10 Apple Product Flops

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by xlii, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    And yet, each of those products lives today in other forms (maybe under different makers), and can be considered the progenitor of entire classes of products.

    Even Apple's failures are more spectacular and hold more promise than 99% of anyone else's successes.
  2. mysterytramp macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    I'm guessing Mr. Yogasingam must be a youngster who never had to transmit at 14.4. The speed was fine for chat. 300 baud, now maybe that would have been tedious.

    I'm not sure Taligent belongs on the list. And where's the Apple III?

  3. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    Now im not old enought to know for sure, but wasnt 14 kbps one of the standards before 56 k??
  4. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    The standard speeds were 300, 1200, and 9600 baud, then 14.4, 28.8, 33.6, and 56 kbps. To be a real gearhead you had to have at least half the Hayes AT command set memorized. ;)
  5. NT1440 macrumors G5


    May 18, 2008
    You should know I was born in 1991 :p
  6. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    Wikipedia is your friend!

    Baud Rate
    Hayes AT Command set

    Baud rate is the number of signal changes or pulses transmitted, not necessarily the number of bits per second transmitted. Hayes was a modem manufacturer, and the de facto standard for protocols and modem commands. In the day you bought either Hayes or "Hayes-compatible." Some real hard core types still used acoustic couplers (where you jammed the telephone handset into a box with cups for the earpiece and mouthpiece).

    There was no Web, and the Internet was never really referred to as such. We all communicated via BBS's (Bulletin Board Systems), everything was command line or menu-driven, and we'd swap these really great programs, some as big as 2 or 3 kilobytes in size! "Commercial" software consisted of programs printed out in the local computer rags, and we'd grab our new copies every week and code this stuff in to see what it would do. Blink a cursor, draw a line, do simple math, whatever.

    You just had to get me started, didn't you? :p
  7. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Oh man, good times... especially BBS'ing on my dad's VT100 dumb terminal on a 1200 baud modem.


    CONNECT 9600



  8. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    It's interesting how many of those products failed due to being under-capable and overpriced. It seems as though Apple is always trying to deliver the least bang for the buck that they possibly can.
  9. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

    Sep 29, 2006
    I remember when I was in elementary school or middle school me and a friend had the Radioshack Color computer which used standard cassette tapes to record and load programs. We hacked up a tape player and jacked the audio into the phone. I would call him and say, "Press play now" and I would press the load button on my end and would transfer programs that way. It didn't work well all the time, but for kids it was fun. That was back before the internet was even heard of by most people.
  10. smurfjammer macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2004
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I had a Newton, Mac TV, currently have a G4 Cube (that is still running) and an Apple TV and they were all great.

    The Newton was good for what was around at that time and Mac TV was my first Mac and it was really handy.

    As for Apple TV, I use mine every day and it's changed how I view movies and watch TV.
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    He lost me with "fanboy," and that was in the first paragraph.

    Everybody knows that Apple has made some products that haven't sold well. What company hasn't?
  12. jodelli macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2008
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    Yep, that used to be common, equating baud rate to bit rate. The 300 and 1200 modems were actually equivalent in bits and baud if I remember correctly. But the 2400 had the same baud rate as the 1200 but was able to transmit two bits per transition if I got that right. It was something like that.
  13. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."

    It's great and I use it upstairs in the bedroom where I can access all my iTunes stuff on the server in the basement.

    People may laugh and question. Then again, I used to get strange stares and laughs years ago when people asked me, "What's a Tivo?"... :eek:
  14. Beric macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2008
    Bay Area
    That's the truth. And WAY more so than any PC manufacturers.

    I think Apple's current notebooks are a flop, for that reason. Each is 1.5x the price of an identically-specced PC in hardware parts.
  15. MrSmith macrumors 68040


    Nov 27, 2003
    In no way defending Apple - I'd say the same for any company - but what kind of desperate journalism is writing an article on ten (it can't be nine or eleven) failures of a company? It can't have any more of a higher purpose than to whip up some kind of collective schadenfreude.
  16. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus


    Nov 28, 2001
    down in Fraggle Rock
    I can understand someone thinking that by just pulling these products out of context, but my list of Apple's top 10 worst failures would look very different (AppleIII, hockeypuck mouse, etc). I think this list is more a list of Apple's products before their time. The lesson that these teach is actually that Apple has a tendency to invent new markets/products that are way ahead of their time.

