who prefer using their fingertips to guide their mouse. Never the less, many users chose to use a third-party mouse.

There were rumors that the mouse and keyboard would randomly ignite. This prospect unnerved many potential buyers, but it was unfounded. During a presentation, a table that Steve Jobs used to display the iMac lit on fire, not the keyboard or mouse. Eventually, in July 2000, Apple replaced the offending products with the Apple Pro Mouse and Apple Pro Keyboard, both of which had a somewhat more conventional design.

Flower Power/Blue Dalmatian iMac

The second generation iMac featured a slot-loading CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or CD-RW drive, FireWire in most models, silent, fan-less operation, and the option of AirPort networking. The colors and patterns available in this generation were initially the same "five flavors" as the last versions; later indigo, ruby, sage, graphite, snow, "Blue Dalmatian," and "Flower Power" became available. This generation of the iMac were the pinnacle of design and function. The flimsy tray loading optical drive was replaced, and every important interface used in current Macintoshes were slowly added: USB, Firewire, modem, ethernet, wireless networking, CDRW, and VGA output. The only holdbacks were the size of the non-replaceable screen, and the relatively slow processor.

Despite their technical prowess, the Flower Power and Blue Dalmatians were the jokes of the computer industry. Very few people were willing to own such unique looking products. Apple eventually discontinued the two models several months after their introduction.

Macintosh Portable

The machine was released on September 20, 1989 for $5,799. The Portable was a no compromise machine, much to the delight of John Louis Gassée.

Almost identical to the Mac SE, the Portable was still twice as expensive. The Portable included many innovations, including a full-sized keyboard, trackball, sound out and an optional 50 MB hard drive.

Perhaps the most innovative element of the Portable was its display. An active matrix model, each pixel was controlled by its own transistor, creating a beautiful image. Sharp manufactured the display, a decision which would come to haunt Apple after the release. The display was very high resolution for notebooks of the time, 640x400, and many of the displays were released with dead pixels. Apple refused to service any Portable with less than 6 dead pixels.

The biggest hindrance to the Portable was its weight. Unlike the PC world, which used NiCad batteries, the Portable used Lead Acid batteries, the same type found in automobiles. The batteries yielded over 12 hours of life, but they were far heavier than their NiCad brethren. The machine weighed 16.7 pounds, too heavy to be used on aeroplanes, the tray tables would snap under the weight. Another problem was the display. Though it was very crisp in direct light, if the user was outdoors, or in a dimmed room, the display would become impossible to read. Come February of 1991, Apple would release a backlit version, thus eliminating the problem.

The new portable did not sell badly, but it was less than Apple expected. Apple ended up teaming up with Sony to create the PowerBook, which solved all of the shortcomings of the Mac portable.

Re:Powered by "PostNuke" (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536344)

> I love it. As perfect a description of a slashdotting as I've ever seen.
>
>Do you want to play a game?

Ahem. That's "Shall we play a game?" to you, sir.

Turn in your geek card. As mistakes go, that's a WOPR. (Slashdot is a strange game. The only winning move is not to play.)

Re:Powered by "PostNuke" (1)

snookerdoodle (123851) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536375)

"Problem in Database Connection"

I guess that isn't Flop # 1...

third post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536269)

again

site already /.ed (4, Funny)

all your mwbassguy a (720029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536273)

did they host this on a newton, a pippin, or an apple ///?

I must commend Apple (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536274)

Even at flopping, they're quite innovative.

that was fast (1)

shadowzero313 (827228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536276)

anyone have a mirror link?

oops (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536277)

seems your link doesn't work, you fail it!

Brazil 2005 goal!

#11 Flop: Running on postnuke (1)

Ultra Magnus (312814) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536279)

Seriously, everyone I talk to knows that postnuke (or even phpnuke) can scale easily. And then comes /.

Dead already? (1)

xneubien (628441) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536280)

Wow...no posts and its already gone.

Microsoft Word 6? (5, Interesting)

eweu (213081) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536281)

This is a fairly good list of notable Apple flubs, but why include Microsoft Word 6? It sure was a dog, but that wasn't Apple's fault.

In it's place, I'd like to nominate the Apple ///. It was such a failure that perhaps the list's originator doesn't even know about it.

Re:Microsoft Word 6? (1)

richcoder (539438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536422)

Read the post ...top ten list of Apple's (and some of associated partners)...

He makes it clear that these are not all Apple company flops.

-rich

Speaking for the Apple owners... (1)

isny (681711) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536282)

Blasphemy!!!
Of course, I own a pc...

Re:Speaking for the Apple owners... (2, Interesting)

Dorothy 86 (677356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536342)

why has the PC become synonamous with X86? AFAIK PC still stands for Personal Computer... I haven't questioned the trend before, the thought just struck me.

