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Six Failed Products from Steve Jobs

Written on August 31, 2011 by Avlya Jaie

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Here are six products created by Apple and Steve Jobs, that for one reason or another, uttered failures.

Before stepping down from the ’s CEO position, had undeniably introduced tons of products that eventually turned out to be successful. The iPhone models, the popular tablets and the Macbooks are only few of those inventions that have hit the top of market sales. But apart from these achievements, there are still few Steve Jobs’ products that were listed on the failed column. Here they are:

Apple Lisa

This invention was considered to be the biggest failure that Apple had produced. The term “Lisa”, which officially stands for “Local Integrated Software Architecture”, was actually the name of Steve Jobs’ daughter. Apple spent too much effort and money just to develop this computer. In fact, its GUI-based system was said to be an achievement. However, after wasting four years and over $100 million, the product turned out to be an unpopular device because of its high retail price and limited software applications. Lisa’s system was really slow and unreliable, resulting for the company to produce only 10,000 units.


Following his resignation from the Apple Computer, Steve Jobs headed his way to the Redwood City in California to open another American computer company, named as NeXT. NeXT produced a PC OS and two generations of workstations — each of which features a black design scheme, contradicting Apple’s white models. The company was not really a success because it was eventually out-shined by Apple, though it had released the first NeXT Computer in 1988 and the smaller NeXTstation in 1990. One of its computers was even used by Tim Berners-Lee in order to create the first web browser.

A successor to the Apple II, Apple III was released in 1980 to serve as a business-oriented personal computer. It runs faster compared to its predecessor, and has larger memory and support for floppy disks. However, this project – supervised by Steve Jobs – also saw little success in the market due to serious component issues that required a full redesign task. The Apple III was then re-released the following autumn, but its development was eventually stopped in 1984 after facing poor market conditions and system glitches.

This is a limited-edition personal computer which Apple released in 1997 in celebration of their 20th birthday. The Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh was fairly accepted by the public due to its fashionable design — having a green-and-gold case, a leather keyboard wrist rest, and Bose speakers. However, the computer still met poor sales rate because of its expensive pricing of $7,500. All the 12,000 produced units were not even sold, forcing the company to offer the last batch for just $2,000 each.

The ROKR is a candybar style phone from Motorola that is especially designed for users who love music. It features the Apple-licensed technology, which allows people to play back songs that are purchased from the iTunes Music Store. It also comes with a music player with an interface similar to Apple’s iPod music players. In just a short span of time, the ROKR’s fame days ended due to limited song capacity and very slow transfer time.

This product’s design was actually based from the NeXTcube from NeXT, which Apple had bought in late 1996. The Power Mac G4 Cube also saw poor market sales due to its expensive retail price of $200 — a much higher cost compared to the latest Power Mac G4. The machine doesn’t include a monitor, and even suffered from manufacturing glitches, leaving its clear plastic case damaged.

Apple Pippin

Apple Pippin is a not-so-popular gaming system introduced by Apple in 1995. Although the company achieved to equip the device with a 66 MHz PowerPC 603 processor, a 14.4 kbit/s modem, and a 4x CD-ROM drive, the marketing sales of Pippin still failed. It was even ranked 22nd in PC World Magazine’s list of the “25 Worst Tech Products of all Time.”

  • joseph powell

    Steve Jobs had nothing whatsoever to do with the Pippin, Rockr, or the 20th anniversary Mac.

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