Long before Apple became one of the world’s wealthiest corporations, the Silicon Valley-based tech company had its broad share of failures. During the mid 80s to late 90s, market share was so weak in the company founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, it was on the brink of collapse.
The rise from corporate ashes began after Steve Jobs’s celebratory return in 1997 to lead the company back to prominence. Beginning with the mutli-colored iMacs, then the wildly popular iPod, Apple slowly regained its position as an industry-leading source of in demand consumer products. The rest, as they say, is history, as Apple eventually passed tech giants Microsoft and Google, to become the world’s largest publicly traded corporation by market capitalization.
Although recent devices such as the iPhone and iPad and software such as iTunes and OSX have been enormously successful, Apple came out with a number of products and services that failed miserably. The following are five Apple products you may have never heard of.
Long before contemporary PDAs like the iPhone and Android were all the rage, Apple introduced a device from its Newton family, only to stay on the market for less than a year. Known as the eMate 300, like many Apple products, the clamshell-shaped device carried a hefty price tag at $800. Originally intended for the education market, eMate 300 featured a built in keyboard, 6.8 inch grayscale display and a largely disappointing Newton operating system. Although many now consider the Newton PDA and eMate 300 well ahead of its time, the screens were hard to read, had poor battery life and were not roundly embraced by consumers. The last Newton model, the AppleMessagePad was discontinued in 1998.
Apple users are no doubt familiar with QuickTime, the media player still in use after more than 20 years. But just a few years after QuickTime's introduction in 1991, Apple unveiled one of the first consumer digital cameras, the Apple QuickTake. Over a three-year period, three models were introduced: QuickTake 100, 150 and 200, that were priced at $749, $700 and $600 respectively. All models came equipped with an 8 mm lens, 24-bit color and resolution of 640x480 pixels. But because the early digital camera market was dominated by the Eastman Kodak Company, QuickTake was discontinued in 1997, ending hopes it would become the iPhone of the 1990s.
At a whopping $2,097 introductory price, the Macintosh TV was practically doomed from the day it was first unveiled in October 1993. Within half a year, the black box equipped with a 14-inch Sony Triniton screen was scrapped and only 10,000 units were produced. With numerous problems connecting to cable TV and sluggish performance despite having a 68030 processor, one must wonder why Apple bothered to release the Macintosh TV. Even a review from the April 1994 issue of Macworld Magazine suggested to its readers to buy a TV saved from the money by purchasing a cheaper Macintosh Performa computer, whose product line is also not well known to many new generation i-Fans.
Weight 16 pounds and commanding a staggering price of $6,500, one must wonder what project leaders were thinking when the Macintosh Portable entered the market in September 1989. Although this “luggable” computer had a fast 68000 processor, the original model’s power life was drained by the absence of a backlit screen. Coupled with the added weight of the batteries, the Macintosh Portable ended up not being exactly portable and quite frankly, not many were willing to cough up $6500. Production of the original model ended in less than two years and its upgraded model, equipped with a backlit screen, was discontinued in October 1991.
Apple’s failed entry into the gaming industry was largely due to the company’s lack of extensive marketing and price tag of $599. Part of the fifth generation of game consoles, dominated by PlayStation, Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64, the Pippin was produced by Japanese toy maker Bandai and reportedly sold less than 12,000 units in the U.S. The Apple-Bandai Pippen is often considered the worst selling game console of all time.