10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology


Apple is good at making tech products. Very good. You don't get a stock value bigger than the gross domestic product of Switzerland by making copycat calculators. 

But you also don't rise to the top of the tree without producing a few rotten cores - or any other success-journey-metaphor you care to conjure up involving apples and failure. 

As Apple Music threatens to join the list of projects the tech giant would rather forget about, we take a look back at those other moments when Apple fell short of its usual greatness. 

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology


    Long before Apple conquered aspirational desks the world over, one of their first high-end graphical power houses failed to catch on.

    Aimed squarely at the PC market, the Lisa was to mark a grand leap forward in Apple's computing systems. Steve Jobs led a team of 90, spending some $50 million on its development.

    What went wrong?
    Despite a promising uptake from companies including NASA, the Lisa proved too expensive for the business market. It launched with a price tag of $9,995 (around £15,000 in today's money), sold only 100,000 units, and saw Jobs bumped to the Macintosh project.

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 1

    Newton PDA

    The iPad wasn't Apple's first foray into portable computing. Back in 1987, the Newton MessagePad saw the company invest as much as $100 million in developing a new processor, handwriting recognition software, and a raft of new applications. 

    What went wrong?
    Despite a legacy of several models, and applications that live on today (Notes), the Newton failed to deliver what it promised. The handwriting recognition feature was a dud, contributing in part to Steve Jobs' long running hatred of styluses. 

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 2

    Macintosh portable

    MacBooks weren't the first "reassuringly expensive" portable computers to come out of a slick Apple box. Released in 1989, the impressive 'active matrix LCD screen'  would prove to be the Portable's main selling point and downfall.

    What went wrong?
    Due to the requirements of the fancy screen technology, the Portable needed a hefty battery pack. Technical issues with this power supply, that saw it fail to recharge after it was drained in full, in addition to an un-portable weight of 7kg and a $6,500 (£4,161) price tag conspired to kill this iteration of the portable. 

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 3

    Macintosh TV

    Apple has never managed to get the TV right. While its current Apple TV fights for relevance, there's a very real possibility it could go the way of the old Macintosh TV: a big black box that offered users a PC and TV in one.

    What went wrong?
    In short - nobody wanted it. You had to switch between watching TV on it or using it as a PC, and its high price only bought relatively low performance specs.

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 4

    Apple QuickTake

    One of Apple's plucky forages into non-computing hardware, the QuickTake was one of the first digital cameras on the market when it launched in 1994. There were three models - the 100 and 150, both built by Kodak, and the 200 (pictured), made by Fujifilm.

    Why did it fail?
    Where to start: it was expensive at £380, the 100 could only hold eight photos at maximum resolution, and you could only review the photos if you were plugged into a Mac or PC. It was a plucky effort, but when Steve Jobs rejoined Apple in 1997, the QuickTake was discontinued.

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 5


    "Apple made a games console?!"

    Yep. In partnership with Bandai, the Pippin used the Macintosh platform to act as a network console, whose main purpose was playing CD-based media, including games.

    What went wrong?
    First, there was the lack of convincing games (anyone for a round of Home Improvement 1-2-3?), which meant the Pippin failed to compete against the N64, PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Then there was the failure as a network unit: the modem was so slow that users would have to wait up to ten minutes to send and receive a message.

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 6

    The "Hockey Puck" mouse

    Hey guys! Who wants a USB mouse shaped like a hockey puck?!

    What went wrong?
    Nobody with hands, it turns out. The circular shape wasn't comfortable to hold, and kept rotating when users moved it around - meaning it was hugely inaccurate. It was only produced between 1998 and 2000.

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 7

    The 'Power Mac' G4 Cube

    The Power Mac G4 Cube was a very, very pretty power PC - a small computer that all the power of a bigger model. DVDs or CDs would load vertically, which looked pretty fun at the time.

    What went wrong?
    As with many products in our list, Apple put too high a price on the G4 Cube. Selling at £1,150 in 2001, it was more expensive than the standard G4, and didn't have the same room for expansion. It was a cult hit, with many collectors cashing in on second hand units, but it wasn't a commercial success. 

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 8

    Final Cut Pro X

    The X didn't stand for eXtreme - this was the tenth iteration of Apple's hugely popular Final Cut video editing software. Used by Hollywood editors and professional film makers, it had a super clean interface and amazingly powerful tools.

    What went wrong?
    Somehow, Apple managed to ruin one of their most impressive pieces of software. Gone were the powerful tools, erased were many of the features that had made the software a market leader. Apple tried to appease the hate-filled reviews by stating it had a 10-year plan for Pro X. If you want to know why it was so awful, just ask a Final Cut user.

  • 10 Times Apple Failed Spectacularly At Technology 9

    Apple Music

    Apple's music streaming offering, with no free model and a £9.99 basic package for a host of exclusive acts. 

    What went wrong?
    Sure, this is a touch pre-emptive, but the initial signs aren't good for Apple's fledgling streaming service. In addition to various faults and flaws in the software, that sees it fail to recognise music a user has downloaded - and even delete music from your library - Apple is remaining oddly vague about the exact number of users.

    It'll be interesting to see just how many stick around to use the service after the free trial expires.


Share this article


Other people read

More from Gadgets

More from null