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Bad Apples: the worst Mac products ever
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Aug 27, 2015, 12:39 PM
 
There's a discussion on this week's new MacNN: One More Thing podcast about Macs versus Windows wherein one person says it would now take dynamite to get him off OS X. Just occasionally, it's as if Apple says Challenge Accepted because alongside gorgeous iMacs and sleek MacBook Airs, it has also devoted its design skills to some truly dreadful hardware. Machines so bad that we know they lost Apple customers -- even when they were specifically meant to celebrate the company's skills.

Today Apple would argue that its sense of design goes to the heart and soul of its hardware, that design is about how a machine does what it does as much as what it looks like. We'd agree. Apple would probably also say that it's rivals don't get this, that PC manufacturers foolishly believe that design is the color plastic you use. We'd agree there too, except for how there are these pesky times when Apple went for style over substance too.

The 20th Anniversary Mac

You were already thinking of this, weren't you? If you even knew it ever existed –– because maybe you caught it on a Seinfeld rerun –– then it is the machine that comes to mind when you hear the phrase style over substance. Maybe also the G4 Cube, but it's the 20th Anniversary Mac, the TAM, that is the poster child for this description because it is without question gorgeous and without question flawed.



Photo by Wolfgang Stief. This was the machine meant to celebrate the history of Apple's great designs since the company's founding in 1976 and you'll never guess what year it came out. Yes, 1997. Less than a year later, it was gone and in its short life had its price half-decimated: it began retailing at nearly $10,000 and you could've picked it up for $2,000 before it was scrapped. It actually costs more now on eBay than it did then, assuming you've still got the box and the book.

Only, if you buy it from eBay then you're unlikely to get it personally delivered by an engineer – driving a limo and wearing a tuxedo – who will set it up for you in your home. That's what you used to get, at least at first, and you got this service alongside what was really a reasonable enough Mac with a PowerBook-style screen tucked into a stylish case plus some good speakers. It was just slow and underpowered for a machine that cost eight or ten times more than faster Macs. Mind you, you did also get cables that frayed even more easily than Lightning ones do today.



It's hard to dislike the 20th Anniversary Mac and unlike most designs of its day, it even looks good all these years later. Also, its advertising included one of Jony Ive's first interviews about magical design – and he had hair then. Yet if you could covet one then and appreciate its finer points today, you wouldn't have bought one in 1997 and you wouldn't buy one for serious work today either.

Macintosh Portable

We couldn't afford one of these either – in 1989 this first-ever portable Mac cost $6,500 -- but we could borrow one and, wow, did it flatten your legs out like an anvil on a cartoon character. It weighed 15.8lbs or the equivalent of nearly 8 of the new MacBooks. It wasn't a portable Mac in the sense you'd imagine it today, it was a Mac wedged into a box with a handle on it. The original Mac had a handle too, if less to move it by and more so you instinctively knew you were allowed to move it, but it was actually more transportable than the Macintosh Portable.



Photo by Rama. Only, you should've used the keyboard on this thing. It felt great and Apple took its first step to revolutionising laptop keyboards with this. It was still a couple of years away from the PowerBook range which genuinely did revolutionise all laptops by introducing the idea of having the keyboard toward the back of the case and letting you rest your palms on the front. Yet the Macintosh Portable came with a trackball that you could either set up on the left or the right of the keyboard. Even then, that was better than portable PCs that came with unwieldy external trackballs that you had to clip on to the side of the computer.

Hold on a second. First we say the 20th Anniversary Mac is a Bad Thing and then we say yes, apart from its still-impressive sleek design. Then we say the Macintosh Portable was an anvil but that you have to remember it had these great features. This is not an apology for us liking bad Apple machines and there is at least one piece of hardware that has completely no redeeming aspect whatsoever.

Apple USB Mouse

It was just wrong. Wrong. Here we are, shaking our heads at a piece of industrial design when we are not capable of designing anything, let alone making it and shipping it with thousands or hundreds of thousands of Macs. You can criticise us for being unfair in our criticism and we would agree – but we're right about the hockey puck mouse and Apple was wrong.