Re:Speaking for the Apple owners... (1)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536376)

Because, currently, 'PC' is taken to mean "IBM PC Compatible" and not "Anything smaller than a refrigerator." Words and phrases change definitions, both implicit and explicit, all the time.

Re:Speaking for the Apple owners... (1)

Dorothy 86 (677356) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536426)

As I said, the thought just struck me. But that makes sense; I didn't really think about it that way.

Re:Speaking for the Apple owners... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536475)

But why describe the generic thing as a personal computer? AFAIR, before the IBM PC, "Microcomputer" was at least as common a name. And the likes of Amiga and Atari were "Home Computers". When the clones came along, they were called IBM PC compatibles, and then shortened to PCs. It was certainly this X86 branch of the computer world that popularised the PC acronym. Why confuse matters by using PC as a generic name. Use "Desktop computer" (or Laptop) when meaning the generic thing rather than PC to avoid confusion.

Re:Speaking for the Apple owners... (0)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536432)

We appreciate the moral support, infidel dog.

First on the list... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536283)

According to the first one in TFA:

Problem in database connection

You'd think they'd be a little more specific.

Most recent blunder (4, Interesting)

amichalo (132545) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536284)

I think a recent blunder many remember but will soon be forgotten is the whole iMac G5 blunder.

Apple misjudged product availability and actually ran out of iMac G4's for two months before they released the iMac G5.

Yeah, the iMac G5 has relaly been making sales records at Apple, but how much of that is due to there being nothing in the iMac line for people to buy for two months?

The real story is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536358)

"Apple misjudged product availability and actually ran out of iMac G4's for two months before they released the iMac G5"

In reality, nobody was buying the iMac G4, and so Apple judged they had enough in the pipeline and dealer's shelves to last.

Maybe they didn't get it quite right, but it made no sense to continue making a product that was not a good seller for Apple.

That's the real story.

Re:Most recent blunder (4, Insightful)

ozric99 (162412) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536367)

Apple starve the market of "old tech" just before releasing "new tech", thus creating massive demand and huge sales figures, and you describe this as a blunder? I'll have two of whatever you're having!

Re:Most recent blunder (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536368)

Yeh, their supplier really screwed the pooch with the G4's, which is why they've since changed.

However, the G5 was mega-popular. Everyone I knew wanted one, even MS zealots (that hated anything not MS).

The speed, the sexiness, and the 64-bit... they road a storm with that one.

Me, G4 is good enough (for now). My PowerBook runs fine (though not as snappy as my main dev machine). But OS X more than makes up for that.

At least... (4, Insightful)

Ikn (712788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536289)

At least one of the flops isn't the OS the entire company is based on. Just sayin'.

Re:At least... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536308)

They'd be making a ton more on their OS if they made an x86 version. But, the Apple zealots will respond to this stating that doing so would cut in to their hardware profits or something. Whatever. :)

Re:At least... (0)

Have Blue (616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536416)

Huh? System/MacOS was a decent platform for 11 years (1984-1995, when Microsoft caught up). And Apple hasn't done anything involving OS 9 other than maintenance on the Classic environment since 2002 at the latest. They don't even sell computers that can run it any more. The company is no more based on classic MacOS than Microsoft is based on DOS (even less so, since there are no harmful side effects to deleting OS 9 entirely on an X machine, unless you count not being able to run legacy programs).

Mirrordot (1)

mt v2.7 (772403) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536291)

0 comments and it's down already?

http://mirrordot.org/stories/8739fc09d2972ac5841 0a 3f342a33f43/index.html

MIrrordot to the rescue ^_^

Great a mirror of "Problem in Database" message (1)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536326)

nothing rescued here

Re:Mirrordot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536328)

hehe for sure. interesting though given today's discussion about Apple's global impact

Re:Mirrordot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536343)

Link /.'d

Re:Mirrordot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536347)

Great -- now we have the "Problem in Database Connection" mirrored... I guess the MirrorDot's automagic story parser was too slow.

Re:Mirrordot (1)

Piquan (49943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536357)

Mirrordot shows me the same "Problem in Database Connection" page.

Re:Mirrordot (1)

gremlins (588904) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536383)

You would think mirrordot would spring for the extra cash to to get a subscription so they can see the story early and mirror links

useful (2, Funny)

tfoss (203340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536394)

http://mirrordot.org/stories/8739fc09d2972ac58410a 3f342a33f43/index.html

So glad mirrordot is able to mirror the "Problem in Database Connection" page.

-Ted

Re:Mirrordot (1)

snookerdoodle (123851) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536397)

"Hey man! The MirrorDot page you are looking for is not here."

Who's gonna rescue MirrorDot?

Flop #1 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536296)

Hiring steve jobs.

3 words: HOCKEY PUCK MOUSE (1, Insightful)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536298)

3 words: HOCKEY PUCK MOUSE

Re:3 words: HOCKEY PUCK MOUSE (1)

michaeldot (751590) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536454)

I love the hockey puck mouse!

