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The 11 worst Apple products of all time

Lucy Hattersley | April 28, 2016
From inexplicable mice to melting Macs, here are the worst Apple product failures of all time

Macintosh TV (1993)

In 1993 Apple released a computer called the Macintosh TV, aimed at bridging the ever decreasing gap between computers and television sets. It was essentially a Performa 520 with a television screen attached. There was no real integration between the two, you could switch between watching television, or using the computer, but you couldn't watch television inside a window so it was little different to using a computer with a television screen instead of a monitor.

Hindsight is always a glorious thing, but it's obvious now that people had been connecting computers to television screens for years, and this was a good option for budget computing (the Sinclair Spectrum connected to a television, for example).

So a computer with a TV screen wasn't exactly a unique experience - but one that cost over $2,000 was, and not in a good way. To be fair, the Macintosh TV had a CD-ROM drive, but there wasn't really much digital video around at that point (this was pre-DVD). Apple - perhaps sensing a flop - only made 10,000 of them.

Macintosh Performa x200 series (1995)

The Macintosh Performa turns up on many 'worst Apple product' lists. It's not a bad-looking machine, and there's no design 'curveballs' like the 20th Anniversary Mac or iPod Shuffle (3rd Generation). On the outside it looks like a good computer for the time. But the inside was a mess.

Apple placed a 75MHz 64-bit CPU in a motherboard designed for a 25MHz 32-bit 68040 CPU; the RAM was one-half to one-third the CPU speed (which meant it took four CPU cycles to load a 64-bit word); Apple used an IDE drive instead of SCSI. As Low End Macsays: "The poor benchmark performance of this series gave the PowerPC 603 chip a black eye... it was the horrible architecture of this system that made the 603 a chip-non-grata."

What you're looking at here is one reason why people claimed (and often believed) for over a decade that Macs were inherently slower than Windows PC computers.

Apple Bandai Pippin (1996)

You know Apple made a games console, right? Most Apple fans have heard of the Pippin (released in 1996) but few have ever used one. Bandai is reported to have made 100,000 units, but sold less than half of that.

It's another product here that's a commercial rather than a technical flop. There was nothing wrong with the Pippin's design and components, but many other companies were creating more or less the same thing; big names like the Commodore CDTV, NEX PCFX, Philips 3DO and many others were trying to enter a market that Sony would eventually own with the PlayStation.

Like Sega's Dreamcast console, the Pippin could simply have been ahead of its time. It was an online console that enabled gamers to play against each other online, and even launched with a game called Super Marathon by Bungie (the predecessor to the Halo franchise that made Microsoft Xbox a household name). But nobody had a connection good enough to play online, and the Pippin was too expensive ($599) to buy on a whim.

 

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