The recently revealed Apple Stand has triggered a discussion about the worst Apple products ever. Namely, people want to know whether or not Apple’s $1,000 computer stand deserves to be ranked among the worst of the worst.
The answer is “Yes,” but where should it go? It’s a misstep, but where does it rank among the absolute worst Apple products? You know, the ones that make you wonder how Apple ever became the largest company in the world.
Well, let’s take a look at some of Apple’s most infamous failures in order to see where the Apple Stand…stands.
12. Apple Quicktake 200 Digital Camera
The Apple Quicktake 200 Digital Camera belongs on this list, but it’s definitely on the lower end of the conversation.
First off, this camera deserves a lot of credit for being one of the first (some argue it’s the real first) digital camera. The idea of a camera that could upload photos instantly to a computer was something that most people only dreamed of in 1994.
The problem with the Quicktake was the price of it all. That certainly speaks to the device’s retail price (a whopping $749), but it also touches on the fact that the technology to really make this concept work just wasn’t really available at the time of its debut.
The Quicktake lacked photo previews, zoom functionality, and focus features. Its resolution was also pretty bad. Ultimately, it was an ambitious failure.
11. Apple Newton
Much like the Quicktake, the Apple Newton has to score some points for being innovative if nothing else.
The Newton is widely considered to be the first real PDA (even if some arguably similar devices preceded it), which also means that it was a precursor for the tablet concept. The Newton allowed people to ditch their rolodexes, notebooks, and much else in favor of a technological alternative.
At least that’s what it did in theory. In reality, the Newton was incredibly expensive ($699) and its software never seemed to work like it was supposed to. That’s especially true of its handwriting technology which was so bad that it was even parodied in The Simpsons.
Apple’s Newton was one of the first casualties of the second Steve Jobs era, and it was probably for the best.
10. Power Mac G4 Cube
The Power Mac G4 Cube is one of the more beloved Apple products of all-time, and it’s not hard to understand why. It features a design so beautiful that the Museum of Modern Art in New York City has one on display.
The problems with the Cube start when you start to look beyond its beauty. First off, the G4 Cube was pretty expensive. It wasn’t shockingly expensive but certainly expensive enough to scare potential buyers who were also turned off by reports of the Cube’s overheating and tendency to develop cracks.
The bigger problem, though, was that the Cube was woefully underpowered. This meant that many people simply couldn’t justify buying one for the looks when it just wasn’t up to the technological standards of the time.
The Cube’s all looks, no brawn nature represents Apple design at its most frustrating.
9. Macintosh TV
The Macintosh TV is not only one of the bigger busts in Apple’s product history, but it’s one of their most baffling products in retrospect.
Essentially, the Macintosh TV was a computer that also let you watch television. That might not sound like such a big deal, but you’ve got to remember it was released in 1993. That kind of technology was fairly unheard of.
The problem is that the Mac TV was really just a particularly ugly computer that could also be used as a particularly ugly TV. The ugliness of the product is really only noteworthy because this is Apple we’re talking about. They simply aren’t known for making ugly products, much less a product that sounds like something you wouldn’t buy from an infomercial.
The Macintosh TV failed to catch on, which Apple probably figured was going to happen given how few they produced.
8. 20th Anniversary Macintosh
We’d list this product higher on this list if it wasn’t for the fact that it was pretty rare and not really a mainline Apple product.
Outside of that, the 20th anniversary Mac is pretty much indefensible. The first thing we need to talk about is its $7499 price tag. No, that’s not a typo. This thing really cost almost $8000.
What did you get for that money? Well, you got a computer that was certainly eye-catching (even if there’s some debate about how appealing its design is in retrospect), but if you were hoping to actually use the computer for anything, you’d be disappointed to learn that it was not built for performance in the slightest. It’s actually closer to an art installation.
The Anniversary Mac was something of an innovator for the all-in-one concept (and it did feature some interesting design decisions), but the idea of buying this thing at full price remains utterly absurd.
7. Apple Stand
To be entirely honest, the only reason this product isn’t higher on the list is that we haven’t really had the time to see just how bad it is from a historical perspective.
However, our unfair review of the product is that it’s absolutely awful. The idea behind this stand is that there are some professionals that could actually use an independent stand in common work set-ups. That’s actually true.