It was a very precise little pointing instrument, and I used to specifically plug one in when I had pixel accurate point selection to do.

Admittedly, I may have smaller hands than most.

I much preferred it to the current BAR OF SOAP, which I've given away to relative / friends, but I've kept the hockey puck.

This site flopped (1)

Ostie (851551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536303)

"Problem in Database Connection" I think this site just flopped.

Apple ///, anyone? (5, Informative)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536304)

Why the heck isn't the Apple /// in there? They made it for three whole years, less than 100,000 units (something around 75,000 I believe?).

The first models were plagued by quality control problems - a clock chip from National Semiconductor that wouldn't work, inadequate ventilation resulting in the unseating of chips (which was rectified by lifting the computer a few inches and dropping it), too-short keyboard cables, and very little software.

The Apple ///'s reputation was ruined almost right after it was out of the gate, despite the advanced SOS. Production stopped in '83 I believe, and it's a damn good thing Apple had the Mac coming out right afterwards.

Here is a picture of the Apple ///. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536371)

http://www.mynewoffice.com/pcmuseum/AppleIII_336.j pg [mynewoffice.com]

You have to admit that it is cool looking. Weird-ass keyboard (why make a numerical keyboard with just subtraction?!), but cool looking.

Re:Here is a picture of the Apple ///. (2, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536451)

Just one question. Which game needs the top-row '9' key all the time?

Re:Here is a picture of the Apple ///. (1)

richcoder (539438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536488)

This picture does prove that Jobs didn't always require beutiful design of his products.

-rich

Re:Apple ///, anyone? (5, Interesting)

mveloso (325617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536465)

What's amazing to me is the Apple ][ series lifespan was from 1977 to 1993. Unbelievable! That's 16 years from the original Apple ][ to the last gs EOL.

Flops at Apple are predictable (5, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536305)

Apple has always had significant trouble when Steve Jobs is not at the helm. Gil Amelio and his drive to gain business credibility really put a huge pain on the company.

It has always been about Steve Jobs. The man has insight and what could almost be considered clairvoyance when it comes to building things that people crave. God knows that I'm one of those at his feet, weeping and bathing him in frankincense.

Flops at Apple are predictable-Baby on board. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536401)

"God knows that I'm one of those at his feet, weeping and bathing him in frankincense."

As long as you don't have his baby. We will not say a word.

"This Website is powered by PostNuke" (3, Funny)

richcoder (539438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536313)

What a bad place for this notice on this website. I know where to go if I want a server that can't stand the heat.

-rich

Re:"This Website is powered by PostNuke" (1)

Ostie (851551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536338)

lol, yeah that notice was pretty dumb,specialy with the : " Although this site is running the PostNuke software it has no other connection to the PostNuke Developers. Please refrain from sending messages about this site or its content to the PostNuke team, the end will result in an ignored e-mail."

timothy's gay porn career (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536314)

shows a real flop

Re:timothy's gay porn career (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536393)

You watch gay porn?

down (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536320)

The database would appear to be hosted on a Newton.

down-Cavity Computing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536440)

"The database would appear to be hosted on a Newton."

Oh please. Mine's running on a Hostess Ding Dong.

Missing option (1)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536322)

CowboyNeal is my apple

Umm.... wasn't it a poll?

Always liked the Tangerine iMac (2, Interesting)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536324)

I don't know what's on the list (site's slashdotted), but many people derided the Tangerine [princeton.edu] (orange) colored iMac.

Personally, I always loved that color and thought it was the most stylish one of the lot.

"she comes in colors everywhere..."

Sam

Re:Always liked the Tangerine iMac (4, Funny)

linuxbert (78156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536478)

I was once an admin for a mac only company. they ran Eudora mail sever on a tangerine imac. they ran it on a tangerine imac beacuse nobody in the office wanted that color on their desk.

I also once worked for a Mac retailer. 2 guys walked off with a tangerine ibook. the one question i had for my co-workers working at the time was how did you not notice them stealing a bright orange laptop. anyway, i doubt they were able to resell it :)

The site is down... (0, Troll)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536331)

...so here's my list of the 10 worst moments in Apple history.

1. Apple creates the first-generation Newton.
2. Apple discontinues the second-generation Newton, just as it was getting good.
3. Pippin. Apple was trying to create a game console. Microsoft had gone nowhere with the MSX; who was Apple to even try?!
4. Yellow Box. What the hell was that?
5. Mac TV. Take the greatest invention of the 20th century and couple it with the worst invention of the 20th century.
6. The toilet-seat iBooks. I know, let's sell a computer that has absolutely no video out, but it has a handle! Even TV-watching idiots stayed away.
7. Discontinuing 1-800-SOS-APPL. Now if you want support you have to buy AppleCare for as much as $350 -- and even then you get treated like crap unless you buy ProCare for $100 more!!
8. The iPod Mini. You can get five times as much storage for only $50 more.
9. The hockey-puck mouse. I know: let's make our computers not only hard to use, let's make them downright PAINFUL!