    Look at all the industry firsts in this list.
    • Lisa - First GUI. First Mouse. How can you call this a failure when every PC created for the last 25 years has been a clone of this.
    • Mac Portable - First laptop (though you could argue NEC beat them to it). Laptops now are replacing desktops and account for most of Apple's Mac profitability. The failure here was just that the technology just wasn't quite advanced enough yet, but this is the ancestor of the powerbook.
    • Taligent - First Object Oriented OS. Great Innovation, but how can this be listed as a product failure? It was a project that never saw the light of day. The idea eventually lead to NeXT OS which is what Apple built OSX on.
    • Newton - First PDA. Better hand writing recognition than we have today. After Steve killed the project at Apple the employees left and created Palm. You can hardly call Palm a failure. IF you want to criticize you should criticize Apple for letting this one slip through their fingers.
    • Quicktake - First digital Camera. I think these have caught on right?
    • AppleTV - Hard to call this a first exactly but Apple is trying to create a set-top box that can access all digital media from one place/interface. Apple largely got their part right but is struggling to get content providers on board. Again, only time will tell, but a product like this seems inevitable since currently you have to go to hundreds of individual websites with poor interfaces in order to access the same content AppleTV was supposed to allow you to access.

    So many of these products went on to either be huge success for Apple or at least to create entire new markets outside of Apple. Apple has had a lot of failures but these should not be listed among them.

    I'll give them the MacTV and Pippin. But Rokr isn't an Apple product

    The Cube was a brilliant bit of engineering but just lacked any place in the product lineup. Apple tried again in the Mac mini but seems to have again lost interest - time will tell where that goes. And most recently we have been given the Macbook Air. I have difficulty calling any of these failures simply because of the impressive engineering that filters down into other products, but they are characteristic of Apple's love affair with over miniaturizing to the point they make too many function/cost sacrifices.

    "under-capable and overpriced" just isn't something that applies to any of these and to simplify it down such a statement suggests one has no understanding of the context or history of these products and markets.
  17. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    This is the OS that largely largely inspired NeXTstep, OpenSTEP, and MacOS X.

    Wrong decade. NeXTstep shipped during the 1980's. Taligent was based on Pink, an idea for an object-oriented Apple OS. Under Apple, Pink was Pink. It became Taligent as part of the AIM consortium during the 1990s. Read more about Taligent here.

    The QuickTake was one of the first consumer digital cameras, but it was most certainly not the first. The original QuickTake 100 was Apple's version of Kodak's Digital Science DC50 digital camera. I still own a copy of the DC50's big brother, the Kodak Digital Science DC120.

    It is interesting that Apple is blamed for the iTunes-enabled ROKR. However, Apple is not blamed for the iTunes-enabled RAZR V3i despite the fact that the RAZR was a bigger commercial failure than the ROKR. My theory is that the regular RAZR was cool, but the regular ROKR was not. Of course, neither was an Apple product. It provided only the iTunes service for the phones.

  18. Tilpots macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2006
    Carolina Beach, NC
    What about the Apple Interactive Television Box?

    Seems the :apple:TV is the 3rd attempt and 3rd commercial failure to integrate TV's and computers.

    I hope like many of these other products, :apple:TV becomes the basis of another great Apple product in the very near future. The "hobby" has so much promise and so little delivery.
  19. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    For the most part, Apple has learned their lesson.

    If you'll notice, they no longer create a market with an innovative product. If you look at their flops, they were all in markets which did not exist yet. The Newton is a prime example of this. PDAs didn't exist yet.

    Now, they find a burgeoning existing market, and basically conquer it. The iPod is a perfect example. The hard-drive-based MP3 market already existed, and Apple came in and basically conquered it.
  20. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    The GUI is hardly an Apple creation. Google "Xerox Alto."

    Palm isn't Apple. The Newton was an Apple failure no matter how you swing it, although I happen to like it and still use mine on occasion.

    ...that only works with their proprietary software (iTunes). Apple is just as exclusive as the content providers, and it's hypocritical for them to cry when content providers don't open up their material for Apple's use.

    20th Anniversary Mac, anyone?
  21. chilipie macrumors 6502a


    May 8, 2006
    It may only work with iTunes, but they don't have exclusivity on the content. There's nothing to stop people ripping their own CDs/DVDs and using them with it.
  22. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
  23. Luap macrumors 65816


    Jul 5, 2004
  24. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    So AppleTV has out-of-the-box ability to play .avi movies as long as I have iTunes?

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