10 Not So Insanely Great Things Apple Released Under Steve Jobs

By Shaun Clayton in Daily Lists, Tech
Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 7:59 am
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Steve Jobs is gone. Without a doubt, he will be remembered as a genius and a visionary. He changed the world in more ways than one, and his legacy is obvious in every iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac computer sold. He will be missed.

However, it's also worth remembering that Steve Jobs was also human, and not some incredibly gifted alien shot into space from his dying planet by his father. While Steve Jobs helped pioneer many gadgets, technologies and even helped create certain markets that didn't exist before, not every thing Apple made under Jobs was insanely awesome. Actually, some Apple products weren't even that good. In fact, some of these things were very, very flawed. So, in the interest of full reflection here are ten things that were created by Apple while Steve Jobs was in charge that were... not so great.

10) Mac OS X 10.0 "Cheetah"
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Though Mac OS X is a fine operating system now, in the very first release in 2001, it was anything but. Apple had the idea that it was more important to get OS X out quickly rather than have it be finished, and boy was it unfinished. It was incredibly slow - resizing a window alone was a choppy frustration fest. It's codename of "Cheetah" would only be suitable if the Cheetah was doped up on Klonopin. If you think you hate the spinning beach ball of death now, just think about how bad it was then. Plus, though the new OS had things that the old Mac OS sorely lacked, like protected memory. It also lacked simple things like being able to burn CDs or play DVDs, which in 2001 sucked a whole lot.

9) The iSight
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While cameras are now small and ubiquitous in almost every piece of computer device, it wasn't always that way. In 2003 Apple decided to help you in this sense by combining a webcam with a microphone and selling to you for $149. Eh, even though it was a fantastic webcam, it was still a very expensive webcam, and people decided that a crappy webcam for $50 would be a little more reasonable. Apple discontinued the iSight 3 years later.

8) The Apple TV
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Though now it a cheaper, more useable form, the original Apple TV release in 2007 was not. Starting at $299, the device allowed you to watch... er, not a whole lot. You could see videos downloaded from iTunes, or streamed from YouTube or off your computer and uh, that's it. So it was like a computer, but did nothing a computer did except hook up to your TV really easily. Also misleading is that while people would like an Apple-branded TV, this device also required you to get a TV.

7) The Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian iMacs
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Having a lot of success with different colorful versions of the G3 iMac, the February 2001 models decided to take it a step up, using a technique of plastic molding that took over a year and a half to perfect. The "Blue Dalmatian" and "Flower Power" designs are as if Timothy Leary's head appeared inside your iMac and then exploded. Though Apple introduced these with much fanfare went back to less "Burning Man after-party" colors for the iMac in July.

6) The First Power Mac G4s
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There was nothing really wrong with the design of this tower, which came out in September 1999, except that the very next month, all the speeds of the machine were pulled back, so suddenly a $2,499 450 MHz computer became a $2,499 400 MHz computer. This was thanks to Motorola both not able to produce enough supplies or in functional quality. You can probably guess how upset people were at this (very). Apple was perhaps even more upset, and this was one of the reasons that in 2005 Apple switched over to using Intel-based processors on all its computers.

5) The 3rd-Generation iPod Shuffle
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Apple's decided that those damned buttons right on their smallest and cheapest iPod unit were too intimidating, so they removed them completely. They then added voice control, and a proprietary set of headphones with buttons on them with which to control the unit. So you couldn't use any other third party headphones to control your Shuffle. Brilliant! Now the only thing simple about the iPod Shuffle was that it could be easily swallowed. Apple realized its mistake, at least, and released the 4th-generation Shuffle with buttons back on the unit.

4) The Apple Display Connector
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In 2000, Apple started to use a connector that combined a video signal, power, and USB all in one cable, called the ADC. A nice idea, surely, but it meant that you could only use Apple monitors with Apple computers, which was kind of galling to consumers who were already paying a good deal for a Mac. But the real problem was that the power provided by the ADC was insufficient to power a CRT monitor above 17-inches or a LCD of 30-inches, both of which Apple sold... meaning if you did buy one of these now necessary monitors they didn't work. In 2004, the ADC was quietly replaced with DVI, though you could get a giant brick of a conversion kit for $200.

3) Power Mac G4 Cube
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Introduced in July 2000, this was a PowerPC G4 computer crammed into an 8x8x8-inch cube. It had all the power of a G4 tower, which professionals wanted, but unfortunately it neglected to have a lot of expansion ports, which professionals also wanted. It was also more expensive than the entry-level tower at $1,799. So... not a lot of people wanted them. Oh, also, the capacitance switch for the power would sometimes accidentally get activated, putting the unit to sleep. That and it was designed to be fanless, which some people didn't realize, and stupidly destroyed their machines by blocking off the ventilation. Fortunately Apple learned from this and made the Mac Mini for the entry-level set. but still the Cube comes across as the homecoming queen with severe bipolar disorder - desirable for its beauty, but full of inner darkness.

2) The Hockey Puck Mouse
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Introduced with the original iMac, this round mouse the first of Apple's to use the USB standard, was naturally difficult to orient and even more difficult to use with big hands. Apple took their minimalist approach to devices and made a hockey puck a button on it...and colors! Eventually Apple did come out with a pill-shaped "Pro" mouse three years later, but in the meantime, the market for third party mice really took off on the Mac.

1) The Lisa
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The Lisa was the first graphical user interface computer; it was also supposedly named after Steve Jobs' daughter. It was definitely priced at nearly $9,995 when it came out in 1983, which would be about $21,000 now. Even though it was focused towards large businesses, large businesses said "WHAT???" especially when the much cheaper Macintosh came out. Lisa took such a beating that that was given an emulator to run the Mac OS system and renamed the Macintosh XL shortly before it was discontinued.


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