And the tenth worst event in Apple history is:

10. Apple not buying Be. Honestly, NeXT has no business being on my desktop.

Thank you, thank you. If you'd like to see more of these, please sign up with one of my valued partners [freeminimacs.com] . Once ten people do, I'll post again.

Flops, big deal! (3, Interesting)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536332)

Any company that challenges the state of technology at any given time has to have flops. Hell, ANY business that strives to push the boundary has to have flops. Has MS had flops? Yep. Has GE? Yep. But the underlying strength of any company is how it deals with those flops, how it changes direction, how it survives, and how it kicks ass in the long run. However, the list would be interesting to see...though it's not loading for me.

Pathetic (2, Informative)

drgath159 (821707) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536336)

lol... mirrordot couldn't even grab the story before the server melted.

Kernel OOPS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536346)

Single most visible failure was using ObjectiveC/BSD Kernel instead of C++/Aqua on Linux kernel. With Linux kernel, most developers/geeks now using PC would use Mac instead becouse it will solve all hw problems they have. BFU wouldn't even notice any change, if aqua remains the same. The biggest failure is they didn't attract developers.

Two words... (3, Insightful)

tattoi.nobori (687297) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536355)

Microsoft Bob.

(For every Cube Apple produces, Microsoft is happy to come back with a Windows ME or MS Passport. At least with Apple, the flagship OS doesn't kick you in the jewels every time you sit down to use it. ^_^)

Jobs' Secret Police... (2, Funny)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536361)

...got to him.

Problem in Database Connection

Speak poorly of Apple, and you will suffer. The smily face in my Finder window is merely a distraction.

Thank goodness for the flops (3, Insightful)

jockm (233372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536363)

Because the only way you can innovate and try and make better is by getting out there and trying risky things and learning from your mistakes. I applaud any company willing go out and try these things.

Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536364)

The one button mouse...Oh, wait they're still shipping that thing?

Egg Freckles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536386)

Egg Freckles

Cube "Cracks" (4, Interesting)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536387)

I dunno, I honestly thought the cube "cracks" could take the place of something as lame as the asinine iMac colors.

For those who don't remember, the Cubes would occasionally develop these "cracks," for lack of a better term. IIRC, owners started to see hairline fissures slowly appear underneath the ploycarbonate surface. Apple played it off by saying it added to the "personality" of the cubes, since each set of cracks was unique.

Heck, I love the cubes and I'd probably put them in that blunder list; if Apple could've figured out a way to make them a bit more powerful or a bit cheaper, they may have been succesful. As it was, their exorbitant pricing simply reinforced the notion that "macs are too expensive."

We definetely have a trouble with some companys .. (2, Interesting)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536391)

For Example, IBM, Google, Apple, and now, Sun (Which is in a similar situation to IBM).

We would like to be able to love this companys, we are geeks, we love technology, and we tend to try to extend that love to the creators of the technology that we like, but this are busnisses, that are trying to make money. That fact doesn't make them more or less evil, but it shows us that instead of loving or hating them, we should understand that they are part of a market, in which they compete, and that we are their customers. The only card we can play is the decition to be their customer or not, and we should take that decition based on our own ethics, and in the general politics of the company, or on how much we need their products, but _NOT_ on their slashdot karma.

ALMAFUERTE

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536406)

That site got Slashdotted so fast, Mirrordot didn't even have time to grab a mirror.

Article text, links & images intact (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536414)

Posted anonymously to avoid whoring karma!!

--

Top 10 Apple Flops

Though Apple computer is known for some of the computing and technology industry's most notable innovations, its not as if the company hasn't also taken its lumps. Thomas Hormby submitted the following editorial contribution to osOpinion/osViews, which supplies us with his top ten list of Apple's (and some of associated partners) most significant flops throughout the company's history.

[Image] [osviews.com] Apple and its compatriots have been highly innovative. These companies have proven that even if their ideas are well implemented, they cannot always promote them correctly. Other times, a good idea is implemented poorly, and despite their best marketing effort, the product fails. I have compiled 10 of the most notable products released by Apple or its comrades that have failed.

Apple Pippin

[Image] [osviews.com] Introduced under Spindler's rule as CEO, the Pippin should have won Apple a position in the console market, one Apple had yet to penetrate. Apple's goal was to make the Pippin a multimedia machine, capable of reading CD ROMs, surfing the internet and to play games.

Apple had decided to share the Pippin's source code with developers for a licensing fee. The developers had a lot more flexibility, and would be able to redesign the Pippin's software to make it attractive for any number of markets. However, Apple was able to recruit only 4500 developers willing to pay the licensing fee.