From 1998 and the original iMacs through to about 2000, this was the mouse you got and it is bad enough that you wonder how the iMac saved Apple. Just think about the stages this went through from idea to sketch to model to manufacturing. It really is as if no one at any point in that journey ever actually tried to use this thing. Once it was made and released, it is definitely true that no one at any point ever thought this was a good mouse. It's known as a hockey puck because it's round and presumably so are hockey pucks but it's also small. It was physically hard to hold the mouse and the more you had to manipulate images or just schlep the cursor around your screen, the physically harder it got.

It was so hard to use that you tended to take your hand off it the moment you were finished –– and then the mouse itself would just rotate. That was so strange to see: it was as if the cable to the iMac were tense enough to wrench the mouse around. The cable wagging the mouse.

Excuse us while we go back to our beautiful 27in iMac with its sleek Apple keyboard and Magic Trackpad. We've spent too long delving into Apple's mistakes and reliving our buckled knees, aching fingers and empty bank accounts. Mind you, Apple is consistent about taking all our money, you have to give them that.

-William Gallagher (@WGallagher)
     
drbroom
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Aug 27, 2015, 01:16 PM
 
I think we should add the Apple Watch! to worst Apple products ever
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Aug 27, 2015, 01:39 PM
 
Sell me on why, Drbroom.
     
pottymouth
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Aug 27, 2015, 01:53 PM
 
Ohhhh, those mice. We bought like 20 new Macs and, after realizing the flaw, bought 20 plastic, snap-on covers that were meant to make them slightly more mouse shaped. It think that was a Macally product? They still sucked. The next revision they put a little dent in the button so you could _almost_ feel where the front of the mouse was without looking. I kept those mice for a few years with all their cords tied in a big knot, hanging at the entrance of my cube to be used as a sort of office-defense weapon.
     
pottymouth
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Aug 27, 2015, 01:57 PM
 
The flying floppy in space is all I remember of the Mac Portable:
https://youtu.be/ClxibBEVcbA?t=1m18s
     
bjojade
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Aug 27, 2015, 03:20 PM
 
These are the worst products ever?? The mouse, yes. But the portable and the TAM? They were expensive, yes, but not bad products.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Aug 27, 2015, 03:22 PM
 
Did you use either? The Mac Portable was portable in name only and exceeded the weight of luggables on the day. The TAM was a 603 in the era of the 604 and G3 - outdated before it shipped, and with engineering problems to boot.

Yeah, these were the worst Apple products ever. We had a few to choose from, but editorially, we chose those. What are yours, bjojade?
     
Makosuke
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Aug 27, 2015, 03:56 PM
 
@pottymouth: We did the exact same thing with those clip-on mouse extender cover things when we bought several iMacs at work back in the day.

Weirdly enough, though, my wife actually liked that mouse--she said it was the first one that was ever comfortable for her. But then, she has *really* small hands.
     
macnscott
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Aug 27, 2015, 04:02 PM
 
I still have a TAM in a box in my garage. I added a NewerTech G3 upgrade card to it along with an Ethernet card. I probably ought to advertise it on eBay sometime soon while I am thinking about it.
     
coffeetime
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Aug 27, 2015, 04:59 PM
 
The 20th Aniversary Mac is sleek looking computer. It should've been the first iMac of that time.
( Last edited by coffeetime; Aug 27, 2015 at 05:59 PM. )
     
ADeweyan
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Aug 27, 2015, 06:36 PM
 
I've never understood the disappointment with the TAM. In the day it was an eye-popping, drool-worthy status item -- and that's all it was even intended to be. This was supposed to be a high-end collectible more than a workhorse computer. Apple's mistake with the TAM was in overestimating how many people were actually willing to shell out $10K for a collectible.

