Top 10 Best and Worst Apple Products of All Time

Apple's Best and Worst

As 2010 approaches, and the world awaits the next techno-treat out of Cupertino — think Mac Tablet in January — it gives us a chance to look at the best and worst from this company over the decades.Click ahead to see Jim Goldman's picks for Apple's heroes and zeroes over the years.

Following the release of Apple's highly anticipated iPad, the newest product in the Apple family gives us a chance to take a look back at the best and worst from this company over the decades.

Click ahead to see CNBC Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman's picks for Apple's heroes and zeroes over the years.

By Jim Goldman with Constance PartenPosted 30 Dec 2009

Best: The Mac OS

Apple hardware has always been elegant, but without great software, they're just pretty pieces of art. The Mac OS, otherwise known as the Windows blueprint, has served Apple exceptionally well, with everyone else playing catch-up.
Photo: apple.com

Apple hardware has always been elegant, but without great software, they're just pretty pieces of art. The Mac OS, otherwise known as the Windows blueprint, has served Apple exceptionally well, with everyone else playing catch-up.

Best: The Mac

Beginning with that iconic 1984 ad, it ignited the revolution. Though some might say with Steve Jobs' flare for secrecy and the company's ever strengthening control over all things digital entertainment, the 1984 ad might have become Apple's self-fulfilling prophecy.
Photo: Hulton Archive | Getty Images

Beginning with that iconic 1984 ad, The Mac ignited the revolution. With Steve Jobs' flare for secrecy and the company's ever strengthening control over all things digital entertainment, some might say the 1984 ad became Apple's self-fulfilling prophecy.

Best: The iMac

iMac recaptured its magic with the iMac and MacBooks. Price competitive, gorgeous, and highly capable, this line and these innovations did more for Apple than might truly be appreciated.  And while Dell, HP and others might sell more Windows-based machines, none carries the drool-factor that these new Macs enjoy.
Photo: gadgetsonthego.net

Macintosh recaptured its magic with the iMac and MacBooks. Price competitive, gorgeous, and highly capable, this line and these innovations did more for Apple than might truly be appreciated.  And while Dell, HP and others might sell more Windows-based machines, none carries the drool-factor that these new Macs enjoy.

Best: The iPod

Apple didn't invent the MP3 player, it reinvented it, and with iTunes, created the ultimate entertainment ecosystem.  Hundreds of millions have sold, and the Touch might be my favorite Apple product of all time.  And between the Shuffle and Nano and all the others, the various colors, shapes and sizes are a feast for the digital senses.
Photo: apple.com

Apple didn't invent the MP3 player, it reinvented it, and with iTunes, created the ultimate entertainment ecosystem. 

Hundreds of millions have sold, and the Touch might be my favorite Apple product of all time.  And between the Shuffle and Nano and all the others, the various colors, shapes and sizes are a feast for the digital senses.

Best: The iPhone

Dubbed the Jesus phone, the iPhone has only been around for a few years, but like iPod before it, reinvented the smart phone sector.  Watch out Research in Motion!
Photo: apple.com

Dubbed the Jesus phone, the iPhone has only been around for a few years, but like iPod before it, reinvented the smart phone sector.  Watch out Research in Motion!

Worst: The Lisa

Lisa will go down in history as Apple's Edsel.  $10,000 for an ugly piece of machinery, but a nifty GUI which helped justify that price tag? Not really.  Rumor has it that so many of these things were left unsold that they were buried in the Nevada desert.
Photo: dipity.com

Lisa will go down in history as Apple's Edsel.  $10,000 for an ugly piece of machinery, but a nifty GUI which helped justify that price tag? Not really. 

Rumor has it that so many of these things were left unsold that they were buried in the Nevada desert.

Worst: The Apple III

Apple's answer to the business computer.  At $4,000, this thing was a disaster.
Photo: oldcomputers.net

Apple's answer to the business computer.  At $4,000, this thing was a disaster.

Worst: The Newton

Newton was John Sculley's baby, and was simply a product way ahead of its time. The interface was great, but the network sucked. And with so little data to access, Newton evaporated. But it planted the seeds for iPhone. Still, save for one cameraman I knew who swore by this thing (Hey, Jeff Pierce!), it was a failure.
Photo: blogcdn.com

Newton was John Sculley's baby, and was simply a product way ahead of its time. The interface was great, but the network sucked. And with so little data to access, Newton evaporated. But it planted the seeds for iPhone. Still, save for one cameraman I knew who swore by this thing (Hey, Jeff Pierce!), it was a failure.

Worst: 20th Anniversary Mac

The 20th Anniversary Mac was released in 1997.  What a joke. At $7,499, it was reduced to $1,995 in a year and became a rare, but laughable misstep for Apple CEO Steve Jobs and team.
Photo: artlex.com

The 20th Anniversary Mac was released in 1997.  What a joke. At $7,499, it was reduced to $1,995 in a year and became a rare, but laughable misstep for Apple CEO Steve Jobs and team.

Worst: The Pippin

Remember Pippin? Apple's foray into the gaming world? Powerful, with a dial-up modem, like Newton before it, Pippin might have been ahead of its time.  But it didn't work, it was super-expensive, and ultimately faded away.
Photo: pcworld.ca

Remember Pippin? Apple's foray into the gaming world? Powerful, with a dial-up modem, like Newton before it, Pippin might have been ahead of its time.  But it didn't work, it was super-expensive, and ultimately faded away.

Jim Goldman on Apple's Best and Worst Products

There are plenty of other winners and losers:  Mice gone awry, Apple's foray into what was then social networking (remember eLife?), the musical CEO chairs (Sculley, Spindler, Amelio, oh my!) and so many other products that came and went with such amazing fanfare and then hardly a noticeable whimper when they just went away. But the hits outweigh the misses, and no matter the product, small or large, Jobs always unveils it with "amazing" fanfare that captures imagination and demands attention.
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There are plenty of other winners and losers:  Mice gone awry, Apple's foray into what was then social networking (remember eLife?), the musical CEO chairs (Sculley, Spindler, Amelio, oh my!) and so many other products that came and went with such amazing fanfare and then hardly a noticeable whimper when they just went away.

But the hits outweigh the misses, and no matter the product, small or large, Jobs always unveils it with "amazing" fanfare that captures imagination and demands attention.

And while things have certainly changed at Apple HQ over the years, that kind of excitement will never disappear.  Apple magic is alive and well, and whether its like a Victoria's Secret model or a mad traffic accident, we simply cannot look away, investors and consumers alike.

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