The G4 Cube is still a looker, though: it's the best flop we've ever seen.
Mighty Mouse (2005)
Apple replaced the 'Hockey Puck' with a cracking mouse called the Apple Pro Mouse. Stylish and vertical with a clear shell and a small white inside part. It was beautiful!
The whole surface of the Apple Pro Mouse was a single button that moved down. The story goes that Steve Jobs saw a dummy shell (that didn't have a button) and insisted that Apple make a mouse without a button. If we were writing the reverse of this list, titled "The best and most beautiful Apple products ever", then the Apple Pro Mouse would be on it.
Somehow, Apple managed to go from that piece of art to this absolute monstrosity.
Here's what happened: some people in Apple really thought the company should at least look into a two-button mouse; Steve Jobs wasn't one of them. After much internal fracas the result was an Apple Pro Mouse with a touch-sensitive surface. Touch the left side, get a left-click; touch right, get a right-click; push down on the middle ball for a third click; squeeze the sides for a fourth click. It confused the hell out of everyone, so much so that Apple eventually (and still to this day) uses a single button mouse as the default setting.
That wasn't the reason the Mighty Mouse was a failure. The Mighty Mouse's scroll ball routinely stopped working as it clogged up with gunk (Apple suggested you turn the mouse upside down and clean with a cloth). The side buttons started out so firm that you needed to pick the mouse up and crush it, and eventually they became so sensitive that you would spend all day with Dashboard bouncing in and out of the screen.
Everybody breathed a sigh of relief when theMagic Mouse came out. (Well, almost everybody - the acting editor, discussing the design shared by that device and the near-identical Magic Mouse 2, felt that "minimalism has been achieved at the expense of usability".)
iPod Shuffle 3rd Generation (2009)
Apple's iPod shuffle was, and still is, a great low-cost portable music player. The first two editions were a USB stick with the same button layout as the current model. But somewhere between the original, and the current model Apple decided to release a buttonless version. Instead of controls you would just use the single remote button on the headphone to navigate tracks.
To go to the next track you would double-click the Centre button, to fast forward you would double click and hold the Centre button; to go to the Previous track you would "Triple-click the Center button within 6 seconds of the track". It was chaos. The iPod shuffle (3rd generation) is the prime example of Apple's obsession with reduction taking it to a bad place. By far the least intuitive Apple product ever made.
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