The Portable Mac was Apple's attempt to make a portable without compromise. The laptops of the era were full of compromises, but Apple wanted to be different. The biggest problem was that to get the performance and battery life they wanted they had to use very heavy batteries. Technology for lighter batteries wasn't there, and Apple wasn't willing to compromise performance with the lower-power chips of the day.

And I actually liked the hocky puck. With a tendency to tendinitis, I liked the mouse because I normally used a mouse with the side of my hand resting on the mouse. I found this mouse much more comfortable to use than all the over-designed "ergonomic" mouses of the day.

I can understand wanting to select these as standout failures by Apple because they are interesting, provocative failures, but the truly worst products are probably just some of the boring Performa products from the late '90s (some of which had very poor build-quality), or the Pippin. Or how about the Macintosh Classic? This was a repackage of old technology that was virtually obsolete the moment it was released (despite selling well).

I'd even put OS X 10.7 on this list. In the effort to make their desktop OS more like their mobile OS this was a huge step backward on the desktop. OS X still hasn't recovered the ease of use it had with Snow Leopard -- it's just gained a whole lot of moderately functional bells and whistles most of which get in the way as much as they help.
     
jdonahoe
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Aug 27, 2015, 07:15 PM
 
The "hockey puck" mouse's only redeeming quality was the mouse ball, it was half white/half grey. I used to keep a couple of the balls (you got to keep them in pairs, right?) on my desk. The real problem we had with them, was over time the plastic started to break down and would leave a sticky gunk on your hands. I had to throw them all out, because of this.

I still have a Mac Portable in my office in it's carrying bag. I should surplus it, but I can't do it, yet.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Aug 27, 2015, 07:48 PM
 
The classic was a Mac SE, minus the SE. It was also about $1000 cheaper, and Apple's first attempt at a Mac for the masses. The press of the day was very excited about the Classic because of it. They were just as durable as the SE was, and it begat the Classic II, with a 68030. Not as fast as the SE/30, but a decent value proposition that could take a massive 10MB of RAM.

The Performas were an interesting case. The appliance-ification of Apple hardware was intended to serve the mass market, when Apple shouldn't have been looking at that. The pricing on the TAM and the Portable pushed them above the mere failures of the company. The thing is about the Performas is, even with some bad build qualities, they still were better constructed than most of the mass market PCs of the day. The 475 68040 and 6360 603e-based computers were solid machines.
     
DaMacGuy
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Aug 27, 2015, 07:53 PM
 
Really? No hate for the IIvx? Underpowered, overpriced, and replaced by a better and cheaper machine less than 9 months later! ARGH! I'm still angry about it...
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Aug 27, 2015, 08:08 PM
 
We decided we'd only do three failures
     
coffeetime
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Aug 27, 2015, 08:50 PM
 
I had Performa 6400. It's actually a well built Mac and affordable for me. I had pushed its upgrade capability to the max.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Aug 27, 2015, 09:01 PM
 
Yeah, like I said in the home server assembly articles, I used a 6500 of some flavor for a long time.
     
climacs
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Aug 27, 2015, 09:37 PM
 
as bad as these are, I am fairly certain they were all better than a lot of the PC trash that has come out over the years. eMachines, anyone? Or some of the crap that HP threw over the wall several years back? I love telling the story about the HP laptop (Inspiron???) my folks owned. Barely traveled but within the first year it was falling to pieces. The friggin' power button, the internal wi-fi card, the keyboard, the battery latch... I do believe that was the last straw right before they switched to Mac and never looked back.
     
panjandrum
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Aug 27, 2015, 10:03 PM
 
