Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 30th Oct 2008 20:44 UTC
Apple With the success of the iPod, the subsequent resurgence in popularity of the Macintosh platform, and the recent iPhone smash hit, it's hard to imagine that Apple was once a company that tried to enter every market possible, leaving a trail of flopped products in its wake. Forbes lists ten of them, and we take a look at some of them, and add one of our own.
Order by: Score:
but today.
by renhoek on Thu 30th Oct 2008 21:09 UTC
renhoek
Member since:
2007-04-29

and none of those flops affected the computer i'm using right now. apple might have made some mistakes, but at least it didn't screw me.

but it's fun to read about apple hardware i never knew existed.

Reply Score: 1

Apple's first flop
by MobyTurbo on Thu 30th Oct 2008 21:29 UTC
MobyTurbo
Member since:
2005-07-08

They began with the Lisa, Apple's first flop was the Apple III. The Apple III was an attempt to sell a business machine for Apple, in contrast to their market of home and education computers at the time.

Reply Score: 1

Two (and maybe three more)
by pantheraleo on Thu 30th Oct 2008 21:41 UTC
pantheraleo
Member since:
2007-03-07

The Apple III definitely should have been on that list. I was still working as a computer tech back then. We used to call them popcorn makers. Steve Jobs didn't allow the designers to use a fan, cause he thought they were too noisy. The result was the things ran so hot the motherboards literally warped and would pop chips out of the sockets. Apple actually sent out a tech bulletin that suggested sometimes lifting the unit a few inches off the desk and dropping it would be enough to re-seat the chips and restore normal function.

The Macintosh Performa should probably be on that list as well, as it was largely a flop. It was a consumer level machine that did very poorly and was not marketed well.

Didn't Apple also create a limited edition gold colored Macintosh once on one of their anniversaries? That almost no one bought because the color was so hidious? (it's a collector's item now though IIRC).

Edited 2008-10-30 21:47 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Two (and maybe three more)
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 31st Oct 2008 07:43 UTC in reply to "Two (and maybe three more)"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

The Macintosh Performa should probably be on that list as well, as it was largely a flop. It was a consumer level machine that did very poorly and was not marketed.


Ah yes, the Performa - IIRC, even most Mac fans of day hated them.

Not to mention the spontaneously-combusting PowerBook from the mid-late 90s(forget the model now - 5400, maybe?).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Two (and maybe three more)
by Adurbe on Fri 31st Oct 2008 09:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Two (and maybe three more)"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

I beg to differ!

My performa 6200cd is still going strong! Granted I dont really use it anymore but it was a wonderful webserver until i bought a new box (or 3) since

In its original Mac form it was a sturdy machine which did all I needed it to

Reply Score: 2

Mac Cube is awesome.
by NathanHill on Thu 30th Oct 2008 21:46 UTC
NathanHill
Member since:
2006-10-06

I am using an old Mac Cube as an entertainment center at home - it works fantastic hooked up to my plasma hd tv. I agree that it was a marvel of engineering - it's so quiet and beautiful.

But hey, I think the measure of a good company or effort is what we learn from our mistakes - and Apple has showed that, in most cases, failures didn't slow them down but helped blossom later ideas.

Reply Score: 1

Cube...
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 30th Oct 2008 22:42 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

From TFA:

But given that the device cost $200 more than the company's comparable G4 PC with similar specs, customers weren't as impressed.


I think it was actually the dual-processor PowerMac G4 that was $200 less than the cube, which was the main reason (IIRC) that the cube's pricing seemed so insane.

Reply Score: 2

Apple II GS
by pantheraleo on Fri 31st Oct 2008 00:32 UTC
pantheraleo
Member since:
2007-03-07

Oh, one more I forgot about.

The Apple IIGS (Apple II Graphics and Sound). It had the benefit of being Apple II compatible (which the Apple III did not without software emulators being loaded first). But the Macintosh (which was not Apple II compatible) had already passed it by. So ultimately the Apple IIGS ended up being a huge failure. Virtually no software was ever written for it that could take advantage of the "GS" part, and customers were mostly stuck with Apple II software, which basically made the GS pointless.

Ironically, Apple killed the GS with their own competing system. hehe

Edited 2008-10-31 00:36 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Apple II GS
by Accident on Fri 31st Oct 2008 01:32 UTC in reply to "Apple II GS"
Accident Member since:
2005-07-29

The GS was not a failure....like you said Apple killed it. The GS sold very well and had a lot of native software. Believe me I have a Woz ROM 1 and a ROM 3 model. They replaced the //e in a lot of schools in the Los Angeles area until the Mac took over.

