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Insanely bad! 10 Apple duds of the decade

Not everything Steve Jobs does is insanely great

Apple Computer and Apple Inc have had an amazing decade, revolutionizing industries as diverse as music, movies, telecoms and software with its iPod/iTunes/iPhone products and ruling the OS Wars with its much-copied Mac OS X.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs won PC Advisor's Person Of The Decade. Fortune magazine named him CEO Of The Decade.

PC Advisor's Product Of The Decade: Apple iPod

PC Advisor's Company Of The Decade: Google

PC Advisor's Person Of The Decade: Steve Jobs

Could the man do no wrong?

Oh, yes he could do wrong. Very wrong.

Here's our list of ten products - in no particular order of badness - that Apple and Steve Jobs probably wish had never seen the light of day.

Latest Apple news

Power Mac G4 Cube - Too cool for tool

Apple G4 Cube

Following the success of its funny-looking bubble-shaped iMac what did Apple do next? Come out with something even wackier?
A completely spherical ComputerBall that you could roll between workgroups? Something that looked like a fish?

No, it waited till 2002's crazy anglepoise iMac for its next doolally design. Did it go mad on the colours and unveil something truly hideous? No, you're thinking of 2001's Flower Power iMac.

What Apple did was quite the opposite of the cute, friendly iMac. It designed the über-cool Power Mac G4 Cube, distilling all the power of the old tower-based Power Mac into a clear, eight-inch perspex cube.

Where the iMacs were fat, fun and colourful the G4 Cube was sleek and neutral - surely this was a real Steve Jobs product, whereas the iMac had been designed prior to his triumphant return to Apple.

It looked so good that it was immediately installed in New York's Museum Of Modern Art.

While undoubtedly a remarkable feat of engineering, the G4 Cube didn't last long - production was suspended less than a year after launch (August 2000). Instead of being embraced for saving desk space the Cube was avoided because it was so small and too cool for its own good. And bloody expensive.

Apple was criticised for leaving too much out - PCI expansion, internal audio input and output - but maybe it was just too radical for a beige-bound industry still reeling from the chubby iMac.

Nice try, but hardly a roaring success.

Apple desktop Mac reviews

iPod v2 - Button it

Apple iPod buttons

The original 5GB iPod (October 2001) is a design classic, and most of its later versions - all the way to today's iPod classic - enhanced its minimalist beauty. But Apple had a very early blip with version 2 (released April 2003). Unlike with the G4 Cube, which had Steve Jobs' hands all over it, this product upgrade looked like it slipped right past his office while he was out for a veggie burger.

While thinner and lighter than the original iPod (with up to eight times the capacity) this new iPod ruined the classic minimalism by adding a row of four indented, backlit buttons above the scroll wheel.

It was ugly, and made us fear that the next iPod would have even more buttons and end up looking like every other MP3 player on the market. Worse, it might have morphed into something resembling a portable CD player.

A year later Apple ditched the stupid buttons for a solid-state click wheel, back to the look of the simple original.

Apple iPod reviews

NEXT: More Apple duds of the decade...


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