Well, let's face it, Apple has definitely made a few stinkers among the gems. Personally, I've never been able to tolerate ANY Apple mouse for more than a few minutes. I always use a real (tm) mouse or pointing-device from Logitech or another company that understands how to make mice that actually function. But, if I had to choose two worst Apple products ever, they all be software products: In third place, IOS after version 6, simply because it's harder to see and harder to use. Second place: Mac OS X after Snow Leopard, for those same reasons - a general backwards slide in terms of usability and UI design. But at number 1? Without a doubt System 7.5, which was so crash-tastic that people using modern computers probably can't even grasp how bad it was. Remember, in the era, all personal computers crashed fairly often. A complete lockup or two in a day was typical. But 7.5 took perfectly usable computers and turned them into useless piles of plastic. A completely clean install of 7.5 could, and often did, crash multiple times per HOUR. I was working in a major retail chain at the time (Tech Support, not sales) and we couldn't keep the demo machines running well-enough to sell them! Our tech department completely stopped recommending Apple computers during that time, because we were (surprisingly) honest people who couldn't stand the thought of selling people that kind of junk. What a nightmare. Finally 7.6.1(??) came along and things got, somewhat, back to normal. But wow, talk about a black era.
     
sidewaysdesign
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Aug 27, 2015, 10:10 PM
 
I have always suspected that the design was purposefully awkward to cultivate a Mac market for USB products.

The iMac was the first computer to have USB as a standard port, and was released at Apple's nadir — it was very hard to get compatible hardware and software for the platform at the time. What better way than a universally necessary peripheral to create a demand for a simple product for competitors to jump into the USB realm, as well as to show peripheral manufacturers that there was money to be made with the Mac platform.

I think it was Apple's last mechanical mouse, and was well built by Logitech (small size and orientation issues notwithstanding).
     
pairof9s
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Aug 27, 2015, 10:13 PM
 
What...where's the love(loss) for the Macintosh TV?!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_TV
     
hayesk
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Aug 27, 2015, 11:07 PM
 
@Mike, I have to disagree on the Mac Portable. Remember, this is the day when people were buying carrying cases for the Plus and SE and lugging them around. The Mac Portable may not have been as light as the PowerBook that came soon after, booted System 6 in 10 - 15 seconds, had a decent screen, and the battery life (9 hours) was unmatched for 20 years. It was a good machine for its time.
     
climacs
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Aug 28, 2015, 09:39 AM
 
honorable mention, the Mac Cube.
     
Grendelmon
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Aug 28, 2015, 09:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Did you use either? The Mac Portable was portable in name only and exceeded the weight of luggables on the day. The TAM was a 603 in the era of the 604 and G3 - outdated before it shipped, and with engineering problems to boot.
The TAM, which was unbelievably overpriced when it was first available, was not a bad machine at all. The 603e was indeed a desktop chip for its time (the TAM was essentially a PowerMac 5500). The "engineering" problems were fixed with a no-charge RMA from Apple for the sub-woofer. I used to repair these all the time. I was surprised how many people, especially in my area, actually had these! People gobbled them up once Apple dropped the price to clear them out. I thought they were great little machines, and the sound was pretty awesome.

Now, the PowerBook 5300 on the other hand...
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Aug 28, 2015, 09:59 AM
 
The 5300 fell one short on the three we wanted to discuss.
     
bdmarsh
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Aug 28, 2015, 10:15 AM
 
The first gen Power PC Performa's should be runner ups (the 5200 & 6200) - some of the slowest out of the box that I saw, felt slower than the 68k Performas they replaced, and more unstable than other systems at the time... and maybe the PowerMac 4400 ugly, terrible to work on, completely unremarkable. Always thought it had been created by an outside contracted company it was so different from the other models at the time.


The Cube G4 was a good product introduced at a high price (and some issues with the casing, either moulding or cracks which really were a cosmetic issue, and some had problems with the power button triggering with static) It was fast enough, and most components were upgradable, I know several people that used them for many years.
     
richardh99
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Aug 28, 2015, 10:29 AM
 