I wish they made a 32bit version of the 6502!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Apple II GS
by JonathanBThompson on Fri 31st Oct 2008 01:38 UTC in reply to "Apple II GS"
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

For a rather lengthy period of time (not sure how long off the top of my head) the only way you could get color on an Apple computer was to get an Apple 2 series system: this was intentional, as for some weird reason, it was perceived (IMO) that adding color would have been not as business-like for the Mac. As of the time the Apple 2GS was released, anyway, no Apple-made Macintosh supported color at all, either in hardware or software, for the display.

Sadly, Apple seems to have purposely crippled the Apple 2GS in favor of the Macintosh being pushed: keep in mind that the Apple 2GS was actually more expandable than any Mac up to that time, in both RAM as well as other hardware! It also had far more software available, though not much for too long that actually took proper advantage of the hardware capabilities. ProDOS was renamed to ProDOS 8, to clarify the difference between that and ProDOS 16, which was the predecessor to GS OS, which wasn't released until after I no longer had access to an Apple 2GS system (I was in high school when it was released). A pity, really: GS OS was/is far more powerful than MS-DOS ever was, at least at that time. GS OS: a mixture of inheriting a combination of Mac OS fundamentals along with ProDOS, which was derived (and scaled down from) from Apple 3 Sophisticated Operating System, which also was a major influence on the Mac and Lisa OS.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Apple II GS
by ari-free on Fri 31st Oct 2008 02:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Apple II GS"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

I remember when color was considered frivolous! Only a game computer needs color!
Maybe it was because in the business world, everything worth doing had to be printed and there was no way you could print in color with a laser, dot matrix or daisy wheel printer.

Edited 2008-10-31 02:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Apple II GS
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 31st Oct 2008 07:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Apple II GS"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

It was simply because of the relative quality of grayscale displays vs. colour at the time. It took a while for colour monitors to reach the same level of visual quality as contemporary grayscale displays.

Colour displays were also significantly more expensive - so they were initially mainly a luxury item for gamers, home users, clueless PHBs, etc. But if you were using a computer for any serious purpose at the time (and/or valued your eyesight), grayscale was the way to go.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Apple II GS
by Adurbe on Fri 31st Oct 2008 09:46 UTC in reply to "Apple II GS"
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

My first Computer :-D

I remember it fondly...

Reply Score: 2

unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

If you look at the long history of Apple you could say most of their products have been poor or very average with a few brilliant successes in between. Basically every Performa and LC product was junk. In fact anything made while Jobs was absent was junk.

Reply Score: 2

20th Anniversary Mac?
by Morgan on Fri 31st Oct 2008 01:42 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

I know, it was never meant to be a big seller with its limited production, but it was one butt-ugly machine that probably wouldn't have sold much anyway. It was also $7500, which was more than twice the going rate for comparable PowerMacs. Certainly unique, but personally I'd take the Cube off the list and replace it with the TAM.

Reply Score: 2

RE: 20th Anniversary Mac?
by optimusg4 on Fri 31st Oct 2008 02:44 UTC in reply to "20th Anniversary Mac?"
optimusg4 Member since:
2005-07-06

I believe that for $2500 more, you would have someone from Apple deliver it by limo and set it up for you. Not sure if anyone paid $10k for the machine though.

Reply Score: 0

Other Apple Flops
by mbpark on Fri 31st Oct 2008 01:55 UTC
mbpark
Member since:
2005-11-17

I would add (besides the Apple /// and Lisa), the Color Classic (crippled ROMS, 10MB RAM max!), and the Network Server 500/700, which ran AIX and didn't sell well.

Reply Score: 1

Apple TV?!
by Hakime on Fri 31st Oct 2008 04:10 UTC
Hakime
Member since:
2005-11-16

I am not sure if the Apple TV is really a flop given that it basically only makes sense to use it in US because the renting service is only available there. Even if it has sold 250,000 units 6 months after its debut, that's not bad given the difficulty of the market that it tries to address.

And it said from the article that

"But Apple only managed to convince two of the six major movie studios to sign on to offer movies"

This is not the case any more as it offers now movie renting from all majors studios, but again only in US which narrow its potential of success.

I also would not consider the LISA as a flop, maybe commercially (and even it was not sold long enough) but this is from the LISA that the Macintosh came out, all the technologies developed for the LISA were used on the mac. For this regards, the LISA is a crucial product in the computer history and can not be considered as a flop per say.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Apple TV?!
by ari-free on Fri 31st Oct 2008 05:03 UTC in reply to "Apple TV?!"
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

it doesn't make sense in the US either. ;) I don't know what Steve was thinking...well the Mac and iphone are doing very well so you can't complain if Apple takes a few extra risks here and there.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Apple TV?!
by jason_ff on Fri 31st Oct 2008 05:13 UTC in reply to "Apple TV?!"
jason_ff Member since:
2006-06-29

Actually the movie rentals work just fine here in Canada. I think they are also available in some other countries now too (can't remember for sure so don't hold me to it).