The operating system of the Pippin was based on the MacOS and with a PowerPC 603 running at 66 MHZ, the Pippin used a similar processor to desktop macs at that time. Being a multimedia machine, the Pippin was capable of producing CD quality sound, and displaying up to thousands of colors. With the powerful Power PC processor, Apple thrashed Nintendo and Sega consoles performance wise, but never won a sizable portion of the market.

OpenDoc

[Image] [osviews.com] The concept behind OpenDoc is an intuitive one. Many elements of applications are redundant (calculators, multimedia players, spreadsheets). Why not 'cut them up' and use different modules interchangeably. Each file would then make calls on these different modules as needed. With OpenDoc, if a user wished to create a word processor document that includes a spreadsheet, the user would not have to copy it over as a table, or use a gimped up version included with the word processor. Instead, they could call up the ClarisWorks for OpenDoc Spreadsheet module and have a full-blown spreadsheet in the middle of a word processing document.

OpenDoc development started in 1995 in collaboration with Novell, IBM and Apple. In 1997, Apple integrated OpenDoc into its core strategy, releasing several OpenDoc apps, and including the technology in Mac OS 7.6. At the same time, the technology was being developed for Windows and UNIX. The companies created the Ci Labs which would authorize OpenDoc components that proved to be compatible as Live Objects.

In accordance to Apple's vision, it became possible with the OpenDoc compatible version of ClarisWorks to create a document that integrated various OpenDoc modules. The example below has an integrated Video Conferencing session with QuickTime, a browser frame from CyberDog and a graph from another OpenDoc module.

Since 1996, Novell has ceased Windows development of OpenDoc, forcing IBM to take on responsibilities for the platform at the same time they continued development on their AIX (UNIX from IBM). The two versions both evolved and were mature commercial products in 1997. There were problems for OpenDoc, however. At the same time, Microsoft released ann updated version of OLE, and released ActiveX, that closely mimicked the OpenDoc principles. OpenDoc was embraced by major OS developers, but it had failed to attract third party developers. Mac OS 8 was the last release from Apple to include OpenDoc, and it was quietly killed at the hands of Gil Amelio.

Mac TV

[Image] [osviews.com] Apple was the first major personal computer manufacturer to release a machine with a bundled TV tuner to the public. The Macintosh TV was Apple's first effort in merging the home theater and personal computer. The machine was also one of the only two black Macs ever made (the second being a special edition 5400 sold only in Europe).

The Macintosh TV was first envisioned as a tenth anniversary Mac, but it was eventually cancelled. After the unexpected success of the Color Classic, John Sculley requested that a machine comparable to the Color Classic be made with a CD ROM drive and a 14 Trinitron CRT. The logic card was a slightly modified IIvx, Apple's midrange 68030 machine. The Macintosh TV was released on October 23, 1993, shortly after being resurrected.

The new machine was designed to be low cost and have a small footprint. Its most notable features were its TV tuner card and remote control. The TV tuner code had RCA and coaxial inputs, allowing users to use VCR's and watch broadcast television. To control the CD ROM drive and TV Tuner, Apple also included a remote control. In order to prevent the Mac TV from stealing sales from higher end machines, Apple limited its RAM capacity to 8 MB, as opposed to the 68 MB limit present in the IIvx. The TV card was also somewhat limited, it did not allow users to record television and it was only capable of displaying video in full-screen mode, or playing TV audio in the background.

Met with much fanfare at its launch, Apple primarily peddled the machine to college students and early adopters. It only sold the machine at 230 retail locations, mostly electronics stores. As a result, Apple sold only 10,000 units, making it far rarer than the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Apple discontinued the model quietly several months after its introduction in February of 1994. The Macintosh TV was not Apple's last TV capable machine. Apple created a LC PDS card that included a TV and FM Radio tuner. The new tuner card added the ability to record television and watch it in a window.

Mac XL/Lisa

[Image] [osviews.com] In 1978, Steve Jobs and William Hawkins, marketing czar at Apple, decided the time was right to introduce a new generation of computers to replace the Apple II line. In 1979, the Lisa project was started. Lisa was to include an entirely new architecture and operating system, and was to be priced at about $2,000. The Lisa was to include a green phosphorous display, a keyboard and traditional text-based user interface. The name Lisa is believed to be taken from that of Steve Jobs' first child, it's official name was Local Integrated Software Structures.

In 1979, Bill Atkinson, an engineer on the Lisa design team, invited Steve Jobs to Palo Alto Research Center, in Xerox, where the GUI, laser printing, Ethernet and other advanced technologies were being developed. Xerox, nervous of leaks of their technology, decided to prohibit visits to the center. Luckily, Apple was able to convince Xerox to capitulate, and scheduled a visit under some conditions. Xerox was given a 5% stake in Apple, and allowed Apple to visit PARC twice. For Xerox, the deal was incredibly profitable, for Apple it was even more so. Jobs discovered the Alto, a revolutionary computer with a mouse-controlled GUI. It is the same computer that inspired Jef Raskin to start evangelizing the Macintosh project.