I worked on the spec for the TAM and it was never meant to be a 'production' machine at a sensible price - it was a style statement and many were given away to prominent Apple Masters/supporters. It actually worked very well as long as you didn't expect leading-edge performance. I also had the original Portable (yeah, right) and used to walk four miles a day carrying it - I think my left arm is still a couple of cm longer than my right. But, as noted, it had a great keyboard and the battery genuinely would last a full working day. just as well, given that the lead-acid battery alone weighted 7lb. Compared to the Dells & Osbornes that were around at the time, it was in another league. I reserve my ire for some of the Emilio-era machines that were under-designed, poorly tested and badly made - the original 5300-series powerbooks, the beige tower Macs of the period that took half an hour to open up and then sliced fingers off when you tried to add memory - that sort of thing.
     
potemkin64
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Aug 28, 2015, 10:32 AM
 
Agreed with @hayesk. I worked with a Mac Portable. Ran quickly (for it's day) and had decent battery life. It also did a neat trick by allowing you to swap the trackball and keyboard for left handed use. The Mac Portable was a victim of bad press, especially one reporter, as I recall.

The Macintosh IIsi on the other hand... The running joke was that SI stood for S****y Idea.

On the other hand, a shout out though for my old beloved Mac IIcx. Very simple internal design and the predecessor to the Iici and Quadra 700. My Iicx stayed in use for many years only to be replaced by a Power Mac 7500.
     
GaryDeezy
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Aug 28, 2015, 11:03 AM
 
I had a TAM - loved it (at the reduced price). I had the portable- loved it except for the trackball (not a fan, in general). It was the best Apple could do at the time.

Round mouse- biggest dud ever.

So, I give you guys 1 out of 3 on this one...
     
JohnFromBeyond
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Aug 28, 2015, 11:19 AM
 
pairof9s: yes, the Macintosh TV was an awesome failure.

How about the Apple Pippin?
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Aug 28, 2015, 11:40 AM
 
re: Apple Watch - @drbroom / Mike, I somewhat agree here, but I think the technological innovation is astounding, and maybe, one day, it will be a pretty valid product category. Currently, my main beef with it, is that it's a solution looking for a problem. As cool as I think it is, I can't think of a reason to have one for $99, let alone $350. But, I'm also not really a watch guy. If you're a watch person, and more into tech than mechanical jewelry, I guess it makes some sense.

re: mouse or Mac TV - Yea, those would be my votes too, for hardware (and yes, some of the Performas were quite bad... but I did make good money at the time fixing stuff, and trying to make them crash just a bit less.)

re: Software - I think I'd agree about the last couple OS releases (iOS more so) in terms of diverging from Apple's history of excellence in UI/UX. But, certainly in comparison to the actual issues with some of the pre-OSX stuff (ie: System 7.5), even the worst stuff today is far better. But, the bar is just much higher today across the board. So, as bad as it was back then, it was still way better than the alternatives (ie: Windows).

re: Mac Portable - @hayesk, I think the comparison is between PC portables, not between lugging an SE vs Mac Portable. But, your points are well taken. (BTW, I had the successor, Powerbook 100, and it was truly a great little machine. The only problem was the non-standard size keyboard, which messed up my typing for a while after going back to normal size keyboards.)

Here is a priceless photo.
http://lowendmac.com/wp-content/uploads/macuser1189.jpg
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pottymouth
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Aug 28, 2015, 11:59 AM
 
How is she not sinking?
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Aug 28, 2015, 01:41 PM
 
re: Apple Watch - @drbroom / Mike, I somewhat agree here, but I think the technological innovation is astounding, and maybe, one day, it will be a pretty valid product category. Currently, my main beef with it, is that it's a solution looking for a problem. As cool as I think it is, I can't think of a reason to have one for $99, let alone $350. But, I'm also not really a watch guy. If you're a watch person, and more into tech than mechanical jewelry, I guess it makes some sense.

re: mouse or Mac TV - Yea, those would be my votes too, for hardware (and yes, some of the Performas were quite bad... but I did make good money at the time fixing stuff, and trying to make them crash just a bit less.)

re: Software - I think I'd agree about the last couple OS releases (iOS more so) in terms of diverging from Apple's history of excellence in UI/UX. But, certainly in comparison to the actual issues with some of the pre-OSX stuff (ie: System 7.5), even the worst stuff today is far better. But, the bar is just much higher today across the board. So, as bad as it was back then, it was still way better than the alternatives (ie: Windows).

