Five greatest Apple successes

Following up Pocket-lint's five greatest Apple failures feature, we thought it a good idea to produce a follow-up feature looking at some of Apple's greatest triumphs.

Whatever you may think of Apple in terms of its business, its secretive practices, or whether it's actually that innovative a company - there's no question that many of Apple's devices have changed the way many people view and use technology.

As to whether this is down to marketing and some good timing, or whether the innovation itself has been the source of success isn't certain - rather than being distinct it's more likely to be a bit of both.

So, in no particular order here's Pocket-lint's favourite Apple successes:

Macintosh

Released:
1984

Discontinued:
1985

Cost:
$2495


The first one on our list is a bit obvious, but the Macintosh computer really does deserve its place, not only on this Pocket-lint rundown but arguably on any list of innovative and successful consumer technology.



For us, this is mainly due to the introduction of a graphical user interface, which ensured a whole new experience - the interaction with icons proving a huge hit over more conventional methods such as DOS, whereby typing commands was the norm for running programmes.

It's rather analogous to the evolution of the sandwich, whereby only after the development (and successful marketing) does everyone think it blindingly obvious. And whereas it took a certain spark (and gambling addiction) for the Earl to place meat between bread, it also required a certain amount of gumption from Apple.

The new UI, as well as the introduction of the mouse and 128k of memory, made this a classic.

PowerBook 100 series

Released:
1991

discontinued:
1992

COST:
$2500


Despite Apple's use of the word "Power" to describe its first line of rather underpowered laptops, (sorry, but we're not counting the wholly un-portable Mac Portable) this line of laptops proved quite a hit with consumers.

The low-end 100 model had a 20MB hard drive, 2MB RAM and 16 MHz processor and cost around $2500 at launch, so for the money you weren't getting great specs. So what made it a success? It was the innovative design of its keyboard that proved most successful, as it was positioned towards the back of the device rather than the front - leaving room for hand rests either side of the trackball, which was another nice feature.

Both its keyboard layout and the trackball for cursor control stood the test of time, spawning many generations in the series and forming the basis for almost all laptops since. The PowerBook series continued until 2006 where it was replaced with the MacBook Pro.

iMac G3

Released:
1998

Discontinued:
2003

Cost:
$1299


The iMac G3 was for consumer computing what Blake's 7 was for sci-fi; as beneath a quirky aesthetic and very bad peripherals/props was a really innovative product which laid the foundations for future generations of machines.

Not only did it feature a USB port, which Intel will no doubt be eternally grateful for, but it also got rid of a 3.5-inch floppy disc drive, which although at the time was rather controversial - as the format was still in use - it pushed consumers into using CDs and networking in order to transfer data, just as we do today.

As is ever the case with Apple products, marketing also had its place and the great out-of-the-box experience that was super-easy to hook up to the Internet helped to see the device through three different iterations - G3, G4 and G5.

iPod/iTunes

Released:
2001

Discontinued:
Still going

Cost:
$400 for 5GB


Although these two products are very different beasts, we've lumped them together for the very obvious reason that the iPod would not have been the success were it not for iTunes. Rather like Nestle and controversy, Nantucket and whaling or Dempsey and Makepeace - these two went hand in hand.

As the company looked to sell music downloads directly onto its hardware, it made burning shop-bought CDs to get music on your machine an unnecessary inconvenience.

Both products were launched in 2001, and are still going strong now, with a variety of updates to both hardware and software. The great marketing ploy which underlies these two Apple products is the way they tie consumers into the Apple eco-system. Once an iPod was purchased, an iTunes purchase would soon follow - cue a few new product launches, and since you've already splashed the cash on music you're far more likely to purchase the new hardware; and so it continues.

Yes, they have probably always been a little over-priced, but there's no denying the iDuo's massive impact on both the entertainment industry and the consumer electronics market since launch.

 

iPhone/App Store

Released:
2007

Discontinued:
Still going

Cost:
$499/599

In a very similar way to the iPod/iTunes combo, Apple struck gold with the iPhone and its App Store. The launch of the iPhone in 2007 was greeted with much anticipation built up over months and months of speculation.



It wasn't all beer and skittles for the iPhone at launch in the beginning, however, as soon after the first incarnation went on sale ($499 for 4GB and $599 for 8GB) Jobs decided to stop selling the 4GB and cut the price of 8GB by $200 in September - initiating an angry response from early adopters.

Despite this, the iPhone was a massive success mainly due to its competent touchscreen, and an incredibly easy user interface which helped it become a mobile game changer. However, it was only when Apple, reluctantly, decided to open up the App Store to third-party developers that things really started to get moving, arguably, making the iPhone into the massive success it is today.

We appreciate that we haven't covered all of Apple's great products in this list, so let us know your favourites using the comments box below.