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The 8 most-hyped tech products in history

Is the iPhone the biggest tech product ever?

Poor Alexander Graham Bell. The telephone he invented back in 1876 suddenly isn't good enough. At least according to Apple, which announced in January that it is "reinventing the phone" with its iPhone, which ships on June 29. (See our review of the iPhone prototype - full review to come.)

The iPhone combines three products: a mobile phone, an iPod music player and a PDA for retrieving email and web browsing. The device has a touchscreen that Apple CEO Steve Jobs says is the "most revolutionary user interface since the mouse”. He predicts that Apple will sell 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. (Listen to the PC Advisor podcast , 'Mobile phones - business or beautiful', to hear our view on Apple's new handset.)

But the iPhone isn't the first tech product to generate a deafening amount of buzz before its availability in stores. Here's our list of the most-hyped tech products of all time. Some thrived, others died, but all generated more than their fair share of ink.

1984 - Apple Macintosh

An unforgettable Super Bowl ad kicked off the marketing campaign for the original Apple Macintosh computer. Dubbed ‘1984’, the ad featured a female runner in red shorts and a white tank top carrying a hammer, which she throws at a Big Brother-like image that was supposed to represent IBM. Two days later, the Macintosh went on sale and, like the ‘1984’ ad, it was a big hit.

Since its debut in January 1984, the Mac has gone through many design changes, but it has kept its rebel image. The Mac made two other appearances at the Super Bowl, with a 1985 ‘Lemmings’ ad and a 1999 ad featuring HAL the talking computer.

Watch Apple's 1984 ad on YouTube

Watch Apple's 1985 Lemmings ad on YouTube

Watch Apple's HAL ad on YouTube

1993 - Intel Pentium chip

The first microprocessors were identified by such numbers as 286, 386 and 486. Intel changed that forever with the Pentium, the first chip to become a household name.

Intel hired outside experts to come up with the name Pentium, which was a term Intel could copyright. Intel Inside television ads urged PC buyers to request Pentium processors. Soon Intel sped past rivals AMD and Motorola in sales of high-end desktop processors. You could argue that Intel was too successful with the Pentium. None of Intel's follow-on processors - Celeron, Xeon or Itanium - ever reached the popularity of the Pentium, which at its peak was as synonymous with PCs as Kleenex is with tissues.

Watch an Intel Pentium ad on YouTube

Read how the Pentium got its name

Intel's microprocessor history

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