re: Mac Portable - @hayesk, I think the comparison is between PC portables, not between lugging an SE vs Mac Portable. But, your points are well taken. (BTW, I had the successor, Powerbook 100, and it was truly a great little machine. The only problem was the non-standard size keyboard, which messed up my typing for a while after going back to normal size keyboards.)
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Spheric Harlot
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Aug 29, 2015, 05:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by climacs View Post
honorable mention, the Mac Cube.
Doesn't qualify.

Same as with the Mac Portable or the TAM: Most people who owned one at the time (or later) LOVED it.

FWIW, I really liked the hockey-puck mouse, and I have big hands. Mine had the indentation on the mouse button to make it easy to feel whether it was aligned correctly, though.
     
BLAZE_MkIV
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Aug 29, 2015, 10:22 AM
 
I rest my my hand on the pad not the mouse so I didn't have any issues with the hockey puck. I did want 2 buttons though...
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Aug 29, 2015, 04:27 PM
 
re: Apple Watch - @drbroom / Mike, I somewhat agree here, but I think the technological innovation is astounding, and maybe, one day, it will be a pretty valid product category. Currently, my main beef with it, is that it's a solution looking for a problem. As cool as I think it is, I can't think of a reason to have one for $99, let alone $350. But, I'm also not really a watch guy. If you're a watch person, and more into tech than mechanical jewelry, I guess it makes some sense.

re: mouse or Mac TV - Yea, those would be my votes too, for hardware (and yes, some of the Performas were quite bad... but I did make good money at the time fixing stuff, and trying to make them crash just a bit less.)

re: Software - I think I'd agree about the last couple OS releases (iOS more so) in terms of diverging from Apple's history of excellence in UI/UX. But, certainly in comparison to the actual issues with some of the pre-OSX stuff (ie: System 7.5), even the worst stuff today is far better. But, the bar is just much higher today across the board. So, as bad as it was back then, it was still way better than the alternatives (ie: Windows).

re: Mac Portable - @hayesk, I think the comparison is between PC portables, not between lugging an SE vs Mac Portable. But, your points are well taken. (BTW, I had the successor, Powerbook 100, and it was truly a great little machine. The only problem was the non-standard size keyboard, which messed up my typing for a while after going back to normal size keyboards.)
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benj
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Aug 30, 2015, 06:35 AM
 
The Portable wasn't that bad - of the portables that were not a Mac Plus in a briefcase, none of them had GUI like Apple's - they were all DOS beasts, or worse, DOS Beasts with Visalc chips on them so to add apps you had to pop the back open pull a chip and put one in. The Mac portable had Appletalk and A floppy drive (I had a fully loaded at one point 4 Meg of Ram!!) plus it led to the groundbreaking Portable 100. The TAM wasn't a terrible product either - First mac to sport a subwoofer, It had an NTSC tuner in it...and a remote control -- pcs did not hove these things! My worst experiences with Macs (on 30 years now- geez i"m getting old) - was the 4400 Biz computer with DOS card in it (Gilbert Amelio- eat me) - you would rip your hand to sheds working on that hard drive. The Perfoma series also was good/bad - the All in one's were great - but the monitorless one's were awful. They had a DOS version of that too. All in All - People did get the job done. Special mentions should go to the PowerBook Duo. Which is a fine computer (anyone want one? I have one for sale) except the dock situation meant either a hulking mass on your desk or you got tho choose between ethernet or Floppies. yeesh. Meanwhile- the Newton was WAY beyond anything the world of personal computers had -but it's failure might have made it Apple's worst product. Still I had portable computing in a Newton and an Emate in 1997. I was playing DS Star Trek on the Subway to Alewife while the rest of the world had walkmans.
The only computer company cooler than Apple was SGI but they were 2-3x the price.
"Merrily, we roll along."
     
