Apple’s Greatest Failures

Despite the dominating power of Apple, it’s not infallible. Believe it or not, the Cupertino company has had its share of mistakes and failures over the years. From pre-installing U2’s Songs of Innocence album, to the Pippin, there’s proof that even the most powerful company can get it wrong from time to time.

It’s not like there’s anything rotten in the core of Apple, excuse the pun, but with so much technology passing through its various teams over the years there’s bound to be a little mishap here and there. We’re not Apple-bashing here, just pointing out some of the company’s failures that it would probably rather everyone forgot about.

Apple Pippin

Apple was rightly impressed by the sales of Sony’s PlayStation, and although it never aimed to go down the games console road, the company decided that it would try its hand in a market that was still growing at an incredible rate. Thus was born, the Apple Pippin (see image at the top of this article).

The Pippin, or PiPP!N, was designed as a home computer/games console, but sadly never managed to hit either concept on the head. A gaming platform version of the Macintosh, this massively overpriced project never managed to gain any ground in any kind of market. As such, only 42,000 units were ever sold.

Apple III

The Apple III was a poor addition to the illustrious Apple name back in the early 80s. Designed by the marketing team, allegedly, instead of the engineering team, the Apple III lacked things like a cooling fan – because the design was too noisy and inelegant. Instead, the company had the great idea of using the aluminium housing as a heatsink.

This of course led to many problems with the Apple III. Overheating was, of course, the primary concern, which in turn did some funky things to the system like pop chips out of their sockets, warp the main circuit board, and heat up the outer casing to egg frying temperatures.

In the end, Apple saw an estimated loss of $60 million over the Apple III.

Macintosh TV

Apple doesn’t always get its timing right. The iPod, iPhone and so on, the timing was excellent, and proved the company’s fortunes. However, other times, Apple kind of lagged behind the curve. One such example was the Macintosh TV.

Released in 1993, this was Apple’s first attempt at combining a computer and TV set. A nice idea, but something that a lot of people were already doing, and at a price that was significantly less than Apple’s $2,000 tag.

Needless to say, after just five months on the shelves, the Macintosh TV was scrapped.

20th Anniversary Mac (TAM)

You’ve got to hand it Apple, the company isn’t afraid to buck conventional trends and try something new. Such was the case with the 20th Anniversary Mac. This vertical design and small footprint was quite revolutionary in the late nineties, but at $7,500 it never really made its mark.

That didn’t stop Apple re-using the design for its later iMac models, though. So although the 20th Anniversary Mac only managed to survive for less than a year, its heritage still lives on.

Apple AirPower

Announced alongside the iPhone X in 2017, the AirPower wireless charging pad was set to become the next big thing. Scheduled for a 2018 release, the AirPower was subject to frequent delays, pushing the date further and further into the future until Apple finally decided to drop the project entirely in 2019.

 

iTunes Ping

Launched in 2010 with a million users, Apple’s attempt at a social media music network was an impressive failure. The service allowed its users to follow artists they liked, and see short posts from the artists and friends – much in the same way as Spotify now works.

But the service didn’t live up to expectations. With many fake accounts, immense levels of spam, and poor integration with existing social media networks, Apple finally killed off iTunes Ping after just a couple of years.

Apple QuickTake 200

Released in 1994, Apple’s take on the digital camera was ground-breaking. This at a time when the digital camera was still in its infancy, the QuickTake 200 connected directly to your Apple computer and enabled you to seamlessly upload the photos taken.

Sadly, the QuickTake 200 was missing a few key components, such as a zoom, and any ability to focus on anything it was pointing at. But other than that, it was quite a revolutionary step forward. It did manage to last a couple of years on the shelves, but ultimately Apple lost a lot of money over the QuickTake.

About that U2 thing…

We could go into great depth regarding Apple and U2’s choice of pre-installing the band’s then latest album ‘Songs of Innocence’ to its 500-plus million iTunes users; ensuring that the album couldn’t be deleted unless you followed specific instructions that Apple released after so much backlash; and was only finally pulled after Bono famously issued an apology saying that “megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years might not be heard”.

But we won’t.

David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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