Jobs decided to change the Lisa project to mimic the Alto at Palo Alto. Indeed, it would be foolish to think that Apple would not use the information from Xerox, but most of the interface elements of the Lisa were created entirely at Apple. The menu bars, one-buttoned mouse, computer-wide copy and paste and the trash can were all designed at Apple. Moreover, many researchers at Palo Alto jumped ship from Xerox to Apple, many within a fortnight of their visit.

In July, 1982, Lisa was finished being developed, and started the debugging process. On January 19, 1983, during the annual shareholder meeting, Apple introduced the Lisa. At the time of release, the Lisa was priced at $9,995, rather than the $2,000 first planned.

The Lisa came equipped with a (blazing fast) 5 MHZ 68000 processor, the same processor used in the PDP line of minicomputers a decade before, 1 MB of RAM, two 'Twiggy' drives, a 5 MB hard drive originally intended to be used on the Apple III and a black and white screen with a resolution of 720 pixels by 364 pixels. A comprehensive office suite was included with the computer, as there was no other software available.

The Lisa suffered from many ails. First, it was too expensive, far too expensive for Apple's existing market base. Next, it was too slow. Lastly, there was very little software developed for the computer, as many were waiting for the Macintosh to be introduced. Later, Apple tried to recover their investment by introducing a Lisa for $6,995, without the bundled software included on the higher end model.

In 1984, the Lisa 2 replaced the original version. Twice as fast as its elder (and with half the memory) and equipped with a 3.5 inch floppy drive, incompatible with the Macintosh. In 1985, the Lisa 2 was replaced with the Macintosh XL. It was a stock Lisa 2 with snow white lines, and MacWorks, and emulation package designed to run Macintosh software on the Lisa. The last Lisa left the factory on May 15, 1985.

Lisa was not yet finished. The thousands that were not sold were bought by Sun Remarketing, which converted the computers into Macs. In 1989, Apple requested Sun to stop marketing the Lisa, and buried the last 2700 computers in a field.

Microsoft Word 6.0

Microsoft Word 5.1 was an incredibly popular software product for the Mac. Unlike today, Apple users respected Microsoft, and embraced their products. Microsoft threw away that respect with the release of Microsoft Word 6.0.

The MacBU (Mac Business Unit at Microsoft) hoped to reach feature parity with the Windows version of Word through a project called Pyramid. Pyramid was a very ambitious project, involving a total rewrite for WinWord and Word for the Mac. With the new version, Microsoft would be able to keep WordPerfect at bay on both platforms, and lower costs by cutting the time between major versions. The management changed at the MacBU, and the project was dropped. The new manager decided to just use WinWord 2.0's code-base on the Mac.

The project was moving along fairly well, until they started adding new features. The developers were running into the limitations of the 68k hardware available at the time. Very few machines had enough RAM to run the entire program. Instead, the developers decided to load only the features that the user was using. This saved RAM space, but made the program slower, as it had to load new features from the disk whenever the user wanted them.

Word 6.0 did not feel like a Mac application. All of its controls looked like they were taken straight WIndows. They were gray, and had a 3d effect. Besides the overall look, users were unable to use many of the tricks and shortcuts used in other Mac programs. Rick Schaut, a Word 6.0 developer pointed out his favorite example [asp.net] of Word 6.0 not being Mac like:

My favorite example of this is they way you defined styles. In
Mac Word 5.0, style definition was a semi-modal task. You defined
or modified a style the same way you changed the font or paragraph
properties in the document itself. In Mac Word 6.0, the task was
completely modal. The entire array of menus and toolbar buttons
that you could use in Mac Word 5.0 (and with which you were quite
familiar as a user) was replaced by a single drop-down menu in the
New/Modify style dialog box. Even today, you can't use the
Formatting Palette to change the font or paragraph information in a
style in Word 2001 or Word X, and this remains one of the things I
want to fix in Word before I leave MacBU.

Word 6.0 was poorly received, and was lampooned well after the well received Word 98. Microsoft even started reselling versions of Word 5.1 to placate angry customers.

copland

Apple began developing a new operating system in 1987. The Macintosh System Software was very pleasant and innovative, but it was not advanced enough to compete with OS/2 or UNIX workstations. The Macintosh System Software was somewhat unstable when compared to OS/2, lacked protected memory and had no threaded memory or preemptive multitasking.