I wouldn't really call the AppleTV a flop, but it's also not a runaway hit. They are nice little boxes, but I've never been able to justify a use for one. I think the problem is: anyone who has enough iTunes content (which is what pumps the aTV full of life) probably already has a nice enough display/sound setup with their computer they don't need an AppleTV.

That's how I look at it at least.

Reply Score: 1

Why aren't the iBooks on there?
by D3M0N on Fri 31st Oct 2008 04:13 UTC
D3M0N
Member since:
2005-07-09

Those things have the worst logicboards, EVER. What an embarrassment.

Reply Score: 2

The Apple Cube = painting by Steve McGarrett
by tupp on Fri 31st Oct 2008 07:34 UTC
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

From the OS News comment:

...the Cube, which, despite its numerous hardware flaws and high price, is a design masterpiece that really shows just how brilliant Jonathan Ives can be when he's given more or less a carte blanche.

How is the Apple Cube a "design masterpiece?"

Design can incorporate aesthetics, but design must be practical (and usable) -- that is what differentiates design from art. The Cube's enclosure is impractical and expensive from both a manufacturing standpoint and from a user's perspective. It is merely a costly decoration into which computer components have been placed.

The Cube's enclosure does nothing to improve the use of the computer inside. In fact, the usability and versatility of the computer is hindered by the enclosure.

The design's complete lack of consideration for real world use suggests the type of work one usually sees from a first or second year design student.

Luckily, most other manufacturers/designers have not fallen for this "design for dazzle/let's win an award!" philosophy.


The Cube is, as far as I'm concerned, still the most beautiful computer ever made - and many agree with me, as it found its way to the New York City Museum Of Modern Art.

Beauty is subjective. To me, the Cube enclosure seems like a cheap looking, obsolete fad/style.

I wonder if Moma has any Braun products...


By the way, the title was a mistake, and I cannot correct it with the current OS News system.

Edited 2008-10-31 07:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Every now and then ...
by Gregory Isaacs on Fri 31st Oct 2008 08:12 UTC
Gregory Isaacs
Member since:
2006-06-30

... this topic turns up again. At least every two years. So, nothing new here but perhaps a little entertaining factor.
Apple was brave enough to test design styles with the Cube, first iMacs, the iMac (lamp) like it or not but I think they had an influence on how computers look today.

Reply Score: 1

Uninformed
by abraxas on Fri 31st Oct 2008 13:40 UTC
abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

I had to stop reading after this statement about the Newton:

its laughably inaccurate handwriting recognition was the subject of scorn


This is completely false. In fact most people who have ever actually used a Newton before recall that the handwriting recognition was vastly superior to anything that came after it. I have used a Newton before and I owned an early Palm a short time ater and I remember the regression going from one to the other.

Reply Score: 2

Cube
by siraf72 on Fri 31st Oct 2008 14:04 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

The Cube has to be by far the most amazing computer i've seen. Glaring hardware glitches aside it was beautiful. It has a built in handle with which you lift the entire innards out of the cube to access RAM etc. stunning design and accessibility for such a compact device. Alas it was far from perfect.

Still have a functional Mac SE30 (with 40, yes! 40MB Hard disk - external via scsi, the size of my house....)

--edited typos

Edited 2008-10-31 14:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

The Apple IIc Plus is Another....
by Pelly on Fri 31st Oct 2008 16:37 UTC
Pelly
Member since:
2005-07-07

The Apple IIc Plus was considered a flop, from a sales standpoint, but not by any that I knew who had one.

The reason it flopped is it was an updated 8-bit computer released long AFTER the 16-bit Apple IIgs. The IIc Plus was released in early 1988 and the IIgs was released in mid-1986.

From the perspective of those who had an Apple IIc or IIe the IIc Plus came stock with 256K RAM instead of the regular 128K. It also had an accelerated 65C02 CPU that more ran up to 4MHz instead of 1MHz. Additionally it had an internal power supply and a true internal Apple Disk II 3.5" drive instead of the 5.25" internal drive.

This was a real work-horse, but it was released 2-3 years too late to make a real mark for itself.

Too bad, because it was a heck of a nice machine. Some of the design & engineering went into the Mac line.

Some stats & pics can be seen here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_IIc_Plus

Reply Score: 1

The movie Copland, based
by yakirz on Fri 31st Oct 2008 19:29 UTC
yakirz
Member since:
2006-05-11

on Copland's failure, was a failure itself. Starring Robert De Niro as Steve Jobs, and Sylvester Stallone as Burrell Smith. What a shame ;)

Reply Score: 1

Apple QuickTake
by Mellin on Sat 1st Nov 2008 09:58 UTC
Mellin
Member since:
2005-07-06

QuickTake 100 and 150 : Kodak

QuickTake 200: Fujifilm

Reply Score: 2