The Pippin (1996)
Despite the failure of the integrated Macintosh TV, the Scully-led Apple figured that it could still capture a slice of the entertainment market and get into users’ living rooms by building its own game console.
Apple teamed up with Japan’s Bandai, taking the guts of a Macintosh Classic II and tossing them into a Bandai-designed case to create what it hoped would become an open standard home entertainment and gaming platform. The goal wasn’t so much to sell the Pippin as it was to use it to increase the market share of the Macintosh.
Unfortunately, the idea never got very far. For one thing, it took too long to get off the runway, with Apple announcing the concept in 1994 but not actually releasing it until 1996, and even then only in Japan. It came to the U.S. in 1997 and sold for $599. The problem? Nobody except Bandai was making games for it.
In the end, it sold about 42,000 units — only 12,000 of which were to customers in the U.S. Meanwhile, the original PlayStation sold for half the price, and sold 100,000 units on the first day of its launch in 1994, and 102 million in its lifetime. Of course, it also had nearly 8,000 game titles available.
The Pippin, which was considered part of Apple’s “Macintosh clone” program, was shut down by Steve Jobs upon his return to Apple in 1997. Again, though, this probably didn’t come without Apple learning a few valuable lessons from the attempt, and the company returned with a reimagined living room strategy in 2007 with the original Apple TV.