Posted: September 11, 2019 12:35 AM MDT
Updated: September 11, 2019 12:35 AM MDT
On paper, the Newton should have been a stellar success. It was the first personal digital assistant (PDA). Data was all entered on a touch-screen -- something we now take for granted, but this was way back in 1993. Its most heralded feature was handwriting recognition: Newton was supposed to be able to decipher what you wrote on the screen and then convert it to printed text. Again, great on paper, but that feature didn't really pan out. For instance, you could write, "Buy oranges," but the N [ + - ]
How could 1982's Lisa POSSIBLY fail? It was the first computer to use a graphical user interface (GUI) and mouse -- the core of interacting with any computer today. That interface was a revolutionary change to the cryptic command line. So what went wrong? The thing was slow -- really slow. Further, Lisa looked like it was physically designed by nap-deprived 3-year-olds with a bucket of Duplo blocks. And the biggest nail in its coffin was the price -- it cost $10,000. [ + - ]
Laptops are certainly popular computing devices, and Macs have their own line of esteemed entrants into the field. However, Apple stumbled when it created 1989's Macintosh Portable. The Macintosh Portable weighed 16 pounds and had a lot of high tech awesomeness going on under the hood, including a revolutionary display. But a big technological problem was that it couldn't turn on, even when it was plugged in, thanks to some poor battery design. That's sort of a deal-breaker. [ + - ]
Whether you're a Mac fanboy or not, you have to admit that Apple products are stunning and stylish. Unfortunately, "stylish" doesn't necessarily mean "functional." Such was the case with the mice that shipped with the first iMacs. Those first iMacs were the all-in-one computers adorned with sundry bright colors. And accompanying those computers were round mice, also with a similar color scheme. While the two went together beautifully in pictures, the mice were a pain to use. [ + - ]
Released in 2000, the G4 Cube didn't look like a computer at all -- it looked like some knickknack you'd buy at an Ikea store. The computer was cube-shaped and entombed in an acrylic case. So what was wrong with it? As so often tends to be the case with Apple, fashion beat out function with this device. It was encased in an acrylic box and had no fan (Apple wanted to keep it quiet), so it was prone to overheat. It also lacked an audio output -- something computers sort of need. [ + - ]
As Apple announces its latest round of products, let's look back and remember that not everything Apple touches turns to gold.