Apple is an interesting company to watch because not only are their products innovative, but the
best Apple products create entirely new markets. Sure, there were mobile applications for sale
before the App Store, for example, but the App Store transformed how mobile apps are
advertised, sold and distributed, just like iTunes transformed the way music was distributed.
Yet, it’s important to remember that Apple doesn’t hit it out of the park every time. Granted, most
of Apple’s most memorable flops (The Newton, the Pippin, the 20th Anniversary Edition
Macintosh) happened before Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, but even the Jobsian
one has introduced a clunker or two. We decided to track down five of Apple’s biggest hits and
five of Apple’s biggest misses of the last ten years.
First introduced in 1998, the iMac continues to be one of Apple’s biggest success stories. The
most recent edition, the 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs started flying off shelves when released in October
and it is still difficult to get a quad-core 27″ iMac (there is currently a 3-week delay). I’m writing
this post on a 27″ i7 iMac and it really is a perfect fusion of form and function.
Throughout the years, Johnny Ive and the design team at Apple have managed to pack more
and more of a computer into less and less space. The current iMac differs very little in
appearance from the Apple Cinema Display.
In October 2001, Apple introduced the iPod with the simple premise, 1000 songs in your pocket.
It was pricey, Mac only, but utterly game-changing. When the second-generation iPod was
released in September of 2002, support for Windows was added. Once iTunes and the iTunes
Store were brought into the mix, white ear buds went from being a rarity to just downright
The iPod is still the best selling MP3 player on the market by a huge margin and comes in three
different varieties — and that’s without even counting the iPhone and the iPod touch.
What started as a Mac music player in the latter days of OS 9 has become a content distribution
juggernaut. Tying together movies, music, mobile apps, ringtones, audio books and podcasts in
one place, plus making it dead simple to transfer to your iPod or iPhone, iTunes is one of the
most powerful pieces of media management software around.