benj
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Aug 30, 2015, 06:37 AM
 
The Portable wasn't that bad - of the portables that were not a Mac Plus in a briefcase, none of them had GUI like Apple's - they were all DOS beasts, or worse, DOS Beasts with Visicalc chips on them so to add apps you had to pop the back open pull a chip and put one in. The Mac portable had Appletalk and A floppy drive (I had a fully loaded at one point 4 Meg of Ram!!) plus it led to the groundbreaking Portable 100. The TAM wasn't a terrible product either - First mac to sport a subwoofer, It had an NTSC tuner in it...and a remote control -- pcs did not hove these things! My worst experiences with Macs (on 30 years now- geez i"m getting old) - was the 4400 Biz computer with DOS card in it (Gilbert Amelio- eat me) - you would rip your hand to sheds working on that hard drive. The Perfoma series also was good/bad - the All in one's were great - but the monitorless one's were awful. They had a DOS version of that too. All in All - People did get the job done. Special mentions should go to the PowerBook Duo. Which is a fine computer (anyone want one? I have one for sale) except the dock situation meant either a hulking mass on your desk or you got tho choose between ethernet or Floppies. yeesh. Meanwhile- the Newton was WAY beyond anything the world of personal computers had -but it's failure might have made it Apple's worst product. Still I had portable computing in a Newton and an Emate in 1997. I was playing DS Star Trek on the Subway to Alewife while the rest of the world had walkmans.
The only computer company cooler than Apple was SGI but they were 2-3x the price.
"Merrily, we roll along."
     
benj
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Aug 30, 2015, 06:58 AM
 
Beats!
"Merrily, we roll along."
     
benj
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Aug 30, 2015, 07:06 AM
 
The worst product Apple had, from my POV as a sys admin all thru the 90's was the Powermac 4400 biz computer with DOS card. (Eat me Gil Amelio! ) Slow, loaded with 3rd party dreck, the nightmare of having the only ATA bus in world of scsi. yeesh. Cut your hand open installing ram in that things (much like he 7200). Big runner up was the non all in one Performas - which all worked better when OFF or on the Last Operating system - not the current one.
"Merrily, we roll along."
     
MacOS
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Aug 30, 2015, 07:48 PM
 
Open Transport!

That bug still stings. SO many wasted hours trying various extensions and control combination try to get it to work was futile. Sorry, I'll never let Apple live that one down.
     
paulvail
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Aug 31, 2015, 08:30 AM
 
The Portable worked on many film shoots with me in Wilmington. It was a fine machine for what we needed, and the lead acid battery remains infinitely better than any NiCd or NiMH that came after for longevity. It was 'portable', not a laptop as too many foolishly assumed. And 15 pounds? For the size it took up, that was hardly a problem.
     
sunman42
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Aug 31, 2015, 11:27 AM
 
I only used two of these products, the luggable, er, Portable, and the hockey puck. Despite the spinal insults and the sore shoulders, the Portable was for its day, amazing. We had our ideas of what was possible in a portable (and definitely not lugging-required) Mac when the first PowerBooks came out two years later, but for its day it was remarkable --- and remarkably fast.

I like the design of the hockey puck, though not its size. At the time, I was used to the larger, three-button, hockey puck mouse that Digital Equipment Corp. shipped with its workstations, so it didn't require much adjustment. And smaller hands, like my kids', fit the hockey puck naturally.

I never gave the Twentieth Anniversary model a thought – it was clearly designed for show and not for go.

The Cube, however, will always have a soft spot in my memory (well, maybe my brain is just going soft). Aside from the sheer cool factor of "pulling the core," it was the first machine whose CPU I upgraded (and thus the first time I used thermal paste). In fact, pretty much everything that mattered (memory, disk, video) was upgradeable, if not supported by Apple. Haven't been as impressed by Apple's joining form and function until the Late 2013 Mac Pro (which is due for an update, listening, Apple?).
     
   
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