Apple has been known for taking risks when designing new products, and they're also quick to abandon old technology to try something different. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he left behind many failing products – but with the recent cancelation of AirPower, many people have wondered if Apple is losing its ability to innovate.
In reality, canceling products early in their life isn't anything new and simply creates opportunities for better products in the future. Continue reading to take a look at some of Apple's products that were canceled early on (or before they were released).
Long before the iPhone or iPad, Apple had the Newton. It was the company's first attempt at a personal digital assistant. Rumor has it the product took over six years to develop. One of the main features of the device was its ability to recognize handwriting. The device came with a stylus so that you could write on the screen and the Newton would type out what you wrote. Apple created a specific operating system called NewtonOS and a few developers of NewtonOS went on to create the original operating system for the iPod. After lackluster sales and even a Simpsons sketch about how bad the handwriting recognition was, Steve Jobs quickly canceled further development of the Newton in 1998.
The Pippin has gone down in infamy as one of Apple's biggest failures. In 1994, the Japanese toy company Bandai approached Apple with the idea to make a stripped down version of a Macintosh explicitly designed for gaming. Apple thought it was a solid idea and in 1996 they released the Pippin. It initially launched with only four games, but with a unique modem for internet connectivity. One of the problems with Pippin is it had a hefty price tag of $599. At the time of the Pippin's launch, the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn were dominating the market. With their lower price points and more extensive game selections, the Pippin was destined to fail from the start. A few years after launch they had only sold 42,000 units, and again, Steve Jobs canceled the product upon his return to CEO.
Another little known product line canceled by Apple was their first-party digital cameras. Released in 1994, the QuickTake was one of the first digital cameras on the market. Unfortunately, they never took off as Apple would have hoped. A $749 price tag, no focus, zoom, preview screen, and a measly 32 photo storage-limit made it tough for Apple to compete with well-known photography companies like Kodak, Canon and Fuji. Apple went on to release three models of the QuickTake lineup over a short time, with only small improvements and price-decreases. This was another product that hit the chopping block upon the return of Steve Jobs.
Cellular MacBook Pro
Back in 2007, Apple was working on a cellular version of the MacBook Pro. Obviously, this was never released, but there is evidence of its existence. In 2011, one of the prototypes of this MacBook Pro showed up for sale on eBay. The seller stated they got the device on Craigslist as a "for parts only" sale. With an antenna built into the display and a SIM card slot on the logic board, there is no doubt that Apple was seriously considering the device for market release. However, Apple has remained silent about it all these years later.