If Apple was to attract new customers coming from the high-priced PC and UNIX workstations, it would be necessary for it to create a new operating system, and not rest on it's laurels. To make a more stable and polished operating system, it would be necessary to start anew. Two operating systems were created. They were called Blue and Pink, named for the flash cards used in their founding meetings. Blue would become System 7, and Pink would be developed by Taligent. Pink was killed in 1995, and was developed solely by IBM. Beginning in 1991, a new Operating system was being created, called copland (an American composer). It was an ambitious project, both on the system level and on the user interaction level. The system was expected to offer the advanced features of UNIX with the elegance and ease of Macintosh.

copland included an innovative interface, which revolved around themes. It was possible to customize every element of the interface. The themes would change according to the logged-on user. Vital to operating system's success, Apple made copland platform-agnostic. The cloners would be able to run copland on their machines without having to license the ROM's from Apple. The system offered a viable plethora of new technologies. QuickDraw GX, OpenDoc, PoweRoal, WuickTime, OpenTransport, etc... To benefit from the innovations in the new operating system, developers would have to rewrite their programs. The system would become resistant to crashes and sloppy code. If a program crashed, it would leave the other apps running, intact, the same if a program accessed a restricted or corrupt resource.

copland was to be ninety-five percent Power PC native. The system would be able to manage disks up to .25 terabytes. The virtual memory would be completely rewritten in the style of UNIX boxes. The entire operating system would be able to be upgraded without taking down the system, even without slowing down the computer during the process.

No longer would searches be based only on file attributes and titles, it would actually search (text) document's content. It would record the results in an ordinary window, updated by a background practice, much like BeOS and its tracker. The results would be able to be sorted by types, size and relevance. Many of the new features of Copland were integrated into the traditional Mac OS:

* MacOS 8: platinum interface, presentation by buttons, small Aide, reduction of the windows, window-drawers, multiple copies
* MacOS 8.5: new open dialog boxes, management of the topics, icons in the bar of titles.
* MacOS 9: alert boxes below the application menu, multiple users
* MacOS X: Lack of compatibility for the old applications, preemptive multitasking, virtual memory management, protected memory

The project was not developed with self control. Each segment of the operating system was entrusted to small groups of developers, working in concert without a central authoriy. Come 1997, though there were three operating systems (MKLinux, Copland, nuKernel) in active development for over a decade by Apple, not one of them shipped, though there were functional betas available. Gil Amelio canceled the project, which had by now cost millions of dollars. It was at that time that Apple decided to adopt NeXTStep as its next consumer operating system.

[Image] [osviews.com] [Image] [osviews.com] [Image] [osviews.com]

eWorld

[Image] [osviews.com] The use of telecommunications is not new, AppleLink, based on a General Electric network already made it possible for Apple retailers to connect remotely to Apple's internal network for $100 per hour. In 1988, the general public was offered AppleLink, this time based on Quantum. The two networks coexisted for some time, until prices became to high, even for Apple. Quantam and Apple split, and Quantam was renamed AOL. Apple was not discouraged, and would pursue the idea at a later date.

Apple decided to cut the AppleLink network, and create a new ISP focused on consumers in 1992. After several tests, Apple decided to join with AOL to help set up the network. On January 5, 1994, eWorld was announced, and was released on June 20. eWorld was focused around a pictographic village with various areas, like a news stand, where users can pull news off the wire, a post office, for email, etc. The eWorld interface was very simple. The app would tell you if your machine would be able to recover lost files, calculate the time necessary to download them and also control costs. It is thus possible to seek information, download images, sounds, texts and buy items in the store at the same time.

eWorld's premise was not flawed. Rather, its execution was. The price was exorbitant, leaving most users unable to afford such a service. Users were billed $10 a month, and then $8 per hour. As problems mounted, the competition caught up. eWorld was too expensive, especially compared to its competition. With the development of the internet, it became increasingly difficult for Apple to make eWorld's content compelling enough for users to pay a premium. At the same time, Apple's partners were creating Web sites, often times providing the same services Apple's customers paid for, for free. Finally, eWorld (renames empty World by its few remaining inhabitants) was abandoned by Apple on March 31, 1996. The sun will set forever on eWorld. Thanks to an agreement with AOL, Apple moved all of its customers to AOL's service. Disenfranchised customers would lament forever the loss of the service.

Puck Mouse/Kiddie Keyboard

[Image] [osviews.com] At the time of the iMac release in 1998, it was unimaginable that this machine would come with an AppleDesign Keyboard, like all of the other desktop Mac models. Jonathon Ive and Steve Jobs pressed their design team to create an imaginative alternative. The mouse and keyboard were completely redesigned to meet the aesthetic standards set out by the iMac. The designers at Apple did not care for the traditional mouse. It required that the user move his or her entire arm to manipulate it. The designers worked to allow users to use their fingertips to manipulate the mouse, making the task less tiring. The designers also made the mouse button more responsive, to allow one finger to easily click it.

Users were not universally pleased with the new mouse. It was now totally symmetrical, preventing many users from easily telling which way is up. Also, the smaller design made it difficult for large handed users to use it comfortably. The keyboard was even less popular. It eliminated several keys present on the AppleDesign Keyboard, and shrunk the cursor keys, function keys and aux keys to half of their size. The new design was different enough that many users had trouble typing with them, causing many to miss keys, and slow down.

