When you think of Apple, what comes to mind? Innovative computers and electronics with slick, modern and even beautiful designs. The company has become known for products like the streamlined iMac, thin and simple MacAir or even the cute iPod Shuffle.
But those who have known Apple products since before the invention of the iPod can recall some moments in Mac history when the company has come out with less-than-amazing products. Some were clunky, some were shaped awkwardly and others just didn’t work quite that well. Overall, Apple has produced more revolutionary and fantastic items than terrible ones, but a few mistakes come to mind.
That being said, what is the contender for the worst designed Apple product of all time? Could it be the clunky Macintosh IIvi or IIvx computers? How about the attempt at a cheap Mac, the Power Macintosh 4400? Or the ridiculously expensive and underpowered 20th Anniversary Mac?
In a quest to recall the low points in Apple’s history, three products came to mind for us as the worst designed of all time. They are as follows:
No, not Apple TV. Macintosh TV was released in 1993. It essentially looked like other Apple computers of the day, except it was a black, all-in-one device with a 14-inch CRT monitor. The Macintosh TV came equipped with a cable-ready TV tuner card and was a great idea, but unfortunately you couldn’t actually display television on it. Apple made 10,000 of them and then dropped it.
Released in 1996 in partnership with Bandai, the gaming console was actually quite visually attractive. However, the device, made for playing CD-ROM games, was underpowered and overpriced. It certainly didn’t compare to the Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn of Sony PlayStation in the same era. Apple and Bandai made 42,000 Pippins before it, too, was dropped.
Apple USB Mouse
Shipped with the original iMac in 1998, it was shaped like a hockey puck. While the design was meant to be innovative, in actuality it was just awkward. The perfectly round mouse was hard to grip and even more difficult to orient and operate. In fact, the only thing it was really good for was increasing the sales of third-party mouse manufacturers. Apple persisted with the awkward mouse for two years before changing it.
Out of everything mentioned, the Apple USB Mouse gets our vote as the worst designed Mac product of all time. It was truly an item to which the adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” could apply. Furthermore, even though there were a few other products that had more wrong technologically, the mouse seems worse because it’s so simple. It’s perplexing how Apple could make such a blunder with such a basic item, and furthermore how they could stick with it for so long before admitting defeat. However, it could certainly be considered a learning experience for the company. They kept on with mouse innovation and today can boast providing customers the beautiful, functional and revolutionary Magic Mouse.
Overall, Apple has offered the world more beautiful and useful technology than duds. However, a look back in their history is humorous and shows they weren’t always on the mark.