The problem is that there are significantly fewer professionals who are going to want to spend $1000 on such a stand. In the past, Apple has justified such absurd price points by attaching them to products that are objectively beautiful. That’s not really the case here. This just looks like a computer stand.
We have a feeling that this is going to be the first and last time that Apple tries to release just a standalone stand for the price of an iPhone.
6. Macintosh Performa x200
On paper, the Performa x200 wasn’t all that bad. However, you really have to look at the big picture when analyzing this device.
The Performa x200 was released at a time when Apple was failing and had a bit of reputation for delivering underpowered products. That reputation wasn’t always entirely earned, but the Performa x200 was just about the nail in the coffin in terms of Apple’s product design at that time.
The Performa wasn’t just drastically underpowered, it was designed in such an ineffective and inefficient way that it was almost like the product was an elaborate joke or science fair project. Apple cut just about every corner they could when designing this product, and the results showed whenever you actually tried to use it.
This is simply an awful computer.
5. Apple eWorld
We tend to think of hardware when we think of Apple products, but Apple has also released some impressive software over the years. Apple eWorld is not one of those pieces of software.
Apple eWorld was an early online service along the lines of America Online. It was actually incredibly easy to use and boasted several features not seen in competing services at the time. The problem with eWorld was its unimaginable price.
Apple eWorld cost $8.95 a month. That’s doesn’t sound bad until you realize that only gets you two free weekend or night time hours. Additional hours cost $4.95 an hour, unless you wanted to use the service from 6 am to 6 pm (which you probably did), in which case it cost $7.95 an hour.
Apple hoped that they could eventually drop the service’s price, but not enough people ever joined in the first place to justify it. We can’t imagine why.
4. Apple Bandai Pippin
Apple may be in a position now where people will buy their products almost regardless of the price or offerings, but that wasn’t always the case. The best example of that era may be the Apple Bandai Pippin.
The Apple Bandai Pippin was a video game console released in 1996. That date is quite important as you have to understand that the Pippin was essentially competing against the PlayStation, N64, and Sega Saturn.
The problem with the Pippin was that it was more expensive than all of those consoles (it cost $599) and largely only offered games like Mr. Potato Head Saves Veggie Valley. If you’ve never heard of that game, just know that it wasn’t exactly Final Fantasy VII and Super Mario 64.
The Pippin was actually quite powerful, but its price tag and lack of games killed it out of the gate.
3. The Apple “Hockey Puck”
In 1998, Apple decided that they were tired of the boring old mouse design. As such, they got their best designers in a room to develop a new, sleeker mouse. They succeeded and created a cool looking mouse that most people refer to as the “hockey puck.”
Unfortunately, it seems that not one of those designers talked to an engineer or ever bothered to actually try to use the mouse.
If they had, they would have realized that the Hockey Puck didn’t really work. The device’s circular design made it incredibly difficult to use it with any precision. Considering that the Macs were most popular with professionals at the time (especially artists) that meant that the puck was an actual liability.
Needless to say, it didn’t catch on.
2. iPod Shuffle 3rd Generation
The only reason that this product isn’t number one is because of an incredible statistic that we’ll talk about in the next entry. Otherwise, this is an absolute low point in Apple design history.
The Shuffle 3rd generation’s problems can be traced back to the baffling decision to reduce all of the device’s controls to a button included on the headphones a the time. Mind you, not many people owned (or liked) those headphones.
Even if you did like those headphones, you probably liked them significantly less after trying to use the Shuffle 3rd gen. The device’s minimalist controls were so cumbersome that the only way to go back to a previous track was to triple-clickdddddbutton within six seconds of listening to a new track.
Honestly, this device was like an Onion parody of Apple products.
1. Apple III
If you’re suddenly thinking “Wait, wasn’t the Apple II one of the best Apple products ever?” then just know that you’re not crazy. It was.
So how could the Apple III go so wrong so quickly? Well, it can all be traced back to Steve Jobs’ bizarre decision to remove all fans and vents from the Apple 3. Instead, the product was made with thinner material designed to dissipate heat.
The result was a computer that melted when people used it. That’s not an exaggeration. The computer’s chips would literally melt after a reasonable amount of usage time. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak once said that 100 percent of Apple IIIs sold eventually failed.
The Apple III is Apple’s biggest disaster. Apple tried to tell people they could “fix” the computer by dropping it from a few inches, but they eventually had to spend over $50 million fixing sold Apple IIIs.