The keyboard is almost universally reviled. The mouse, on the other hand, is popular amongst many who prefer using their fingertips to guide their mouse. Never the less, many users chose to use a third-party mouse.

There were rumors that the mouse and keyboard would randomly ignite. This prospect unnerved many potential buyers, but it was unfounded. During a presentation, a table that Steve Jobs used to display the iMac lit on fire, not the keyboard or mouse. Eventually, in July 2000, Apple replaced the offending products with the Apple Pro Mouse and Apple Pro Keyboard, both of which had a somewhat more conventional design.

Flower Power/Blue Dalmatian iMac [Image] [osviews.com] [Image] [osviews.com]

The second generation iMac featured a slot-loading CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or CD-RW drive, FireWire in most models, silent, fan-less operation, and the option of AirPort networking. The colors and patterns available in this generation were initially the same five flavors as the last versions; later indigo, ruby, sage, graphite, snow, Blue Dalmatian, and Flower Power became available. This generation of the iMac were the pinnacle of design and function. The flimsy tray loading optical drive was replaced, and every important interface used in current Macintoshes were slowly added: USB, Firewire, modem, ethernet, wireless networking, CDRW, and VGA output. The only holdbacks were the size of the non-replaceable screen, and the relatively slow processor.

Despite their technical prowess, the Flower Power and Blue Dalmatians were the jokes of the computer industry. Very few people were willing to own such unique looking products. Apple eventually discontinued the two models several months after their introduction.

Macintosh Portable

[Image] [osviews.com] The machine was released on September 20, 1989 for $5,799. The Portable was a no compromise machine, much to the delight of John Louis Gassée.

Almost identical to the Mac SE, the Portable was still twice as expensive. The Portable included many innovations, including a full-sized keyboard, trackball, sound out and an optional 50 MB hard drive.

Perhaps the most innovative element of the Portable was its display. An active matrix model, each pixel was controlled by its own transistor, creating a beautiful image. Sharp manufactured the display, a decision which would come to haunt Apple after the release. The display was very high resolution for notebooks of the time, 640x400, and many of the displays were released with dead pixels. Apple refused to service any Portable with less than 6 dead pixels.

The biggest hindrance to the Portable was its weight. Unlike the PC world, which used NiCad batteries, the Portable used Lead Acid batteries, the same type found in automobiles. The batteries yielded over 12 hours of life, but they were far heavier than their NiCad brethren. The machine weighed 16.7 pounds, too heavy to be used on aeroplanes, the tray tables would snap under the weight. Another problem was the display. Though it was very crisp in direct light, if the user was outdoors, or in a dimmed room, the display would become impossible to read. Come February of 1991, Apple would release a backlit version, thus eliminating the problem.

The new portable did not sell badly, but it was less than Apple expected. Apple ended up teaming up with Sony to create the PowerBook, which solved all of the shortcomings of the Mac portable. ::

Thomas Hormby is a high school student in Nashville, Tennessee. He maintains two Mac history websites, http://www.mlagazine.com [mlagazine.com] and http://www.macreate.net [macreate.net] .

Question... (4, Funny)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536415)

Just how many floating point operations is an Apple flop?

I'll need to know this information before I can top one, much less ten of them!

Their mouse (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536421)

Sites down atm (cue Nuke jokes here), but it's gotta be their one button mouse, shorty followed by their excuses that it's all people really need.
Really, JUST one button?

An overlooked flop (4, Insightful)

overbyj (696078) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536434)

was really the whole Performa line of computers. At the time the Performa's were aimed at the home user and overall they were a decent computer. But the flop part was the fact that there were something like 8,000 different versions! (Of course, I am exaggerating, but only by a little bit.)

I remember going to OfficeDepot and looking at the Performas and they along had like six different models with six different model numbers. Something like 6510, 6511, 6512, 6514, 6515, etc. (I know the actual numbers were different. These are to illustrate my point.) There were just very subtle differences between the models but for whatever reason, it warranted a different number. Basically it was a nightmare trying to remember what was the difference between any two numbers. That whole scheme of trying to provide a range of configurations was a flop. Fortunately, Steve undid that and cut down the product line into four basic models. I, for one, welcomed that.

x86 is faster and more scalable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536436)

'nuf said

How appropriate (1)

dmccarty (152630) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536437)

Running Postnuke? After a slashdotting you'll wish you had signed up for Prenuke.

10 Flops over 50 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11536449)

the original article is /. so I googled and found something similar with Apple making its appearence twice on it (Newton and Lisa)

http://www.elecdesign.com/Articles/ArticleID/283 9/ 2839.html

boooo (1)

xamomike (831092) | more than 9 years ago | (#11536464)

If your going to /. a link somewhere, make sure its hosted on a static page at least.
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