Steve Jobs's Biggest Apple Flops

In Steve Jobs's two stints at Apple, the company made some great products. Their most amazing products. But no one's perfect. Not even Steve Jobs. And Apple produced a few pieces of total crap during his reign. Here're the worst.

Lisa

The Apple Lisa, named after Jobs's daughter, may have been the first computer to employ a GUI in 1983, but it cost $US10,000 and had a hulking, unsightly design. Few bought the thing. A year later, the cheaper Macintosh came out and rendered the Lisa largely irrelevant.

iMac USB Mouse

The mouse introduced with the iMac in 1998 is up there with Comic Sans and Clippy when it comes to inciting geek rage. Not only was it a single-button mouse, like all other Apple input devices before and after it, but it was round, like a hockey puck. And truth be told, it probably would have been more comfortable sliding a hockey puck around a desk all day.

iPod Hi-Fi

The iPod Hi-Fi wasn't a terrible device from technical standpoint. Reviewers generally praised the sound that emanated from its drivers. But it just didn't make sense for anyone at the time. Audiophiles had no use for music that came from an iPod. The average consumer didn't need a speaker that was so big. And all gadget freaks could do is look at the $US350 price tag and shrug their shoulders. Introduced in February 2006, the iPod Hi-Fi line didn't last two years before being discontinued in September 2007.

Apple TV (1st Generation)

When the first Apple TV arrived in 2007, it had all the tools to be successful. Intel processor. 720p support via HDMI. Wi-Fi. Up to a 160GB HDD. But then came the limitations. It could only stream H.264 or MP4 video. It could play trailers and video clips from iTunes, but you couldn't buy or rent movies or TV shows. Nor could you buy MP3s. Aside from photos, which used Flickr, streaming was facilitated entirely through iTunes on your computer. People weren't exactly going crazy to get their hands on an Apple TV, which led the company to release a revised version of the software which supported TV and Movie rentals, and even that only offered limited success. Eventually, Apple reconceptualised the Apple TV in many ways, producing the awesome little black box that still exists today.

Buttonless iPod Shuffle (3rd Generation)

Yes, we all get it, minimalism is great. However, there's a point when the quest for simplicity buckles back on itself and actually makes something more complicated. That's what happened with the iPod shuffle. Aside from the power/lock button, It had no buttons on it. None! You had to use headphones with a compatible in-line remote to operate the thing. You solely used the morse-code like system for flipping through tracks, which was kind of a pain in the arse. AND, OH, if you wanted to use headphones that weren't Apple's terrible earbuds, you needed a special adaptor. It was received with a mix of novel curiosity and mockery. The following generation of the iPod shuffle was the first time I've seen Apple so blatantly return to a former design. And they aren't shy about advertising the fact that the current one has buttons.

Final Cut Pro X

For years, Final Cut Pro has been a favourite among Hollywood filmmakers. The UI is clean and simple, but extremely powerful. When Apple released the revamped Final Cut Pro X, however, that love turned to hate. Unadulterated hate. Professionals hate the lack of power features and its resemblance to iMovie (which means aspiring professionals probably feel the same way). Casual hobbyists probably won't pay $US300 for it. What we're left with is a program that tries to please everyone while addressing the nobody's needs. Or maybe it's trying to address everyone's needs while pleasing nobody. Who knows!

Ping

When Steve Jobs introduced Ping, it was supposed to be the greatest thing to happen to music discovery since radio. But not even half-baked, Ping was just raw and underdeveloped. It was a feed hiding in the most unusable section of iTunes (the music store), that let you recommend songs from the store, which only existed in the store. It also told everyone when you bought something new. No playlists from friends. No top lists. It kept the collective attention of the technorati for about 14 minutes. Eventually they "expanded" ping to let you recommend tracks from your library view, but you know what they say about pigs and lipstick.

Power Mac G4 Cube

One of the best things to happen during Steve Jobs' second run at Apple is that the company began to experiment with form. While the company has been firmly entrenched in a minimalist aesthetic during its most successful phase, Apple wasn't scared to play around with some weird ideas in the late '90s and early 2000s (see also: iMac G4). The Power Mac G4 Cube is an example of one of those experiments gone wrong. Often viewed as a precursor to the Mac Mini, and despite costing more than the cheapest PowerMac G4, the 8 x 8 x 10 inch Cube was positioned somewhere between iMacs and PowerMacs when it came to power and functionality. Starting at $US1800 and frequently suffering from case cracks, the computer was bust, lasting only a year on store shelves. But hey, MoMA showcased it, so it wasn't all bad. I guess.

iPod Photo

In 2004, people wanted a video iPod. So what did Apple give them? An iPod capable of displaying low-res photos (220x176!!!). At $US500, the 40GB model cost $US100 more than the regular 40 GB iPod, an eventually a 60GB model popped up for $US600. You won't see a lot of people fondly recalling the iPod Photo days like they did the Third Generation iPod (swoon).

What's your least favourite Steve Jobs Apple product?


Comments

    I mean, Ping, honestly! Give it up.

    Usually they're good at knowing when to give up on a product. But Ping, they just keep half-heartedly pushing it, not letting it go, but not really putting their full force behind it either.

    There is currently about 9 articles on Gizmodo about Steve Jobs.

    Just give it up already... it's not that big of a deal, Apple is still that company which we either love or hate.

    I still have my Cube! One of the best designs out of Cupertino, second only to the angle-poise iMac (IMO of course...)

