Apple has had its fair share of products that failed to catch on with the public. Probably more than people know about. However, these products definitely had an influence on Apple’s more successful ones. Let’s discuss a few of these products and why they’re important to Apple’s more successful products.
In 2000, Apple introduced a computer that in 2001, it would discontinue because of its lackluster specs and inability to upgrade, not to mention its ridiculous price of $1799-$2299. It was a loss for Apple at the time, but now it is a success for Apple. The much better and improved successor of the Cube is the Mac mini. Compact in size and powerful in ability, the Mac mini is the most powerful mini computer out there and without the influence of the Cube, Apple may not have made it as small and yet powerful as now, it may not have had the same form factor. The Cube may have failed at first but with it being updated to the mini it became one of Apple’s best selling computers.
The Macintosh Portable
At a very light 16 pounds, the Macintosh Portable is a very light computer that offers very fast speed. This is probably the headline that Apple used to advertise it’s Macintosh Portable computer. Unfortunately for Apple, nobody believed them. Sixteen pounds is not light. The Macintosh Portable had many battery problems, including a short lasting battery, inability to keep a charge, it can not run on AC power so if the battery is dying and not doing anything, you’re out of luck, a good $6,500 out the door. Wait, did you just read that? $6500?! Yup it costed $6500. That may also be a reason it was unpopular. It was an expensive, useless, heavy, computer that had a 9.6 inch display. However, it was an influence for a computer that would later come to be the MacBook series, one of the most successful laptop series in the world. Apple has (with better newer technology of course) taken ideas from the Macintosh Portable, mainly the Portable part to put into their MacBooks. The MacBook is certainly less heavy, less expensive, and more powerful now but the idea for the MacBook came via influence from the Macintosh Portable.
The Motorola/Apple ROKR was a failed phone that didn’t take off in the market place. It was the only mobile phone at the time designed to work with iTunes. Despite the popularity of the iTunes store, it just didn’t catch on with consumers. Of course, go up to 2007 and Apple introduced its own industry-revolutionizing phone, the iPhone. Designed with iTunes and apps in mind, the iPhone is Apple’s best selling product, making it one of the world’s best selling products and one of the best product launches of anything by any company in history. The iPhone definitely got it’s influence from the ROKR phone considering they are both phones and they both are supported by iTunes. It was one of the only product that people haven’t liked by Apple in recent years, but it provided an influence for their top-selling product.
I noticed I wasn’t adding any software blunders so I thought I would discuss this one. I covered the end of MobileMe a little while ago and it wasn’t something people were too upset about. Being an under-updated, not well kept up service that didn’t do much and costing you $99 a year, it was unpopular. It was a service not many were using, it didn’t have any good iOS integration. But it’s successor did. iCloud was introduced in 2011 and has sine become very well integrated between iOS and Mac devices keeping both of them well integrated with each other. Both OSs are built with each other in mind and iCloud helps with that. iCloud, unlike MobileMe, is very well integrated in both Mac and iOS and this was ultimately the downfall of MobileMe.
You see, Apple has had many blunders in the past so Apple is certainly not a perfect company. However, if the failed product was a good idea but it was just executed poorly, Apple was able to take whatever it could from the failed product (the good idea) and execute it again and make it better, which in almost all cases (Cube to the mini, Portable to the MacBook, ROKR to iPhone, MobileMe to iCloud and Newton to iPad (which I did not mention)) were improved on and made Apple a lot of Apple. What is so insanely great about Apple is that it almost always makes insanely great products but if it makes one that isn’t so great it can learn from its mistakes and if the idea is good, execute it better, if the idea is just bad, they just drop it. Apple has done that very well. As for the Newton and iOS, stay tuned for another exciting article from Anonymous (no, not the group) that will talk about the evolution of the Newton and it’s influence on future products.
Thanks for reading,