Spotlight - Stop or I'll shoot!
Mac OS X has to be one of the great tech products of the decade, spawning such promising offshoots as Windows 7, for instance. Each version is named after a cat. How cute! Microsoft appears to randomly pick names for its OSs, and Linux versions all appear to come from a language that makes Finnish sound comprehensible.
Before OS X Mac users used to find things on their hard drives using something called Find.
Such intuitive naming is below the amazingness that is OS X. All of its tools' names must be subtle puns on standard functions so Apple's software designers can sculpt beautiful icons for them.
Find was lost, but Spotlight was switched on. When I think of spotlights it's not the stage that springs to mind but WW2 prison camps, daring escapes and evil Nazis. Maybe that's just me, but it immediately made me suspicious of Spotlight's intentions.
This wasn't helped by Apple trying to cram too many symbols and smug wordplays into its software. OK, I'll grudgingly accept the term Spotlight, but why is its icon a magnifying glass? Why not call it Detective or insect collector? Or how about Sherlock. That's witty and smart, and, oh...
That doesn't make Spotlight a dud, but what does is its sub-glacial speed and ability to find tens of thousands of email documents with apparently no relation to what I'm looking for, but not the simple PDF that I misplaced.
ROKR - what a SHOKR
Before the wonderful iPhone came Apple's first mobile - the ROKR, made with Motorola.
Again, Steve Jobs must have been out to lunch or drunk or something. Because the ROKR was one of the ugliest mobile phones ever released.
It was the first phone to play music from iTunes and operate somewhat like an iPod. Other than that it was junk.
To stop it cannibalizing iPod sales it was restricted to holding a mere 100 songs. It was very slow to sync, too - even with just 100 songs to send down the non-fast USB connection.
Apple may now try to pretend that this was just a Motorola product that it had nothing to do with, but why then was it unveiled at a special Apple event in September 2005?
iPod Hi-Fi - white elephant
No one can make a music player as well as Apple, but why did the company decide to attack its accessory market head on with the lumpen iPod Hi-Fi?
All the best audio boffins created iPod speaker systems, but as usual Apple thought it knew best. It didn't.
Released in February 2006 the iPod Hi-Fi had little going for it except the Apple logo.
It was super expensive (£249, $349), especially for a system that lacked a radio and even a video-out port. Even the Bose SoundDock was cheaper.
The iPod sat on top of the unit, making it vulnerable to being knocked off or crushed.
The remote control could only skip between tracks within the selected playlist. The menu button couldn't even assume the function of the menu button on the docked iPod itself.
Not all iPod were compatible with it, which at least meant that a good proportion of iPod users didn't even have to consider this white elephant. The system also lacked a USB port for connecting a docked iPod to a computer for syncing.
Newer iPod models and the iPhone 3G/3GS can't be charged on the Hi-Fi because they require a lower voltage - the iPod Hi-Fi supplies 12v (FireWire) while the newer devices expect 5v (USB).
As for sound quality the iPod Hi-Fi got canned. It didn't help that Apple boasted of its "audiophile quality sound". As we wrote at the time: "the Apple iPod Hi-Fi lacks upper treble detail, which, combined with slightly elevated midrange levels, makes the very highest frequencies difficult to make out at times. The Hi-Fi's other limitation is that it can't really overcome its one-piece design to provide expansive soundstage and precise stereo imaging."
After a year and a half Apple quietly discontinued the iPod Hi-Fi, handing the market back to people who actually knew something about designing audio products.
NEXT: More Apple duds of the decade...