    Seriously guys, you've hammered the shit out of Jobs now! Can you just get back to the usual stuff now, Please!! #[

      +1
      Bugs the shit outta me too. The android fanboys who think he's the Antichrist must be cutting themselves over this. I guess there's an up side.

      So you just had to click on the link and post a stupid comment anyway (like you always do about Apple). Well, if that isn't trolling, I don't know what is. You'd have a happier life if you actually got one. You shall be forever known as the dumb Apple hater. that clicks on every Apple story. Envious maybe? Enjoy your blue screen of death. Ha Ha. There's plenty of Microsuck douchebag blogs out there, you be right at home there, I know.

    I'm pretty sure they're still running the other stuff?

    You do know you can choose which stories to click on, right?

      Enough is enough, what more do you want to know? They recently did an article about his clothes for Christ's sake! What's next, what colour socks and undies?

        OOOO... Rowdy banter... And a couple of points to make. With Steve Jobs will it ever be enough? If he was music he would be chart topping once a fortnight. Sure the history seems to be overdone the only thing that I cannot stand is the death speculation. If he doesn't cheat death with the icophagus or some such nonsense then a candid shot pre-interment will be as historically significant as any in history thus far.
        As for the clicking on other stories... We have clicked on all of them... We read Giz... We read em all.

    I agree with everything in this article except the Cube. Despite the ridiculous cost I always thought it was pretty cool!

    I love my Apple Hi-Fi! in fact I have two of them! The dynamic range from that size speaker is yet to be rivaled. The price was a little high but.

    Looking to see if I could hack them and make them Airplay or bluetooth enabled.

      Could not agree more! I have an one of these speakers as well and it produces the best sound from a dock I have ever heard.
      Has to be heard to believe.

      Also I feel extremely lucky to have purchased the 1st ten app tv. The hard disc is a winner. Paired with Firecore's aTV Flash it's an awesome media player capable of playing/streaming everything and anything.

      One of these days I'm going to buy a cube too. Beautiful piece of hardware right up there with the G4 widescreen iMac. Gorgeous. Should be in a museum :)

      I heard that they have a line in on the back. All you need is an airport express for about $120 and you can make it Airplay. I just bought one for my stereo at home and love it. I want one for every stereo now.

    Final cut x is brillaint... again you guys know nothing

      FCP X is the biggest joke of apple software yet...

      Actually, what would you know? Anyone that actualy works in film and tv knows it's junk.

    You forgot every single thing made by NeXT. (Hardware that is)

    Why there is no mention of MobileMe, it really sucks........

    You forgot the pippin, apple's laughable attempt at a games console

      That wasn't Jobs though.

    I'm probably one of the few people that actually likes the super minimalist 3rd Gen Shuffle.

    Protip: It makes a pretty good tie clip for when travelling on business. :P

    The only thing funnier than this article is going back to the original articles and reading all the rapid Apple fanbois in the comments trying to defend these POS' lol

      As they say hindsight is 20/20. There were equal number of comments about the eminent failure of the iPhone and iPad. Probably by you.

      I also liked the cube, which is really the 1st generation mini, a huge success.

      Dont you mean "Rabid"?

      If you are going to troll you can at least get your grammar right.

      How's the blue screen of death going there pal? Windows ME anyone?

        BSoD can be easily fixed with a right click and....oh wait, I seem to have lost you.

    Apple TV Second Gen is still shit.

      How so?
      It's an incredible bit of gear for just over $100. Ours gets used daily.
      You could at least give reasons for your opinion, any 12 YO can say something is SHIT, Oh I see you are a 12 YO. That's OK then.

    The adoration/hatred of Jobs is really only prevalent in the first world.

    nothing he ever did makes a lick of difference to the rest of the world. Who cares about cloud streaming when your face is covered by flies.

      how many 3rd world children do you sponsor?

    This article is lies. Apple devices are forged in heaven by beautiful blonde angels. They cannot and will not ever make a crap devices such as the ones mentioned in this article.

      It's retards like you, sir, who put fuel to the Apple fanboy fire, even if you are just trolling.
      An actual Apple fanboy knows a bad Apple product when they see one. If they truly think what you just said, they're just as retarded as you.
      Stop trolling because you're just making yourself look more stupid by saying shit no-one believes.

        Dude he was only poking sarcastic fun. It wasn't quite trolling.

        He didn't even call anyone 'retarded', which most trolls... ahh, I see.

          I'm just tired of people thinking that fanboys actually think that crap. No-one thinks it and it's people like that that give people that like Apple products a bad name.

            Pretty sure it's snarky and overzealous Apple fans that give Apple products a bad name.

            Apple products are fantastic. The way some people behave brings them down (I'm not saying you, btw.)

        @Joel "An actual Apple fanboy knows a bad Apple product when they see one." I thought the whole criticism of fanboys was based on the fact that they don't.

    What about the iRack or the iRan :P

    I love my Apple HIFI. Never gets connected to an Apple device anymore since I went Android but the sound is fantastic and it's still running perfectly. It had a line in on the back so you don't have to use the dock. If you can get your hands on one I highly recommend it.

    No mention of the Newton. Was this during Jobs absence?

    I've still got an iPod photo 60gb in my desk drawer somewhere. I think I saved all of $15 when I bought it in Hong Kong. They were the days when a colour screen and a few more gig was enough to justify a new model.

    I still use my iPod Photo. It wasn't that bad. Sure I wished it did video but on the screens that were in use at the time it's probably not missing that much.

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